You'd Better Not Die or I'll Kill You: A Caregiver's Survival Guide to Keeping You in Good Health and Good Spirits

Overview

Bestselling writer Jane Heller thought she'd found her dream man?until he turned out to be a "frequent flier," the term doctors and nurses use to refer to patients who land in the E.R. more often than the average person goes to Starbucks. Here, Jane shares her experiences of looking after her chronically ill husband with Nora Ephron?like wit, and offers practical guidance for handling it all without drowning. With advice on staying healthy while caring for a loved one and learning to communicate with medical ...
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You'd Better Not Die or I'll Kill You: A Caregiver's Survival Guide to Keeping You in Good Health and Good Spirits

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Overview

Bestselling writer Jane Heller thought she'd found her dream man—until he turned out to be a "frequent flier," the term doctors and nurses use to refer to patients who land in the E.R. more often than the average person goes to Starbucks. Here, Jane shares her experiences of looking after her chronically ill husband with Nora Ephron–like wit, and offers practical guidance for handling it all without drowning. With advice on staying healthy while caring for a loved one and learning to communicate with medical staff, plus wisdom from other caregivers and experts, this is a personal and invaluable tool kit that also manages to prompt laughter and inspire. For the more than 65 million caregivers in the US alone, this book couldn't be more timely or important.
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  • You'd Better Not Die or I'll Kill You
    You'd Better Not Die or I'll Kill You  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Novelist Heller (The Secret Ingredient) is no stranger to illness; her father had brain cancer, her stepfather had complications from epilepsy, and she married a man with severe Crohn's disease. So readers might assume, Heller acknowledges, this is a "bad news book." But it is actually candid, informative, upbeat, and sometimes ribald. Heller discusses complex but essential topics—such as making nurses your friends and the competing demands of work and caregiving, frequently via mini-interviews with a relevant professional, such as an ER doctor (who explains why ER waits are so long), ICU nurse ("family members become our patients in a way"), or attorney (on getting patients to sign essential legal documents like advance directives). Her breezy tone strikes just the right note for difficult subjects like wishing your loved one would "disappear" and more practical discussions like why cooking for oneself is important. The array of perspectives adds a richness to the discussion. It's impossible to write a book like this without addressing the emotional issue of saying good-bye, but Heller characteristically follows that with an upbeat "silver linings" chapter. This is a useful book for patients and caregivers alike.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From the Publisher
"A combination of autobiography, anecdotes from other caregivers, and interviews with experts, this gem of a book makes good on its promise. Written in a no-nonsense style with a healthy dose of humor, it offers a wealth of advice on everything from navigating the healthcare system to getting more sleep to the importance of human touch. It's a valuable resource for caregivers - whether taking care of someone with a stroke, Crohn's disease, dementia or many other conditions. I recommend it highly."
-Marie Marley, author of the award-winning Come Back Early Today: A Memoir of Love, Alzheimer's and Joy

"This book will be an affirmation to let you know you're not alone, that your work is incredibly important, and that there are effective strategies other caregivers have found helpful that might also be applied to help your situation be a bit easier to bear."
-Dawn Marcus, MD

"This book is the perfect companion for every caregiver. You only have to read the Table of Contents to know Jane Heller has given you the gifts of comfort, humor, strength and solidarity. Take it to the waiting room and always keep it within easy reach!"
-Pauline Jones, RN, Chief Operating Officer, Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care of Santa Barbara

"Jane's book is so engaging and entertaining. She tells her own caregiving story, and provides insights into everything from siblings to doctors to hospitals. Great read!"
-Barbara McVicker, Host of the PBS Special "Stuck in the Middle: Caring for Mom and Dad" and Eldercare Author

"Jane Heller's humorous and compassionate book has real-world advice for caregivers of all kinds, covering topics from diet and exercise, to surviving long hours in hospitals and being taken seriously by medical providers. Jane even covers topics others don't, such as the sex life of the caregiver, and finding humor and the silver lining in a world of despair. With input from experienced caregivers, it's a must-read for all who face this daunting task."
-Susan Disney Lord, 2012 Alzheimer's Association Southland Chapter Caregiver of the Year

"Jane Heller takes us on her heartfelt, humor-filled journey caring for her husband, channeling Nora Ephron along the way. This is a must-read eye witness account of what it takes to care for a loved one and how to keep your spirits lifted in the process."
-Sherri Snelling, CEO, Caregiving Club

Library Journal
The worst-paid job in health care offers among its benefits the longest hours, the fewest days off, and the most consistent stress. Caregivers include the family members or good friends who are there for those with chronic illness, the disabled, and the dying. Novelist Heller (Female Intelligence), now a caregiver to her husband, explains that she, like many others, didn’t choose the role but slowly adapted to it. Here she discusses practical problems and emotions that caregivers of all types face and offers suggestions for coping. She goes beyond her personal experiences by including comments from other caregivers she’s come to know, calling them the book’s Greek chorus. Candid interviews with professionals whom unpaid caregivers sometimes view as adversaries offer useful perspective. Tips range from the pragmatic, such as how to deal with time in a waiting room, to the profound, as in the chapter “Getting Through the Goodbye.”

Verdict Writing with humor and a relaxed style, Heller has produced a valuable, virtual support group in book form that could be beneficial to any caregiver.—Richard Maxwell, Porter Adventist Hospital Lib., Denver

(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781452107530
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
  • Publication date: 10/31/2012
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 698,638
  • Product dimensions: 5.75 (w) x 8.12 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane Heller is the author of 13 novels. Jane lives in Santa Barbara, California, with her husband, Michael Forester.
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Table of Contents

Introduction 8

Chapter 1 What Is a Caregiver Anyway? 19

Chapter 2 Navigating Past the Freak-Out 32

Chapter 3 Making Emergency Room Visits and Insanity Mutually Exclusive 49

Chapter 4 Doctors-Can't Live with 'Em, Can't Live Without 'Em 60

Chapter 5 How to Turn Even the Crankiest Nurses/Aides/Medical Personnel into Buddies 71

Chapter 6 When Loved Ones Take on a Different Personality and You Start Wishing They'd Disappear 80

Chapter 7 How to Wait Out Waiting Rooms 92

Chapter 8 The Hospital Room Etiquette Miss Manners Never Told Us About 97

Chapter 9 Who's the Boss of Me? 101

Chapter 10 Getting on the Same Page as that Sister Who Drives You Nuts (and Other Family Matters) 108

Chapter 11 Who Knew Friends Could Be So… Unfriendly? 117

Chapter 12 Does Working Mean You Don't Care or Does Caring Mean You Don't Work? 125

Chapter 13 The Home Health-Care Invasion 131

Chapter 14 Using the FWord, as in Facility 142

Chapter 15 Finding a Shoulder-or Ten-to Lean On 155

Chapter 16 "Caregiver Sleep" Doesn't Have to Be an Oxymoron 161

Chapter 17 The Great Escape-Taking a Mental Vacation 166

Chapter 18 Being a Crybaby Isn't Necessarily a Bad Thing 173

Chapter 19 Sometimes Laughter Isn't the Best Medicine-It's the Only Medicine 177

Chapter 20 Just Breathe. Or Meditate. Or Both 187

Chapter 21 Who Has Time to Cook a Healthy Meal? We Do 197

Chapter 22 The Exercise Conundrum 208

Chapter 23 Sex? Romance? Is Anybody Getting Any? 216

Chapter 24 When to See a Shrink 225

Chapter 25 "Spiritual Care" Isn't Necessarily Just for the Spiritual 234

Chapter 26 Getting Through the Goodbye 241

Chapter 27 Yes, There Are Silver Linings 257

Chapter 28 When Caregiver Becomes Caregivee 269

Chapter 29 Famous Last Words 281

Acknowledgments 288

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