As a busy summer rolls around, prioritizing my health is vital

With so much going on, it can be easy to overlook vital things like hydration

Anna Jeter avatar

by Anna Jeter |

Share this article:

Share article via email
A column banner depicts colorful flowers against a pink background, with the words

The approach of summer always catches me off guard. For about six weeks between May and June, I can’t avoid keeping a packed schedule. Along with several holidays and birthdays, including my own, this period also marks the beginning of my busy season working as a photo editor.

In addition to all of this, I am eager to make the most of summertime here in Minnesota, by spending time outdoors with friends and family. But in recent years, as the weather warms and my days begin to fill up, it’s been impossible to ignore how my health can fall behind.

As someone with a very limited amount of energy each day, a busier schedule can mean sacrificing my physical care. Following are areas where I often notice myself slipping, as well as some of the ways I try to be proactive about solving the problem.

Recommended Reading
banner image for

Summer Recess Means It’s Time to Talk to Your Member of Congress About PH

Hydration and nutrition

Since my heart-lung transplant in 2018 due to pulmonary hypertension, I’ve battled progressive chronic kidney disease. One of the only ways I can combat this progression is with consistent hydration.

While this might seem like a simple task, drinking water is one of the easiest things for me to lose control of during a distracting day. I’ve found that the best way to address this is by always drinking a full glass of water right when I get up in the morning to get ahead of the issue. I also make a habit of bringing a water bottle with me wherever I go.

Other considerations for my kidneys include electrolyte management. I tend to run low on sodium and high on potassium. This requires management with my diet and, occasionally, medication. For example, I mindlessly indulged in a high-potassium diet over Memorial Day, and the results of my next lab tests were high. This was an excellent reminder to always take a dose of my potassium-lowering medication if I end up in a situation where I’m eating potassium-rich foods.


I’ve also discovered that a busy schedule doesn’t necessarily mean a physically active one. But it does use my energy equally. As a result, I must give up routine exercise to keep up with social engagements and work, and I often see a decline in strength and muscle mass as a result.

To maintain my physical strength, it’s important for me to make the most of quieter days. If I let myself get too far behind on fitness, climbing back from the deficit becomes even more challenging.

As an example, I currently find myself weaker than I was six weeks ago simply because I haven’t been able to walk regularly each day. While I want to maintain a balance in how I spend my time, I know that my daily routines greatly affect my health maintenance over the long term.

Organization and hygiene

Another thing that quickly falls by the wayside is cleaning the house. I celebrated my birthday last weekend, so I was busy most of the time, and when I wasn’t, I was too exhausted to do anything. As a result, my room is currently a disaster, which I’ll have to deal with later in the week when I’m caught up with work.

I also can’t ignore being medically organized or maintaining good hygiene. These tasks include changing my ventilator tubing, cleaning my tracheostomy, and filling my pill tray. To avoid forgetting these things, I put them on my calendar as nonnegotiable tasks.

I’m not perfect at all of this. If anything, the past couple weeks have been a wake-up call regarding how quickly I can lose control over my routine. The consequences have been greater than I would have thought.

As I look forward to a hectic summer, I know it will be important to keep these points in mind and be proactive about my health rather than regretful.

Note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News or its parent company, Bionews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.


Linda Martindale avatar

Linda Martindale

Oh my thank you for sharing you journey. You have helped me to feel grateful. I too live in Minnesota. I had sarcoidosis for 20 years and my lungs are filled with fibrosis, which led to pulmonary hypertension. Diagnosed 1year ago. I’m in a wheelchair and on oxygen 24/7. My energy level is very low. But I’m 73 yrs old. I’ve had a very blessed life. So I’m spoiled and I a hard time coping with this. I love your posiitivity.
Good luck. May God be with you.


Leave a comment

Fill in the required fields to post. Your email address will not be published.

A Conversation With Rare Disease Advocates