Let’s have some F.U.D.G.E.

Sep 7, 2022 | Uncategorized


Does F.U.D.G.E. get your attention? Does it get your attention when spelled in CAPS and with periods? It did mine when I first encountered the term.

chocolate fudge with nuts on a plateThe first time I read about F.U.D.G.E. was when as a newer Patient Advocate, I was reading the work of Trisha Torrey, founder and then director of the Alliance of Professional Health Advocates. F.U.D.G.E. caught my eye and demanded my attention. I am glad my curiosity had me investigate because the term adeptly outlines a swarmy, complex state of mind.

F.U.D.G.E. means Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt, Guilt and Exhaustion.

F.U.D.G.E. means Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt, Guilt and Exhaustion. If you’ve been anywhere near the issues of healthcare navigation, caregiving, and planning for successful aging – you likely have been inside one of these. Sometimes a combination.

I will be talking about each one of their components in greater detail in the coming weeks. We’re gonna have some  F.U.D.G.E. together. We’ll do it in a way that offers commonality and solution. (This Advocate can’t offer just any ol’ fudge, it’s gotta be from solution, not problem, because the solution is where I like to live).

And because some people like their fudge with nuts, I can tell you about situations or people who seemed like it (!) or perhaps you may end up thinking I am. Your call. 😀

Here is the Overview of F.U.D.G.E., a sampler, if you will.

Fear is behind more than we realize.


Whether you realize its presence or not, its grip or not, fear is a huge component when you are inside a healthcare encounter. Or when a caregiver or a care recipient.

    What will happen to the person I’m in charge of, or what will happen to me?
    What’s this diagnosis and what does it mean (to my loved ones or to me)?
    What is going to happen to me? 

It may not be anything you can put your finger on or anything you’re actually thinking, but there may seem a sort of lurk. Then there’s out-and-out fear which is more like “Is  Doris going to survive this procedure?, or “I fear for my life or his life.” Fear is behind more than we realize. In elder care, well care, or caregiving, it’s there in the backseat. We witness it in the form of reticence or complaining, discord or sabotage – even self-sabotage. Fear is lurking, you can bet on it. In fact, for the rest of the word, the F.U.D.G.E., fear is likely woven into every part of it.


Uncertainty is the “U” in F.U.D.G.E. Now, maybe that is a pun right there, but is there anyone among us who’s not felt some uncertainty relative to healthcare or caregiving?

    How’s this going to go?
    Do I know all I need to know?
    Or, I’m pretty sure I don’t know all I need to know.

Uncertainty occurs when there are too many factors or plates in the air, or balls are in the air, or whatever is UP in the air! We don’t know how the other factors are going to impact our concern. We’re dealing with humans here, so then there’s that part of any uncertainty, We are all moving targets with wily personalities, or we can, without trying to, contribute to volatility.

F.U.D.G.E. stuff builds.


Once again, who among us has ever sailed through life (or healthcare, or caregiving, or aging) without a side helping of Doubt?

    I’m not sure if my capability or the other party’s capability.
    Will this all come together, or will it unravel?
    Is this right, or is this wrong?

Somebody may be doubting you, or me, or themselves. Not full belief and less-than-full trust is doubt. I go off on the Dewey tangent. Fear is here with us also (Ex. Not on my watch. What will happen?).


Guilt, the unhappy lookback, The sometimes eternal lookback, or sometimes even looking ahead. Doubt inserts itself, we don’t have to do a thing to find ourselves with it.

    It happened on my watch (remember the “Not on my watch?).
    He or she made me promise not to, and now it’s happening.
    Did I do all I could do? Am I doing all I can do
    How do I weigh their wishes against safety and maybe an outcome?

F.U.D.G.E. occurs when there are courses of events we cannot control well.


Exhaustion how fitting that the “E” for exhaustion is at the end of the F.U.D.G.E. -word. After all that aforementioned angst, I’m tired just thinking about it all. Exhaustion is a sum total and a result. It is also a danger zone. Exhaustion is easily recognized. Exhaustion is understood. The exhaustion is expected or anticipated and is a result of courses of events that we can’t control well.

Guess who’s in the backseat? Fear, uncertainty, doubt and guilt are all there. In fact, they likely backseat-drove you here to exhaustion.

    Did I do (or am I doing) all I can do? > I can do more, I must do more.
    I cannot let others see that I am not on top of my game or that I need help.
    Me? Self-care? HOW DARE I?

Exhaustion may also be a result of denying self-care, which I talked about in an earlier blog, Me, Self Care? HOW DARE I?. Exhaustion can create further adjust exhaustion when we try not to let others see. Or help. There’s pride in exhaustion in a weird way, we are exhausted because we haven’t let others know or help us or see, or we’ve not allowed for self-care, such as rest and proper nutrition to fuel the furnace or being good to ourselves.

I invite you to live in the solution with me.

Knowing what we know about human nature and our frailties and tendencies means we can work within them to find solution. This Patient Advocate likes to live in the solution, so on your behalf, I’d already been batting around approaches and ideas such as:

    How to combat
    Work a plan
    Accept help
    Give yourself permission

And so many more. Let’s get started.

Have you been here? Had a piece of F.U.D.G.E. ? Eat too much, at times? I help people who are navigating healthcare, who are caregiving or who are the care recipient, who are aging or solo aging, or planning to age successfully – to manage their F.U.D.G.E. intake.

Contact me, let’s have some F.U.D.G.E. The emotions of healthcare, caregiving, or aging can be “with or without nuts”. We can clean the plate, wash it and put it away! Schedule a Complimentary Consultation
here.  919.928.4428