Sharing wellbeing among bloggers

It’s like satisfying a nagging craving.  I always crave cake.  The cake-to-icing ratio is my measuring stick for events and people affecting my life.  Frosting is the highlight.  Like yesterday, today I am sharing a couple of newly discovered blogs whose contributions my words cannot do justice. These giving people are the proverbial “icing on the cake”.

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View from tree house in “Hershey Children’s Garden” by Bethane M. Evans

Tony Burkinshaw, your energetic, literary style immediately attracted my attention. The rhythmic way you express your work on ‘Posts of Hypnotic Suggestion’ exhibits extensive knowledge through the use of your therapeutic words.

Sarah Langdon, your sweet reminiscence and observations reflect similar memories and feelings in which I find comfort. In your daily ‘Conversations’ posts, I appreciate how you pay tribute to life’s perpetual force through your family’s spirit. Thanks for sharing them with all of us!

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In hindsight: Remembering through the rear view mirror

“It is one of three things…” stated the surgeon in a sedate voice.  He methodically plotted each possible diagnosis with an accompanying semi-pedantic explanation.  “…the third of which is Crohn’s disease.”  The realization resonated with his words.  None of the possibilities sounded particularly “good”, however; I looked forward to a confirmation, whatever “Crohn’s” was.

Poppy field - Bing image

Poppy field – Bing image

The pathology report read positive Crohn’s disease. I felt an overwhelming sense of relief.  The assigned name validated the way I felt nearly all my life.  Now that I knew what I was dealing with, I could move forward from there…and I did…

“Hindsight is 20/20” was a future lesson learned as I became caregiver for both of my parents. My Mother already had a stage IV breast cancer diagnosis, then my Father slowly devolved with Alzheimer’s disease, years after my Mother’s death.  My Mother forged ahead for 23 years, teaching me the value of fortitude.  Living proof you can lead a functional lifestyle and enjoy it, diagnosis be damned.  In the following couple of years Dad lived alone, his decline became apparent.  He spent the next few years with us and in assisted living.  He, too, was high functioning, vacillating between stage 2 and stage 3 Alzheimer’s disease.

'Kaleidoscope Trees' by Bethane M. Evans

‘Kaleidoscope Trees’ by Bethane M. Evans

Genuine memories were seldom spent with each other during the wee hours of the morning, whispering while the rest of the world slept.  The lines of the calendar blurred during long, never ending days in the stark hospital rooms. We passed time indulging ourselves with Ice cream for dinner, early AM television and sharing the occasional dram of brandy while reminiscing over tea.

Finally, as Dad wandered in his thoughts, I had my fondest recollections. This opportunity allowed us to connect on a different plane.  We would travel to our own secret place, with our own language.  We even had our own secret handshake (which we always had but he still remembered it there).  Time didn’t exist and words could mean anything.  We spoke in pictures telling abstract stories we never shared.  These were the times I cherish most, when we are our most vulnerable, our most authentic.

I was able to be with both of my parents during the most critical times of their respective illnesses.  They treated and cared for me all of my life, in their own unique ways.  My Mother’s nurturing, maternal approach and my Father’s cultural, alternative approach complemented how I was able to be there for them.  It is what I was taught, it is what I know and it is what I practice in my work and home – because it works!

Give a care – When you become the parent of a parent

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‘The Lorax’ by Dr. Seuss

I have been a caregiver advocating for the elderly community for 40 years.  This is from where we learn most, and learn best.  This practical education has enriched my awareness providing insight applicable both as a caregiver and a patient.

While undergoing medical tests, I spent weeks on the geriatric floor of the hospital which characterized the population with GI disorders.  I was barely 18.  I felt comfortable surrounded by those older and wiser, with whom I had become familiar and relied on to nurture me in my time of need.  I was relocated to the “Juvenile” wing, (as in juvenile delinquents).  It was assumed I would be more comfortable among those my own age.  My entire treatment was dedicated to maintaining calm, resting my gut and curbing physical and mental activity.  First, teens don’t sleep.  Secondly, teens are invincible, especially in the face of death.  Youth with stage 4 cancer, extreme eating disorders, grand mal seizures and severe Crohn’s disease.  These “kids” had literally lived in hospitals and had multiple surgeries under their belts. The rock music and medical marijuana filled the air day and night.  Having just been plucked from 6 short weeks of my first semester at college, THIS was dorm living!  Ironically, I needed the rest, I longed for peace and quiet.  I wanted everything to stop.

Sensory overload is what we all are subjected to from birth to death.  Used as torture, it is especially cruel while our bodies are expending all its energy to heal.  Our focus is distracted and the symptoms become amplified.  Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are not exclusively for the elderly.  No one of any age is immune to the insidiousness mental confusion and cognitive dissonance creates in the mind.  There is no mechanism to process nor comprehend external stimuli, which is often perceived as a threat.  Caregivers need to help themselves before they can even begin to consider helping others.  Learning empathy is essential.  The Alzheimer’s Association developed an on-line course designed for all caregivers called EssentiALZ.  An affordable, invaluable tool for everyone, supporting organizations endorse EssentiALZ to help us better communicate needs to have an effective, continued relationship with those we may be dependent upon, or those who may depend on us.

Advance Planning Can Help You and Your Family

Elders wishes were more likely to be known and respected when nurses of other health workers guided them through the planning process.” Paul S. Mueller, MD, MPH, FACP Journal Watch’, April 13th, 2010