Posted tagged ‘caregiving’

An Author Event

September 16, 2013

Storm's coming.

Storm’s coming.

I’ve been AWOL this summer. Change happens in life and we’ve lost a lot of our nursing help in caring for our disabled son. So I’m working many more hours. Too many hours.

Finally, something had to give and it’s been my weekly posts. Why? Because being there for our son is very important to me. But so is finishing my next book. It’s another Dessert Dames novel and the working title is Lemons Squared.

So now you know whymy weekly posts have ceased for a while–at least until life changes again and I have more time. But I haven’t forgotten you. I continue to take photos whenever I can and hope to be using them again. I do use them on my Facebook pages every now and then. 

Lots to choose from

Lots to choose from

But for those of you in the Racine/Kenosha, Wisconsin area, I’ll be participating in a Local Authors’ Showcase on Wednesday. I’m very excited that my schedule cleared enough that I could do so. I’ll be very glad to discuss my books with them. And sign my latest PR cards. If you’re in the area, I hope you stop by, Wednesday, September 18th, 4-7 PM at Andrea’s, 60th St and 24th Avenue, Kenosha.

Here’s my new PR card.And keep reading. 🙂

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Leave It To A Little Moss Rose

July 22, 2012

I suspect if you’ve been listening to or reading the news reports since very early Friday morning, July 20th, you are in disbelief at the shootings which took place during a midnight viewing of the new Batman movie.

Once again such horrific mayhem visits. Almost like in the movies.

When I heard the first announcement I thought it was some kind of joke; however, my cynicism melted faster than my ice cubes in my water. Considering the weather we’ve had this summer, that’s about 30 seconds to a minute.

Others have written about this incident and the phenomenon that feeds these acts. Many have far greater knowledge than I do, so I’m not going there.

But last week, I wrote about caregiving. Generally caregiving is necessary as the result of something that changes within a person’s or persons’ live(s). Thus this incident will result in the need for many who never expected to be caregivers to step up to the plate and deal with drastic changes in their lives. Those changes may be temporary or permanent.

But everyone connected to those in that theater at that viewing will be affected–significantly. Eveyone they interact with will see the effects and also deal with them.

Really. I know this because I saw it happen to us. Catastrophe ripples outward and downward.

Really. Because some people who enter a theater to see movie will always have that memory of what happened in a movie theater in Aurora, CO. They will likely be more alert. While most of us won’t be involved in the immediate care and support of those who were victims, we will be changed because of the incident—just as the victims, their families, and their friends—maybe even their workplaces—will be.

Forever. And therein lies the greatest violence. And therein lies the major reason I feel such sorrow.

In my book, Better Than Dessert, my heroine Katy becomes a widow as the result of a bombing. Most of the book revolves around how she and her family and friends work through the changes in their lives as a result. I had to do some research for this part of my book, but the time spent was worth it. I learned as a result. This learning has helped me think beyond the horrific event at the movie theater. I could center my thoughts, prayers, and positive feelings on those who will be dealing with its aftermath.

I think I became more empathetic as a result of writing that book.

As you might suspect this wasn’t among the topics, I’d considered posting about this week. However, sometimes events compel us to change—even in the blogosphere. 🙂

As for some good news? We had not quite an inch of rain this week. It certainly won’t undo the damage done on lawns and trees, shrubs, and farmers’ crops.

A bit of cheer after our first rain.

However, it did provide just enough moisture to allow a small patch of moss rose which reseeded itself from last year’s abundance to take off and even provide a few blooms. This phenomenon occurred in a large pot on my patio. (Remember because of the landscaping and drought I didn’t plant annuals this year like I usually do—thank goodness, too.)

Of course, I had to take a photo. Those two cheery yellow blooms are my gift this week. My heart sang. So of course, I share my small bounty with you.

Have a great week.

Hodgepodge Sunday

July 15, 2012

A neighbor’s cheery pot of flowers.

Some Sundays my topic’s focus is much like my dear hubby’s beef stew—or chicken soup. Today is one of those Sundays.

But what does that mean? First of all, his chicken soup is fabulous—always. However, this blog may not reach his soup standard, but I’ll do my best. 😉 Besides the staple of chicken, his soup can and will contain a variety of different ingredients depending on his mood, the time of year, the state of wilting veggies in our fridge.

The same pattern holds true for his beef stew. Beef predominates. But sometimes several different cuts of beef comprise the protein, especially if we have tidbits of steak or roast left from an earlier meal. In that case, we could refer to those meaty leftovers as gallimaufry. That fun word means leftovers which in the stew would be those beef cuts.

We’ll today’s post isn’t about leftovers so much as a mélange of assorted bits and pieces, a farrago of sorts—of newsy tidbits enhancing today’s main theme. (I was having fun this morning finding synonyms)

Caregiving.

A butterfly bush–if you plant it , they will come.

I suspect all of you know the term. You’ve likely filled the role willingly or not for someone you care about.

However, for most of us the term caregiving might incorporate a mélange of duties done by one or several people who may have a broad range of necessary skills to care adequately for someone requiring help. This aid might range from minimal, such as–let’s say–driving someone whose dwindling eyesight means he or she no longer has a driver’s license to someone who needs assistance in all areas of life in order to stay alive.

I’ve been in caregiving situations which encompassed all these elements. I’ve friends who started out as caregivers to a spouse or family member who required just a bit of help at first. Through the months or years that help increased in what must be done and how often. As the needs increase, the caregiver expends more physical and emotional energy, sometimes to the point they might be near burn-out or become ill themselves.

Caregivers need care themselves. Too often, the ones they care for haven’t the capacity, the patience, or the ability to see beyond their needs to extend a “thank you” or an “I appreciate what you do for me” statement. Illness and severe disability can rip interpersonal skills and relationships to tatters scattered around the emotional environment in which they exist.

In the best of times caregiving is not easy. Often it is not fun. Always it is demanding and requires an acceptance of responsibility few who take it on realize when they accept the caregiving challenge. The longer the caregiving lasts the more likely the caregiver becomes aware of how much life has changed. The more they need to take care of themselves.

Thank goodness for neighbors who have flowers

I know this from experience. Thus I try to reach out to others I know are caregivers to offer encouragement. Listen to their worries, their woes, their frustrations. Often their days are a hodgepodge of highs and lows, anger and stress, tenderness and love. Some days, months, maybe years, one of these emotions or feelings predominates. If the feeling is negative, life gets tough. Then tougher. Almost too difficult to keep going.

But the wonderful trait most caregivers have is they do keep going. Like energizer bunnies. They realize perhaps that they may be the one cared for at some future time. They hope their generosity of spirit will be reciprocated with a good caregiver. Maybe they store up memories of what made them feel good and bad as caregivers so they won’t repeat that if such time comes for them.

In the meantime, if you are in a caregiving position now, I salute you. I hold you in my thoughts. I send a wish that you will always find the strength to carry on. Because some days that’s not easy.

If you aren’t a caregiver, but know others who are, reach out to them. Listen to them. Or maybe just tell them “You’re doing a great job.”

As I said, I’m a caregiver—have been for 18 years—but these past few years life has gotten much more difficult for many reasons. But this week my spirit lifted when my nephew and his son and daughter called me. They were on their boat and sailing past our place. They wanted to let me/us know they were thinking of us and wanted us to see them wave. We did.

Just a little thing really. But it meant a lot.

This morning’s sunrise 5:15. The heat and humidity are building

Oh, and today my first Sunday Morning With column ran in our local paper. I’ve already had an appreciative email about it. 🙂

And Thursday, I hit the PUBLISH button for Better Than Dessert to go to print.

Last evening hubby and I joined a few friends for dinner at a favorite restaurant. Great food, great time, a break in the routine.

All of these last items help us keep up the good fight.

I’m pumped and ready for the week, are you?

Last Man Standing

April 29, 2012

My life is like bowling. I'm the last pin standing...

It’s happened.

That situation that I feared developing.

Some of us may have a couple of possible scenarios that fall in this category. Most of us hope such a situation never pops up. We might work very hard to control our environment and our lives to avoid such situations.

However, we know that we can only do so much in manipulating events because outside events often interfere. Things we can’t foresee or control screw things up.

Being able to mess things up for my characters is one of the elements I enjoy in my writing life. I have the control, and believe me, it’s quite enjoyable to make my characters miserable or dealing with things, at least until I give them their happy endings.

And I do that because I can. I’m a writer.

But this isn’t about writing. But my life/the part I can’t control.

Saturday morning at 4:30 before my alarm went off at 5:00, my hubby woke me with an apology. Then he told me he was leaving me in a lurch. In a lurch?!

First I thought he was having another heart issue or worse–a stroke. I became totally alert.

Well his choice of wording wasn’t the greatest (after all it was 4:30 and the sun wasn’t even a glimmer on the eastern horizon yet). And he is a man. And men can sometimes be the worst of patients because their ailments are always the worst of all. Just ask them if they haven’t told you at least once already.

So, what was the problem? He’d gotten up to use the bathroom and let Oreo out as she thought that was a good idea and somehow hurt/strained his back.

Our blossoming trees look like late May instead of April

He couldn’t possibly do anything as he hurt so very much. (We’re facing 72 hours of care for our son this week. That takes both of us at times.)

Now since I had to get to our disabled son’s area on a different floor to relieve the nurse on duty, I quickly dressed, placed everything my hubby would need close at hand for him, rearranged his pillows and put one under his knees like nurses would always do whenever I was in the hospital for my back surgeries, and told him I’d check on him as soon as I could.

So there it was. One of my greatest fears–I was the last man standing in our home–and facing a totally paralyzed son on one level and my husband hurting on another on another floor–2 levels about my son.

I was facing caring for my son for the day alone. I always need help in moving him, doing some of his necessary cares, and getting him ready for the day–or night.

Well, just like my characters, I couldn’t spend the next fourteen hours crying in my coffee over a twist in my carefully planned day. I coped and figured out what to do.

Fortunately, the weather was miserable yesterday (this didn’t help my pain level any–but that’s another post). This meant I was able to find a helpful neighbor who was available to help me move my son. Had the day been lovely, that wouldn’t have happened as she and her friends had plans.

So that writer who is writing my life story was smart enough to provide details that allowed me to survive my worst fear.

Had I given up, I’d have given my life’s writer a writing block. Heaven forbid I’d do such a thing.

This is why I love spring

Well, today I’m still the last person standing in this household. And getting grumpier.

Oh, and hubby? Well, no one’s ever had such pain before, but at least today I only have one floor between down-for-the-count family members/patients instead of two levels. (Meaning hubby managed to get out of bed today. 😉 )

So what’s a fear you’ve had to handle when faced? Or have you been very lucky so far?