Monthly Archives: July 2014

Reflections ~ The Promises You Keep

One of the things about this sort of therapy is that when you have life-changing events they tend to find their expression in this very private/public way. I have shared the moments of my life with my husband in part to give me voice, and in part to light up the dark cave of this disease with my own tiny flashlight. This past weekend we have, I suppose, passed another milestone.

I think (though I’ll never be certain) it all started when I chose to save a bit of time and stop at a grocery store where, he has decided, the people don’t like him. Things were okay for a short while after we got home and then everything went south. He couldn’t understand after all he had done for me, and knowing how much he cared, that I could have done such a terrible thing. He was leaving. Now.

After an hour of following him back and forth in the street, apologizing to a neighbor after he knocked on the door (twice), and not being able to get him in the car (in hopes of getting him to the clinic) I called 911.

Two patrol cars and a fire truck later things were much calmer. All vitals checked, even though his pulse rate and blood pressure were elevated. He assured the officers, multiple times, that he had not hit me, that he did want to stay, that he didn’t want to lose me. Of course 10 minutes after they were gone he was asking where I had gone.

Sunday was rather calm and I actually got a number of things taken care of. Bits of domestic this and that I rarely have time to do. Then came today, Monday.

He was quite cheery early in the day but he decided that we must have lunch at 9:30. Not wanting to get him stirred up again I complied. Sometime during lunch he decided he had to go. I had already messaged the doctor about an appointment to discuss meds, but with this new outburst it looked like we were on Plan B. I told him I wasn’t feeling well and I needed him with me at the doctor’s. Well, that was Okay if I promised to drop him off on the way back.

I wasn’t going to risk not being able to get him in the car again, so off to the clinic we went a good 2 hours before the appointment. He was extremely nervous anytime I had to leave him alone. When we did get in, he was more communicative with his doctor than he has ever been. Sum total? He didn’t want to lose me. So we did what I swore I would not do until there was no other choice, we got a prescription. That would be for him, not me.

I guess when you think about it, if one of his strongest emotions is that he does not want to lose me, but every time he “sees” me I’m someone different – well, how many times a day does he “lose” me?

I’ve always tried to be honest about my decisions so that others can benefit in some way. I chose not to use medication until the last possible moment due to side effects and the impact they may have on his other health issues. It is also clear to me that the decisions I make in his care are mine to make as long as I am prepared for the consequences. However, when those choices begin to impact those around us I need to rethink my strategy.

In recent weeks I have acquired a number of supporters that are able and willing to help me find the right path for us. Tonight the owners of the home care company I am currently using came to our door. Why? To go over what had happened and to see if that required any changes in the way we had planned support, and to see if I was Okay.

People in my circumstances need to know that they are not alone. Not all areas have the same support systems that are available to me. Not all people have friends and family ready to step in, to listen, or just be around to talk about what is happening or things completely unrelated to your role as a caregiver. And not all people are involved in a company that notices your absence in the daily give and take on social media and start the process to find you and make sure that things are okay. I can, however, tell you, you don’t have to be alone. Really.

Photo Credit Fotosearch.com

Photo Credit Fotosearch.com

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Filed under Caregiving Backstage

Reflections ~ On a day gone by

I touch you,

But you’re not there

You miss me

But I’m right here

I die a thousand deaths

as one by one

life’s memories

slip away

One by one,

the things we did

are lost

in a graveyard

of the mind.

Courtesy of WANA Commons, Jenny Kaczorowski

Courtesy of WANA Commons, Jenny Kaczorowski

Happy Anniversary to my one true love, my soul mate, my best friend.
July 12, 2014

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Filed under Caregiving Backstage, Personal Journeys

Reflections ~ Sugared Wine and No More Burritos

Courtesy WANA Commons, Lynn Kelley Author

Courtesy WANA Commons, Lynn Kelley Author

I mentioned a change. An adventure into the unknown. Now, it is known. My conclusion? Sugared Wine and No More Burritos. I shall explain.

 

 

As mentioned several weeks ago I decided to embark on a trial run with a day center. Some place hubby could be engaged for 4 hours while I did, well, stuff. The first visit was a bit rocky but the center’s administrator and I felt that it was the first visit and the problem may have been that we had not taken the time to reinforce the idea that I was really coming back.

Second week. I spent quite a bit of time reinforcing the idea of the nice exercises, the people to talk to, and the courses for teaching. And, yes I would be back to get him. It went, well, better. Meanwhile, I managed to complete a project at home I had been reluctant to start and ate – a burrito.

Several hours after we arrived home, he came to me and asked me what I thought of the place. I told him I thought it would be good for both of us. He agreed. Then came the 4th of July weekend and no visit.

Today, on the way to the center, I again did the reinforcement thing. Made sure that when I walked him into the room that everything was good and reassured him I would be back. Then I scurried back to the house for 4 hours of uninterrupted focus on my day job. Oh, on the way I picked up what I was beginning to think of as my Friday Burrito.

One load of wash, a burrito, and 30 minutes of actual work later; there’s a knock on the door. Standing in my carport was the lovely lady that I had arranged to see for “caregiving counselling.” When did I start forgetting appointments? No, no, come in, let me just clock out and we’ll have a chat while he’s not here.

It really was a nice chat. I am finding resources that don’t always know the answer right away, but they are willing to find out. So, we chatted about what I would like to accomplish in this world of caregiving. Just about the time we were winding up (she knew my job was tugging me), the phone rang.

Evidently hubby was getting quite agitated and wanted to know where in the dickens I had gotten off to. Unknown to me, he was agitated enough to raise his voice. Say bye to nice lady and ask her to check on in-home resources, flip laundry, hop in car, hit every traffic light in red mode and arrive at center.

The moment he sees me he becomes Mr. Jovial, laughing, teasing and flirting. Well, it’s not exactly the point that I go with him, now is it? Deep sigh. Request for other resources if they know of any. Drive home with Mr. Happy Face.

After an afternoon of trying to catch up on poor neglected Day Job I finally decide to soak and fix something for dinner. As is usual, my wine is waiting on the dining room table, this time in a cup. Whatever, it still tastes the same – or does it? On the off chance I am poisoning myself with copious amounts of something-related-to-sugar I stick my finger in the bottom of the cup. Umm, no. One does not need half a cup of sugar with white wine of any vintage. *Sigh.* I think I’ll go prepare chicken with his favorite maple syrup sauce and find the wine bottle.

Courtesy WANA Commons, Jenn Smitherman

Courtesy WANA Commons, Jenn Smitherman

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Filed under Caregiving Backstage

Book Review ~ Chirping your way through Twitter

How to Be Twittertastic by Jo Linsdell, $3.99US (Kindle)
VBTbannerHowtobeTwittertastic

Twitter. All the rage for “everybody” (really, over 1 billion users as of now) but still a mystery to many of us. How does one say something meaningful in 140 characters – or fewer? Does it matter, or is it just another way to grab time from an already overloaded schedule? Must I twitter?

Every so often I delve into the world of “things helpful to authors.” In this case, though, I think the information has a much broader interest level. Jo Linsdell’s new book, Twittertastic, is written for authors; however a huge portion of the material would also apply to anyone who wants to get something out of the Twitter experience.

Here are some of the subjects that Jo covers:

How to set up your profile and personalize it
Creating your network
Ideas for making the most out of the new features
Tweets- Types of content you can share
Retweets, hashtags, and other Twitter terminology made simple
Twitter etiquette- Dos and Don’ts of the Twitterverse
Time savers

Jo, in her usual manner of clarity and brevity, introduces the reader to the fundamentals of Twittering. How to set things up, how to find people of interest to follow, how to get yourself noticed, WHAT to tweet and where to find content. Also, as is her habit, she includes pages and pages of links and references to get you started on the “but where do I find?” part. You really DO want this one in Kindle format, those hyperlinks are terrific.

Jo also researches her books and provides the statistics and supporting content that drive home her points. For instance, tweets with images garner a 40% greater response from tweeters than text posts. Jo shows you where and how to find image content, how to upload and how to capitalize on it.

As I mentioned, I am greener than the newest newbie in this world of word-spurts, that’s why Jo’s explanation of #hashtags, @addresses and lists, as well as when and where to use what is so helpful. She makes it all seem so easy!

Why, you ask, should someone listen to this particular voice in the crowd of “social media experts?” Because Jo is an internationally bestselling author and illustrator. Each year she conducts PromoDay to bring writing industry people from around the world together. She also manages a blog specifically for Writers and Authors. I should also mention I count her as friend and colleague.

Jo’s Bio:

Jo Linsdell is a bestselling author and illustrator and internationally recognized marketing expert. She is also the founder and organizer of the annual online event “Promo Day” (www.PromoDay.info) and the Writers and Authors blog (http://WritersAndAuthors.blogspot.com).

To find out more about Jo and her projects visit her website www.JoLinsdell.com.

Here, then, are all the great places you can find Twittertastic (the first in a series of Social Media for authors).

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LFFRYEE
http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00LFFRYEE
http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00LFFRYEE
http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B00LFFRYEE

And here are the places Jo hangs out:

Facebook
Twitter
Google+
LinkedIn
YouTube
Goodreads
Amazon

 

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Filed under Stuff about Writing ~ Tips and Tools

Book Review(s) ~ Our Mysterious and Beautiful Arctic Shore

Book Review(s) — Aunt Phil’s Trunk, now 4 volumes each $15-20.

NRCFAUNTPHILSTRUNKSERIESLC

It is, of course, rather nice to breathe the fine air of history once again. Through a chain of friends I was asked to take a look at the first two volumes of what is growing into a series called, Aunt Phil’s Trunk. Even the making of these books has a historical tang to it. Aunt Phil, Phyllis Downing Carlson, was a historian and a meticulous collector of Alaskan Lore. She bequeathed this body of knowledge to her niece, Laurel Downing Bill. Laurel, fascinated with the treasure trove she had found, took herself off to university to learn journalism and history. Upon graduation she began further researching the history of her home state, Alaska. Then she began the process of weaving her own tales with those of her aunt’s to create a really fascinating read. You never get lost because she always makes sure that while you are reading Alaskan history, you also know what was happening in the burgeoning country to the south.

I found myself quite delighted wandering through the pages of this collection of stories. Bill provides some background on habitation in Alaska as early as 850 BCE. In the early chapters of volume one, Bill gives a brief history of the violent geological nature of the land. She describes how volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis and Arctic winters shaped the land and the islands that are near its shore.

Of great interest to me was her research of the Russian possession of the country, and the dream of Secretary of State Seward to own the northern frontier. The purchase price of Alaska was somewhere around 2 cents an acre; $7.2 million dollars. There’s a photograph of the check! There are photographs of the Russian forts, the lovely Russian princess bidding a sad farewell, and of the American soldiers taking possession of the territory.

She adds to her story further research on the purchase price. There have been some rumors that the payment included a thank you price for the visit of the Russian fleet during the Civil War. Bill, in story-time style tells you that history shows a different tale. The price of the territory was already in the process of being negotiated before the war (somewhere in the 4-5 million dollar range). As far as the Russian fleet was concerned, the wars brewing in Europe put Russia at a distinct disadvantage. It was necessary to get their fleet to safety and by parking it on the American shores, Russian helped to tip the balance of support to the Union. American officials studiously ignored Russia’s encroachment on Polish soil. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

When Volume 2 begins we discover that it wasn’t all settled with the deed and treaty. As gold was found and things started to perk up a bit, well, the Canadians had their own ideas of where the boundary lines were drawn. Interpretation and re-interpretation of the boundaries conveyed by Russia brought the US and Canada close to the threshold of a border war. With the building of the railroad, which ran through territory that both the US and Canada claimed, things were getting serious. As progress pushed north (1898) serious negotiations began in Quebec City to settle the issue. Finally in 1903 a panel was set up to decide once and for all where the Crown lands ended and America began. President Theodore Roosevelt informed the panel that if they didn’t get it settled he would send in the Marines.

The tales and the photographs (some 650 between the two volumes) continue to lead you through the development of this beautiful wild country including the conquest of Dinali (Mt. McKinley), the volcano Katmai, the birth of the Iditarod and stories of the men and women who had no wish to tame the wilderness, but to learn to live within its majesty.

It’s a good read and I highly recommend you check it all out!

Laurel can be found in these online hangouts

Email: auntphilstrunk@gmail.com
Website: http://www.AuntPhilsTrunk.com
Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/LaurelBillAuthor
Twitter: http://www.Twitter.com/LaurelBill
Google +: http://www.plus.Google.com/LaurelBill
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmh0wCifvbXYsVg5IkawkyQ

All of the volumes available to date can be found here:

Aunt Phil’s Trunk volumes 1 through 4 are available through http://www.AuntPhilsTrunk.com and Amazon.com.

Volume 1: http://j.mp/SSiIKX
Volume 2: http://j.mp/SSiOT1
Volume 3: http://j.mp/SSjEz2
Volume 4: http://j.mp/SSjR5q

This post is part of a blog tour and there are prizes!  Check out the details at

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/dc88698/

 

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Filed under My Bookshelf ~ Current times