Monday, June 25, 2012

Stark Street

Greetings, friends,

Like many people, I rely on GPS to locate places unknown.  Fiona, as she is known in my car, doesn’t always get it right, and I couldn’t help but sigh when I was recently “misplaced” on “Stark Street”.  I mean, really???

My outlook that day was not so great… pretty sure you can relate.  How many of you have gotten stuck on Stark Street?  It seems to happen to all of us, and how we cope with turning around and going in the right direction tells us a great deal about our mental and physical condition at the time.  If we’re rested, reasonably happy, and have a goal in mind, we can usually resolve the misdirection.  It’s when we’re exhausted, fairly down and unhappy, with goals in mind but brain fog on how to resolve the hurdles that the wheels come off – and Stark Street becomes a dead end.

When Stark Street becomes your dead end, please don’t forget to reach out.  It can be very affirming to know that you’re not alone.  You DO have options, and you absolutely matter.  On my specific “lost day”, I called a very reliable friend who guided me to a landmark where Fiona could take charge again.  We laughed at the irony of the street name, but turning around is easier with help from a friend you can trust. 

May you seldom find yourself on Stark Street, but if you do, reach out because we are here for each other!


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Fitting Description of Caregivers

Hi friends,

Caregiving for warriors and veterans seems to be getting more intense, though we cannot put our finger on the reason.  There are no doubt many. Yet, as caregivers, no matter the circumstances, you all step up and master the next step, even under sometimes harrowing conditions.  So what is a good description of the mighty Caregiver?

Caregivers are a combination of grace under pressure, power and strength, and compassionate fortitude to go the extra mile(s).

If you were a flower, what would you be?  Consider the simple daisy.  It is a tall flower with a slender stem, but it holds up a large, sturdy flower and bends with the winds, even at their highest levels.  Rarely do daisies blow over, but when they do, the next day, they are standing tall, faces to the sun.  You too stand tall, carrying a heavy load, swaying sometimes in fierce winds, but you are indomitable.  You also do this year after year, just as the perennial daisy.

If you were an animal, what best describes you?  How about a Mama Grizzly bear, known for her fierce loyalty, deep instincts, and extraordinary protection of her brood.  Daily, you too exhibit this tenacity, and nothing will get in the way of obtaining care for your warrior, even if it means you look after yourself last.  But, like the Grizzly, you choose your battles wisely so that you will conserve energy and knowledge to get yet another step ahead in recovery.

And, if you were a vehicle, what do you envision?  Certainly that snappy little convertible is fast, but for protection, perhaps you are the most tricked-out, armored, armed, and serious vehicle in the United States, “The Beast”, that can go anywhere, anytime.  You’re hard to penetrate, built to withstand much, provide protection for your family, and you roll on.  You’re built for the long journey, while also looking sharp for important events, because showing your best face forward is how you share your confidence.

Finally, you have the biggest heart, the widest embrace, and the best smile in the universe for those who’ve earned your trust.  We salute you this Flag Day; Caregivers are amazing people and patriots!


Friday, June 8, 2012

Small Bits of Quirky Caregiver Humor

This week, complete with Full Moon and a migratory Venus, had some comical or just plain surprising moments.  Of course, that’s depending on your perspective, so it’s possible that your idea of quirky may be different than ours.  All incidents below are provided in good fun.  Sometimes, though, “you just had to be there”!

Caregiving has its moments and here are a few:

·         Following a recent emergency situation, one of the local police cars were outside the home.  In a moment of candor and revelation, the Caregiver said “Did you know that policemen hang their handcuffs on the turn signal? That’s where I hang my hair scrunchies!”

·         One Caregiver tried valiantly to reach her Caregiver Coordinator over a period of two weeks.  She eventually received a callback voicemail that said “Thank you for your calls, but I’m out the next five days”.  When they finally connected seven days later, the Caregiver was told:  “I received two voicemails, an email, a Post-it Note, and a message from my supervisor to call you, but the problem isn’t in my job description”.  When the Coordinator coulen’t inform her of whose job it was, there was an email follow-up provided.  The Subject Line in the email below says it all.  J

·        A Caregiver went to pick up a pain medication prescription (in person) at the end of the month as usual.  The pharmacy said that the veteran could not be out of medicine for the month?  The caregiver showed the paper record of her son taking the medicine as directed.  After three hours, the problem was determined to be that the pharmacy could not or would not adjust for months with 31 days in them.  

·         It took a Caregiver to show spinal compressions from scans to get attention for repeatedly catching her falling husband over a long period of time. VA is now providing for a battery of tests to determine the veteran’s balance issues following this ER physician note that said:  “A wife is not a proper assistive device”!

·         Finally, we think a series of “educational T-shirts” would help PTSD and TBI public awareness and suggest slogans like the following:

Ø  Let Him Keep the Hat On! (The Nosy Civilian’s Guide to Veteran Clothing)
Ø  Anger vs Shock (or, Why Your Question Was Wildly Inappropriate)
Ø  PTSD in Pop Culture (Phil & Friends Frenzy)
Ø  He’s MY Veteran and Yours! (Give Us Some Room Please)
Ø  My Injuries May be Invisible – but I’m Invincible!
Ø  My Mother DOES Wear Combat Boots!
Ø  Dining Out?  We’ll Take the Seats With Our Backs Against the Wall…
Ø  Mom Can’t Sign My Report Card – She’s In Afghanistan

Please share your quirky moments and have a very good weekend!