Friday, January 29, 2010


It has been just three years since I have retired and I can truthfully say I have not missed working at all. I have never looked back with regret or thought I made a mistake in doing so.

I attend a monthly breakfast with other retired nurses and they all say they do not miss nursing either. I believe that says a lot about the profession.

I find that I am becoming more like other retirees in this sense: I am becoming more intolerant of rude and inconsiderate behaviors. During the last few months I have encountered several episodes of rudeness. I was shopping at a local department store and a young girl of about five or six years old was running through the store tipping over various articles and generally causing a uproar hollering at other kids playing tag. As she came around a corner she bumped into me and I told her to behave herself that she had bumped me. She then found her mother, pointed to me and said I was mean to her. Mother then replied " Don't pay attention to her honey, she's just a crabby lonely old lady."

Second incident: We were eating at a in store restaurant and sign displayed as large as could be a notice not to bring carts in the dining area as the area was quite small. A couple came in moved the sign and proceeded to park their cart next to their table blocking the way for other customers.

Third incident: Waiting to enter a parking spot, turn signals on when another car turned in front of us and took the spot. When I rolled down the window and commenced to tell him we were waiting first he started swearing and shaking his fist at me. I was afraid he might pull a gun or something so we hightailed it out of there. These are just three incidents by folks who feel such entitlement and feel that this behavior is totally acceptable.

I guess bad behavior is more difficult to accept the older you get because it is o different from the way most of us were taught.

On the other side of the coin however I find great hope in the younger generation at least those I have encountered.Most of them have a ready smile on their face and are quick to help you with a package or a door.

I know we all tend to brag about our granchildren but I have to say if my two young granddaughters acted that way once they never would again. It all comes down to the way you are raised doesn't it?

We were able to visit my son this year, hadn't seen him or our granddaughter for almost three years. It was wonderful to see the both of them we miss them a lot. The San Diego area is always so beautful. I have the two young granddaughter that are just a year apart and although they live so far away the simularitiesare amazing. Both just great kids.

Haven't posted for a while but hope to get in the groove again.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Crisis Nursery

Throughout my career I have always tended to gravitate towards stressful areas of nursing. After my retirement I began looking for a volunteer position that would be the least stressful yet would give satisfaction and a sense of helping others.
My first foray into the land of volunteer opportunies led me to The American Red Cross. I attended the right amount of training sessions and was accepted and given my badge of honor, a life saving jacket and a general idea of situations I would be called upon to assist. I brought my jacket home and then began to have second thoughts. Did I really want to assist with flood victims, rescues, fires and other heart breaking situations? After spending my career dealing with the unhappiness and trauma of others I didn't think I could be as effective as I once was. Also physically I wasn't as capable. So regretfully I let my jacket hang in the closet to collect dust, thinking maybe someday.
I then attended a volunteer recruitment seminar and came upon a volunteer opportunity that I thought I may enjoy. I joined this organization several months ago and find great satisfaction in giving love and recieving much more in return.
The Crisis Nursery provides developmentally appropriate nuturing care in a clean safe positive enviroment for children whose families are in a crisis situation either due to homelessness family difficulties or the possibility of abuse due to lives spinning out of control. The ages accepted are newborns through six years of age.
Being a volunteer I never am told what brought these children to the center. My role is to feed bathe clothe rock and give love lots of love. My reward is seeing smiles and knowing that as long as they are in the nursery they have full tummies clean clothes and loving people taking care of them
The nursery is not government funded and survives through community donations paid staff and volunteers. Medical assesments are given to all children and all medical needs are met.
When I initially started I was given the option of working with infants or toddlers so I chose to work with infants first. My first baby was just three weeks old and I just basically fed and rocked her. I then worked with toddlers and the first day I had to come home and take a long nap! They were all so busy I could barely keep up. After three or four times down on a big play mat I decided I needed a break as I could hardly bring myself off the floor. Now I am back to infants.(My daughter told me I really never got on the floor playing with my grandchildren but it seems to me I must have once in awhile. I see some of the older children and they occassionally ask me if I remember them because some have been there on more than one occassion. I always tell them"of course I remember you" and they are always happy about that.
Kids are always so truthful and spontanious (sp?). Since I am getting older and hmm not as muscular as I once was I have lost some muscle tone in my arms and one little girl started feeling my upper arms. She looked at me and asked me to feel her arms. She then felt mine and said "Your arms are squishy and mine aren't. I like your arms better)
Doing this job has been so rewarding and I am thankful that I am able to give back but I also know that I recieve even more.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A day of mourning

He was fifty four years old. We attended his funeral yesterday. The firefighter honor guards were in attendance as were his many relatives and friends. He was know to all of his buddies on the department as being one of the best and had recieved many awards including the "Stork award" for delivering a baby. Firefighting was his career and he loved and was proud of being one. The Captain of the firefighters was in attendance and said he was "one of the best" He loved riding motorcycles and made trips to Sturgis for the rallies. He loved his children his mother and siblings and his grandchildren. He was a good man.
His life began spinning out of control several years ago. We don't know when it started or the reason why but he became addicted to cocaine. He went through treatment several times but the deadly powder had it's grip on him and he always went back to using.
As is almost always the consequences of addiction the family suffers as much as the user and his family was torn apart. Some accused his mother of always enabling him because she helped him when he was at his lowest. She never made excuses for his using but when he needed medical care she was always there. She started handling his money for him so he wouldn't spend it all on drugs. She let him stay with her on several occasion until it became to difficult for her. She never gave up on him. She would talk to him for hours about her and her families concern for him trying to get him help. She was firm in her belief that he could conquer his demons. She was not an enabler but a mother who loved her son unconditionally.
We spent several days in the ICU to support his mother and siblings and I believe that seeing someone die such a death should be a wake up call but unfortunetly that is not the case. It's the old 'It won't happen to me" adage.
His ultimate cause of death was two strokes brought on by several years of cocaine abuse. He went into a coma and never recovered. As I sat with him I couldn't help but remember his love of life and exuberance. Seeing his body ravaged by track marks and his once powerful body reduced to skin and bones was one of the most difficult tasks I have encountered
I found pictures of my oldest daughter taken with him when they were young and I see the happiness he showed and it does indeed break my heart.
As a tribute to him and his Mother, she was taken to the restaurant after the funeral in a fire truck. GODSPEED MY NEPHEW

Monday, May 4, 2009

Falling behind

Ever think you may be falling behind when it comes to modern technology? I sure do.
I think I made a big mistake at Christmas time when I purchased a new cell phone. Now I have had one for years cause I got a really cheap fee through my place of employment but only took it with us when we traveled, to let the kids know we were okay. I decided to buy my husband one and learn to use it more often. What a disaster this has been. When I purchased it I told Verizon I wanted to easiest one to use, no extra features, just a basic phone. Aaah they said, we have just the phone for you. It is called a seniors phone with larger numbers and very easy to use. Well Christmas day was not the joyous occasion it should have been because my husband started trying to program it. Now he has a patient deficit and within an hour was ready to throw the phone away or take it back.He was able to turn it on, make a call but couldn't figure out the programming. Neither could I. For such a basic phone you could do multiple tasks including presetting often called numbers, different ring tones, messages, etc,etc. He finally gave up and then our eleven year old grandaughter came to the rescue. Within a few minutes she had that phone ringing 60's music, vibrating phone alerts, all the numbers in place and what else I don't know.
Isn't youth wonderful.
Then I tried to set up a computor site to check out the calls we had made. Another disaster. I did a password and after the second viewing I was told I had the wrong one. After attemping to use it several times I was told my account was locked and I had to follow several steps and they would then text me a new new password Since the phone had no texting abilities I was unable to get new password. Today they sent me a temporary password through the mail. I haven't tried it yet because I am sure I will screw that up to. Since even using a plain cell is a chore to use I can't imagine trying to text and tweeter also.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Wishing for a sister

I was born the oldest of four children and also the only girl. I knew by the time I was four years old what my role in the family was to be. The babysitter and caretaker of two mischevious boys and later on a third. I never resented the responsibility as my brothers were good kids and never really caused problems. However I used to dream about how wonderful it would be to have a sister. When my third brother was born ten years after I was I used to pray that he would be a girl so that I would have a sister that I could dress up cuddle up to and spoil. Needless to say that did not happen.
I love my brothers dearly but a sister would have been so wonderful. Being the only girl I always had my own room and my brothers had to share a room and I used to listen to them at night pillow fighting, laughing and just generally having a good time and I remember being so jealous.
Through the years during difficult times in my life I longed for a sister to share some of my burdens with or just to have her around to talk and share common experiences with.
I do have two brother with whom I have close relationships with and can talk to them about some family issues but I have found that I am not always comfortable in doing so.
Maybe if I would have had a sister our relationship would not have been as I have dreamed it would be but just knowing she was there would be a comfort

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Living with Alzeimers

As some of you may have remembered my Mum was diagnosed with Alzheimers Disease. As her disease progresses it is becoming more difficult to communicate with her as she is unable to express herself as she once did and there has been a marked change in her behavior patterns. She has periods of extreme anger and then periods of calmness bordering on depression. Some days she refuses to eat or get up from bed and other days I find her in the dining room eager for lunch.
Around Christmas time she was transfered to the Alzheimers unit because she was becoming disruptive at night, keeping others awake. It's very difficult to see someone you love dearly deteriorate in both mind and spirit especially when they were such loving and kind people. She has made some hurtful and unkind remarks that she would never have expressed prior to this disease and I try to always keep in mind that this is really not my mum speaking.
The staff is supposedly trained to work with this population but I have issues with some of them. Mum also has Macular Degeneration and cannot see but most of the staff have strong foreign accents and since she is unable to lip read due to her blindness she cannot understand any direction they may give her. Since her mind doesn't connect with her body, she often is unable to follow commands and the accents do not help.
It is depressing to visit her, especially seeing all the other folks around her who are also in her condition only sometimes worse. Mum worked as nurse for many years and took care of folks like the ones she is with now and this has made her situation more difficult because she in her clearer moments understands what has happened.

I am quoting from a Minneapolis Star Tribune headline this morning. " Gagne case: Death ruled a homicide." This case is about a local and maybe national wrestler who was born and raised here. He is a great and kind man who always contributed to our community a true gentleman and humanitarian. He also suffers from Alzheimers disease and was placed in a memory loss facility. He shared a room with another patient, a 97 year old gentleman who was a musician and scientist and who fled from Nazi Germany in 1936. Apparently Gagne(perhaps thinking he was still wrestling) picked up Mr.Gutmann and body slammed him to the floor, broke his hip and suffered a head injury. He was released from the hospital but passed away shortly after. His death of course has been ruled a homicide (in pure terms) and the death is being investigated by the police department. Mr Gutmanns wife feels Gagne cannot be held responsible due to his Alzheimers Disease and feels it would be inhumane to prosecute him. Apparently he is still in good physical condition but his mind is basically gone.
This is a tragedy for everyone involved and demonstrates the horror of the disease and the need to find a cure.
As a side note, we knew Gagne my husband knew him and when I was young my father would take me to a few of his matches. He wrestled pure, long before the modern day wresters with all the gimmicks. A good man but a sad ending.