Hope; A Standard Feature of LIfe? August 21, 2012Posted by ijwoods in Blog+.
Tags: american cancer society, caregiver, good attitiude, hope
This past week I had lunch with a couple from my neighborhood. I got to know them about a year ago while I was out for a walk and immediately liked their company. They met K only once, on a day I took her out in a wheel chair to get some fresh air and take in the wonderful landscape of our community.
Over lunch the husband, H, told me about a fight he waged, a number of years ago, with a large cancerous tumor in his throat. His tales of having to suffer through chemotherapy and radiation were frightening and heartbreaking. The upside was that it all worked. He actually beat back the cancer and is still living, and I have to say looking quite healthy. At 70 plus years he looks younger than me. (more…)
Something to Learn From Michael Phelps August 5, 2012Posted by ijwoods in Blog+.
Tags: caregiver, caregiving, preparations, young caregivers
I’ve been tuning in to the Olympics this past week and enjoying it quite a bit. One person who will be in Olympic history books for some time is Michael Phelps, now the considered to be the top Olympian ever. When you think of all the competition there is from all over the world it’s really a super human achievement.
I like this one story of a race he swam in the 2008 Olympics when he ran into some serious trouble. During that competition his goggles filled with water so that he couldn’t see anything. Most of us would think “So what? He’s swimming. Not seeing doesn’t seem that bad.” Think about running a race, on a straight track, back and forth and being blindfolded without warning while your competition can see perfectly well. Not only would it be nearly impossible to stay in your lane but you’d be seriously disoriented and freaked out to boot. That may help to understand the immense challenge. Well, not only did Phelps finish out the race blind, but he took gold!
How did he manage to do this? Preparation. His coach prepared him for such an eventuality knowing that he had to be ready for any surprise. He had Michael do things like swim in the dark or race mentally, imagining his goggles were filled with water. They even calculated the number of strokes he was supposed to take in a lap in case this ever happened. So during that race, once he lost all vision, he mentally played the imaginary “blind” race he had swum many times before, counted his strokes and followed his training to touch the wall perfectly and end the race. Yes, he won the gold and even set a new world record. (more…)
Roamin’ Forums July 29, 2012Posted by ijwoods in Blog+.
Tags: caregiver, forums, support
In my last post I made a point about the internet’s value in getting support for caregiving. I find it extraordinary that we can so easily connect with people all over the world who are going through, or have already gone through, similar experiences to us. Additionally, it also gives us access to professionals offering their thoughts and advice freely. For a non-professional caregiver support like this is invaluable, especially now when we are increasingly taking care of loved ones at home.
I had suggested looking at some “forums” as a good resource for support and information, but I realized afterwards that some readers may be unfamiliar with forums, so I thought a little primer may be helpful.
A forum is different from a blog in that it is where people come to discuss one or more topics. It’s a conversation rather than, like a blog, one person’s expression. The top of a conversation starts with a question or comment from anyone and then people respond in what’s called a “thread”. As an example let’s take a look at one of the forums I suggested: the Family Caregiver Forum. Here’s a screen grab of the home page: (more…)
Don’t Wait to Ask For Help July 20, 2012Posted by ijwoods in Blog+.
Tags: caregiver, caregiver help, caregiving, preparations
I’m a bit delinquent with this post. Last weekend I made the really bad decision to heat up a can of Indian food which had some white fuzz on top. I was so hungry I convinced myself that scraping off the fuzz would be fine. It wasn’t. Within a few hours I was slammed with a severe case of food poisoning and suffered through it till early the next morning. Now after several days I am almost fully recovered. The only help I managed to ask for during this ordeal was a cryptic email to a friend saying “check on me Tuesday and make sure I’m still alive”. Of course the person I chose only checks email when the comet Kohoutek rounds the sun, so thankfully I’m still here. (more…)
Hardly What We Expected July 2, 2012Posted by ijwoods in Blog+.
Tags: caregiver, caregiving, preparations
There’s a picture of my parents I keep in my office that I really love; I think of it as a novel in a snapshot. I would guess that mom is around 19 and my father 21. Mom looks beautiful, radiant and very happy. Her quiet internal strength is visible to me even at that young age. She looks very mature compared to my father.
My father looks to me like a young Frank Sinatra. I can’t read what’s going through his mind but if I had to guess he is already working on how he is going to take good care of his future family. His sleeves are rolled up and he’s ready to conquer the world. He’s a fearless character and in the photo looks a bit like the cat that ate the canary. I can recognize his intense energy and entrepreneurial spirit. What’s not appearant is the devotion he has to my mother.
They are a handsome young couple. Life is in front of them and their faces reflect the optimism they feel for the future. My father with his street smarts, inquisitiveness and drive is capable of doing a lot. In this photo I see them enjoying the moment and very confindent about what’s to come. In reality neither of them had any idea what was ahead. (more…)
Musings of an Unintended Caregiver June 26, 2012Posted by ijwoods in Blog+.
We Can’t Reverse Time June 21, 2012Posted by ijwoods in Blog+.
Tags: caregiver, caregiving, preparations, providing comfort
The story I’ve heard told of Buddha was that as a prince he had been sheltered from seeing the suffering of the world. Then one day, having left the palace for the first time for a ride around town, he discovered old age, sickness and death. Seeing these things overwhelmed him so much with grief and compassion it ignited his journey to find the truth.
A number of years ago K introduced me to a wonderful couple, a husband and wife, whose company I always enjoyed. I’ll call the husband Dave and the wife Elyce. At one point Elyce was diagnosed with cancer and began to go through numerous treatments. We would run into both of them from time to time at various events and check in on how things were going. Elyce and K communicated privately on what seemed a pretty regular basis and most especially during the last year of K’s life. About month ago Elyce also passed away. It was painful for me to hear because I felt very connected to her battle and thought she was overcoming it. But I also couldn’t stop thinking of Dave who spent many years supporting and caring for her.
From where I sat it looked like a long and tough fight although whenever you saw them you’d hardly know it. Their attitude and sense of comfort never gave it away. Now with Elyce gone I couldn’t help wonder if Dave was experiencing the same things as I did. I really wanted to communicate with him, no matter how awkward it might be. (more…)