I should know by now but sometimes I forget on finding my way back to me


I should know by now to not expect life to go as I planned or scheduled but sometimes I just have to question my sanity… or maybe I am question the sanity or lack thereof regarding others.

Life definitely keeps me on my toes.

I think I am going to turn right and end up having to go left. A whole over the river and through the woods adventure complete with mini personal stops tossed in. Add in lack of substance and it makes for caffeine infused and filterless Lady Maos! Yee-haw friends welcome to the week!

Of course the bonus is the boy is home! Seems he had an adventurous weekend as well! It’s so entertaining to hear him tell me what he does when he isn’t with me. He’s working on details and it’s hilariously amusing to see what he will say before reverting to potty talk… literally!

Lately it seems so many people are ill with some form of sickness or another. Loved ones and friends, myself included, by age, illnesses – some worse than others but everyone’s a fighter.

We are also getting more clients, which is great, but I’m required to keep everything within this “hourly” thing when I prefer “salary” because then any extras I do it doesn’t matter when I do an average of at least 4 extra hours a week but don’t necessarily care for the monetary gain.

It’s more than that. It’s the fulfillment of helping others and making lives gel. It’s helping others to remember their own humanity. It is beyond humbling and personal when you are helping someone with their activities of daily living… cleaning, bathing, grooming, bathroom, meal preparation, feeding – those are only a few of the things we do. We dance lightly through tangled webs of family dynamics to make sure our clients are cared for, no matter what is going on around them. Some are for a few hours a week, others are 5 days a week, and then there are those we are with 24/7.  Some people see us more than their own family. I love what I do. It is a part of who I am.

I also have my personal relationships and of course, the boy. The shining beacon in my world who keeps me much more grounded and helps somewhat in that filter thing I have issues with.

It is like I have to go through and around, down and under to get back to me. Re-set and go! Not starting over, just back on the path to where I am supposed to be.

I should know by now but sometimes I forget finding my way back to me.

I may slow down however, I never give up. I always keep hope alive!

Have a fabulous day!

Try not to get lost finding your way back to you my fabulously graceful friends!

Remember to breathe and never give up… someone’s always willing to help their fellow humans


never give up what you love to do

Trying to remember to stop and just breathe can be a challenge. Believing all things happen for a reason can be hard at times. So can Keep Hope Alive, but I will never give up. Life is too short. You never know that it could be the last time you will talk to someone, hear their voice or hug their neck. Life happens.

We are told” this is the way it is” and “God has a plan” and “it’s life”. All true but it still doesn’t make it any easier.

Not being able to handle things the way you want them to be or having a curve ball thrown your way just when you thought the game was done can cause chaos in the soul. How you react and handle yourself speaks volumes of the person you are deep inside.

be perfectly human

You may see yourself as being able to hand you anything, but believe me, there are things in this world that can take you to your knees. It can knock the “I can handle anything” right out of your vocabulary because newsflash… WE ARE ALL HUMAN. WE HAVE FLAWS. WE ARE NOT INVINCIBLE. No matter how hard we strive and wish to be.

What I can handle someone else may be unable to and what someone else can handle I may can only deal with some of it or I have a complete come apart on my hands. It isn’t a case of someone being better than someone else, it means we are all human and each and every experience is different for each and every one of us.

I’ve have quite a few different jobs in my life and my hands down favorite is taking care of others.

charlie b being ther for someone

Whether it’s helping out around the house, driving and running errands, being with someone who has memory issues or taking care of someone who is terminal and handling the ugly ins and outs of that, I love to take care of others.

I am not the only one of my kind. However, there are levels to what I can and can’t do. Just like many others in my field, there are some that can help give someone a shower and some that can’t. I happen to be one that can. It becomes very personal when you are helping someone do something very basic that most of us take for granted. Most people never even think about it as it isn’t exactly everyday conversation for them. I completely understand and get that.

That is why I do what I do. I’m not in it for the money, but people think that because I have “office manager” in my title and I do marketing I’m making the “big bucks”. So far from the reality but I love finding the fit between clients and caregiver. It can be challenging but I love helping people make the human connection. I believe in where I work and promote it, as in marketing. I also fill in on cases, hard ones, when people call out and I need to be making sure everyone is being cared for but I know this person NEEDS our help and I can do it so I do.

This weekend I have been on call. My phone didn’t ring at all after 4:30 PM Friday afternoon. It started ringing Saturday morning at 9:12 and hasn’t stopped. I will be making sure folks are taken care of today. It’s what I do. Sometimes it gets overwhelming. I feel on the edge of panic. What if someone is left alone that I’m responsible for? I really don’t have control of other people and I can only count on maybe 1/3 of those people to be truly “available” when they say they will be. Heck just getting them to answer their phones can be challenging some days!

caring is being htere whenu want to be somewhere lese

My boss and I joked that when I’m on call things always happened. Multiple calls (right after we put an ad in the papers for help – who calls on a Saturday at 7 in the freaking morning or at 9 at night for a job?!), people calling out, clients needing care, caregivers having to leave due to sickness/family emergency in mid-shift, clients going to hospital – yeah it’s going to happen on my watch!   

So I am going forth this day with a prayer for hope, peace and calm. I hope I handle this day with a boatload of fabulousness and maybe even a bit of grace for this graceless chick.

hope keeps you going

As always, my motto is KEEP HOPE ALIVE!!!

*Also, I have 42 WordPress followers, 42 is the answer to everything in the universe per The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy which means Life is Fabulous Things are Happen’ Train!*

 42

I woke up alive and realized I needed to live the moments


I rolled out of bed groaning and stumbled to the bathroom to start the getting ready process. Shortly after, I cheerily woke up the boy from his angelic looking sleep and watched him stumble his way to the bathroom and then get himself dressed.

I was putting on the last of my war paint when the text came through that one of our good caregivers was out sick and I needed to fill the shift. I doubled my speed for getting out of the house, changed into scrubs and we left for the day.

My clients were way across town, out in the country. I somewhat know their routine and knew they would be getting hungry and breakfast is part of their routine.

I arrived only a few minutes later than their normal caregiver, “T”, but they remembered me and were happy to have someone there to “assist” them for the day. Mr. K met me at the door with a smile and Miss P was still in the bed. One glance around told me that they had been pretty much alone all weekend, as “T” and I worked together to help make them a schedule and keep things consistent for them. We have a system for them to follow and have shared it with their children. Their family is involved in their care but they have lives and families to raise too, so we are there to help mom and dad.

It isn’t that mom and dad, or P & K, are all that up in years, they are both 70 with her just having a birthday. Their bodies are healthy for the most part and they love to talk, laugh and enjoy life. They no longer go as much as they use to because they are both in different stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia. They are like thousands of others in the Boomer generation that are still “young at heart” and in need of care due to a terminal diagnosis.

Miss P has middle stage Alzheimer’s and needs help bathing, getting dressed and can no longer cook or clean. She talks some, more in the afternoons, but she is so sweet and a joy to be around. She has no problem with me bathing her and “helping” her get pretty for her husband. As long as she knows where he is, and I gently remind her if she gets anxious, she is fine.

Mr. K has early stage dementia. He “runs” the household and “helps” Miss P. She is his world and he talks of “his beautiful pearl” and “young blushing bride” as though it is now. You can see the love they share. He knows her memory is “bad” and that she needs help. He knows he “forgets” things but he has reminders and that is why I am there to help them.

We do our best to communicate anything that goes on to each other so that their weekdays flow consistently, or at least a semblance of it.

To watch her struggle to remember how to remove her clothes and thank me over and over again for being so “nice” to “help” her get bathed and dressed for the day, it breaks my heart. I think back to earlier that morning, was it really just that morning? When I got the text I would be covering for T and my day with them.

To see people so vulnerable in so many ways because by nature they are kind and trusting, but now we add in the memory loss factor and I worry for them. My problems and irritations seem to shrink in light of what they face on a daily basis. Not that I don’t have my own issues and hardships, but that I can get so irritated over something so small at times, or that I got so caught up in something I missed something beautiful. It makes me rethink what I see as important.

I think of how my mind works and how I ponder which thing was more important and then I will jump to another topic. I also will multitask and continue on with the flow of my day. I just know what needs to be done and I do it. I may miss things, but I know it’s on the list for tomorrow even if there is no actual written list. Then I stop. Their lives are no longer like that. They can’t remember things as clearly or even at all in some instances.

That afternoon I drove straight from their home through craptastic traffic to get the boy. I knew we had things to do, I still had to work and there were chores to finish, but I scooped him up and hugged and kissed him immediately. I savored the little boy sweat smell and the way he holds me so tight. I want those memories to always be there. I don’t ever want to lose that part of me. If I forget everything else, I want to remember he chose me to be his mommy.

I woke up alive but after going through the day I realized how alive I needed to be and I am thankful that I was reminded just when I needed it.

Keep Hope Alive and have a fabulous day!

Brand new Friday


gm beautiful its friday

Today is a brand new day!

Hopefully it will go smoothly and pleasant for us all. I know it can’t be perfect, but close to perfect would be nice!

This week I started a new chapter in my life doing one of the things I love so much. Helping in the planning and taking care of others. I have been doing this at the basic level but now I get to step it up a notch. It gets me out of the field, which I love, but physically is draining on my body. I will get to still work with clients, families and caregivers making sure the clients are cared for by top notch caregivers. Thus far after a week I love it and my boss is a fabulous human.

The week after a holiday weekend seems to always be a bit of a challenge but we made it!

Plus, the fact we are diving right on into the Christmas season and I feel I am behind on my responsibilities doesn’t make things easier.

That’s when I have to remember to step back and take a breath.

I am blessed with wonderful people who care about me and help me get through this crazy life. I know I am far from perfect, I have dropped more than I want to admit but I am working to pick it all up.

I don’t think I have been this happy to see Friday for a while!

I realized it has been a bit over a year since I worked a 40-hour work week outside of the home. I think I am still in shock getting up early each day and not only making it to work, but being happy and working all day. I actually enjoy my job. Yes, it is new and I know I haven’t even touched on everything I have to learn and do. However, I am all up in my element of doing what I love. Being able to help place caregivers with families isn’t always easy. I love helping to find that perfect fit for families. I love my job!

I hope you all have a fabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend!

Keep Hope Alive!!!

friday end or beginning

 

Have a happy maotic, madness Monday!


enjoy monday madness

Greeting from the land of the maotic Monday!

I hope you all had a fantastically, fabulous weekend!

Mine was filled with love, fun and maos of course! I really need to remember my limitations but seem to be pushing myself further and more than I should. I just can’t help it. I am paying for it but every moment was worth it. Except the20- minutes it took me to go 2 miles due to traffic Friday evening. That I can do without thank you very much!

Looking forward I realized it’s all downhill from here… Thanksgiving is next week, then we jump right into the Christmas season.

turkey santa

On the plus side I have heard more and more people talking about NOT going out on Thanksgiving night to Christmas shop for those bargain deals and hearing of more and more retailers having online sales and of not being opened Thanksgiving evening. Something I am opposed to for numerous reasons. It’s enough that medical and law enforcement have to work but I don’t see why people can’t wait a few more hours so that people can actually have a whole day off from the retail!

no shopping on thanksgiving

I also got fabulous news on the career front and I will be going back to work full-time like people do starting the Monday after Thanksgiving! It’s been a bit of a roller coaster of a ride of life regarding employment for me.

Last year, during this month, I was laid off from my “corporate respectable decent paying” full time job. I didn’t let it phase me too much. In part, I was somewhat relieved as I honestly couldn’t see myself in that industry for the rest of my life. I had a bit in savings, however, as we all know, life is not free. So I signed up for unemployment. That’s only 6 months for those who think it lasts a year(s) that isn’t the case here in the great state of Alabama. Plus, is it a tiny fraction of what you made so I began looking for work.

I was blessed to find care giving jobs. I also went on interviews, sent out literally hundreds of resumes and corresponded with several potential employers. The only decent/good one is the one I have now working in the care giving industry part-time which sadly doesn’t pay a lot. I have generated funds selling a long respected line of beauty products, yes fabulously graceless loves her skincare products, as well as a handful of writing jobs here and there but have constantly been looking.

dr nurses caregivers

When I did the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, a friend sent an email about another potential caregiver position and went in to apply for the job. The owner and I hit it off immediately and chatted away. I felt pretty good I would get clients from them and hopefully even some office work down the road.

That was 3 weeks ago. Last week I got a call from him wanting to “pick my brain”. After talking for 45 minutes, neither of us realizing it had been that long because we were talking about work but it’s with that passion you find with people who believe like you do that people deserve and should receive the best care possible, how challenging Alzheimer’s disease is, how employees should perform and how each case varied but the compassion should be there no matter what… so my hope grew a bit bigger after that conversation but I didn’t want to jinx or say anything because well, I have that Murphy dude who likes to mess with me so I wasn’t saying anything! Then I got the call Thursday evening and it was a go and my start date! Talk about the happy dance!

My biggest concerns, of course, were telling the employers and clients I have now I will no longer be able to be with them. It was easier telling my employer than I thought and she congratulated me as she understood why I was branching out. Telling Miss Candy and my knitting friends I won’t be able to go on Mondays anymore will be a bit harder. So say a little prayer for me on that part today! I tend to get close to my clients. There is a lot of trust between caregiver and patient. It isn’t always easy. I even think about the clients who were only in my care a time or two and hope they are well.

hands

With my new adventure I will be able to work with the families as well as the caregivers. Being on both sides of the coin I am excited to start my new adventure. I am also a bit nervous because I know what’s expected of me. I know I can do it. I always have HOPE!

I Hope you all have a fabulous Monday!

Keep Hope Alive!!!

 

New week, new job, new hope – Keep Hope Alive Sunday!


intertwined hands

I am so excited to announce I got another job! Yea! It’s through another company that does caregiving/companion services and I will get the opportunity to move up in the company! In case anyone’s keeping score that will make 2 part-time jobs caregiving and will hopefully free me up to write more and earn more doing all of the things I love! That includes being the absolutely fabulously graceless crazy mama to the boy too!

It’s a small step but it is a step in the right direction! Being able to get back on the road to hopefully fully support us again is huge. I am so deeply grateful to my mama and friends who help me out but oh mah lawd I cannot tell you how this independent maotic human prefers to help others than to have to ask for help.

I still get to work with my Miss Candy and our knitting, shopping, pool adventures! That’s one of the best parts for me is to get to keep one of the things I love doing. Plus, you spend so much time with someone and they begin to feel like family. You trust each other and come to rely on how things work when you’re working together.

cg heart wheel

As I was going through the new employee orientation the things we cannot do are highlighted. Be on our cell phones, invite family and friends along, bring your pet, borrow money – to me something I would never do anyway but I understand, especially when you are sitting with someone who sleeps often or has Alzheimer’s and says, “Oh I don’t mind, invite/bring do whatever you want you’re family, dear.”

First of all, you go in knowing your client’s conditions. What they need, what the family wants, and how to work on their schedule. If you are working with a client with Alzheimer’s who is still cognitive and can talk about many things and sounds “normal” to you but then says something completely off like, “We should go to my house in the mountains you would love it.” This person is being completely genuine and in that moment, knows you both would have a good time. You probably would. But the point of your caring for them is so they don’t book tickets, make arrangements for these kinds of things. Most likely the family is paying for their care, yes out of their funds, but it is your job to help them day to day and that includes the trust of making sure things are in their best interest. Not yours.

I have had patients and clients ask me to go everywhere with them, offer to pay for things, and tell me to bring my pets, my boy and my friends and family over. All very well meaning, however I am doing a job. My job is just more personal than some. After all, I admit I have an attachment with these people. I also realize I am caring for them and responsible for them. I am not bringing my life, family and business to work.

They can persist in their asking and this usually involves me “redirecting” them. Redirecting is a term used in healthcare for doing what it says, redirecting that person into another conversation gently. Sometimes you have to say, “I would love to do that but I just don’t know when I could go as I have so much going on. That is so nice of you to ask me.” If they keep persisting, I will let the family know and keep going with the, “I wish I could go and I thank you but right now isn’t a good time.” One gentleman I worked with asked me for 4 months straight, always forgetting he had asked me before, to go home with him to see the family. The bus stop was just down the road and it wasn’t a long trip! With him I always said, “We will see” knowing he wouldn’t remember asking me earlier.

cg w patient

You also are not allowed to share your life with the client per se. It is fine to say you have a child, partner, pets, etc. but you do not share your drama, your needs or your complaints. As far as they are concerned your life is peachy keen. Yes, this may seem drastic and untrue, but really, it is not their business to know that your ex whatever is a jerk and not doing what they need to do, or that you are short on your bills or anything of the like. Again you are there to do a job. It still amazes me that people in this industry continuously cross that line. Talking with the office manager we both agreed if you are experienced you know where the line is. Sometimes it can be a fine line on a rough day but you do not cross it. Ever. It could cost you that job just by saying something too personal.

People think that it is so easy to just take care of someone. That it is a “cush” job and there is no skill or thought about it. It isn’t high paying, which is sad because these are human beings and people have no idea the challenges you can face taking care of folks. Maybe for some people it’s easy and they feel there is no skill involved and don’t care about the money, they will find “perks” from their clients. Those are the folks I would not want to take care of me and mine!

caregiving complez

This line of work isn’t for everyone. I know that. It is hard to form relationships with people who can’t always remember you, challenge you and even yell at you sometimes. In other instances it is hard caring for someone you know is not going to be on this earth much longer. Because you can’t help but care and you have formed a bond with them, their passing is hard on you. If they are blessed, you have also formed bonds with some of their family and once that “case is closed” you are working another “case” and “moving on.” But it isn’t always so simple. You go into this knowing the outcome for clients and patients. You tell yourself you will, of course, give them your best, but you will not let yourself get attached in any way to that person. Then you do. You can’t help it because it isn’t in your nature. At least it is that way for me. I love being able to care for people. Even those who are dying. I have often seen and experienced some of the most awe inspiring lessons from those “cases”. I cried with the families and I have cried with the staff when the patient has no family. I know that I did the best I could for them while they were in my care. Even for a brief period of time.

family care

So to say that I am happy about this new job is an understatement. I am once again doing what I love. I just pray it helps pay the bills and I can keep these two caregiving jobs, write and hopefully get paid all while caring for the boy.

After all, my motto Keep Hope Alive seems to be working!

Have a fabulous day!