The two Millicents

Names are so different in each generation. Alot of the children born today are named for movie stars and other celebrities; the Jennifers and Pamelas and Brittneys. My clientelle of the older ladies is peppered with Winnifreds and Lillians and Joyces. The Marys and Mays and Dorothys, the Annas and Mildreds and Bettys. Ethels and Frances and Gladys's. Not often you meet a young woman named Ethel these days.

As explained in other posts, my memory, although excellent, is a daisy-chain of associations. Sometime in my murky past I must have made the decision that names just are not worth the trouble to keep in my easily accessible memory. I never ever forget a name BUT can I call it to my lips on demand? No, of course not!

This is the story of two ladies both named Millicent. I met the first Millicent the very first day I worked for my employer. Her middle initial was "M." and her last name also started with M. I never forgot HER name as to me she was always the MMM lady. It made me chuckle.

She was not my regular client however she used to get on my list now and again when someone else was on holidays and I would have her for two or three weeks. The Case manager would warn me every single time how Millicent could be very ornery and not to take it personally.

No need! I never once had any experience with her other than pleasant interaction.
The worst thing that ever happened there to me was seeing a rat run across the room.
Not entirely a peaceful thing but not an isolated occurance either. Other places have rats too.

Millicent #2 I met last year. Her last name also started with an "M". My habit with ladies over the age of 60 is to address them as Miss or Mrs.. Each time I left Millicent #2's home she would smile sweetly at me and remind me her last name was NOT Miller. That would be the OTHER Millicents last name. I knew her last name was not Miller. I would remind myself every time I went in there but my lips invariably betrayed me.

"My dear, darling, my name is NOT Miller."

"Oh, Millicent I am so sorry. I cannot seem to say Millicent without the Miller after it."

"That's alright dear, just call me Millicent. Nevermind about my surname."

"Thank you Millicent. That is very gracious of you."


More about this tomorrow...


Baby it's COLD outside!

a few days off, the return to work is always slow. For me, at least.
This morning it was back to being the bad guy for a gentleman who would rather not see me ever, back to being the good girl for a very nice lady who can't quite remember who I am anyway, back to comforting those with recent losses and sustaining those who might otherwise be lost. Drama and comedy. The stuff of a life.

Yesterday I was so cold all I could think of to do was go to bed.
Today with a little exhertion I managed to remember to have a bath.
Bath and bed, my favourite themes.

After work I stopped at the Thrift shoppes to check out what people donated after Christmas.
Alot of times you can be very lucky and get some great buys on new items that were just not what Santa was asked for. Or perhaps someone was on the naughty list. tsk tsk

Entirely too much chocolate is coursing through my veins, sitting in my drawers, and stashed about the place. I give it 2 weeks before it is completely gone. Oh wait, not completely gone; my hips and belly will hold some.

To have long term success as a coach or in any position of leadership, you have to be obsessed in some way.
Pat Riley


Stats and Errors

Although I love mathematics and excel at all things formulatic I still am the Queen of the Absent-minded and require lists and calendars and alarms to miss my appointments and show up the wrong day, week or month. One of the best things about my Employer is the list they print for me every Schedule week with the names, dates, times and addresses of my clients. For Christmas it just says "not available."

Mayhem and merriment!
Stats and errors aren't confined to baseball.
Don't look at me! I am merely the hands. It's the brain thats in charge.
God help us.


I'm not confused, I'm just well-mixed. - Robert Frost ...


Merry Christmas and to all a good night

A fine Christmas was had in points west here. We managed to get through it without fights, drunkenness, or chronic overeating. A first for my clan!

Just when you think it is safe to celebrate:
One of our beloved dogs went into a diabetic crisis. She is an older dog of 13 years.
We have maintained her care with alot of help from the vets of this area.
Recently she has been thinner and more incontinent than usual. It was jarring to watch a 7 pound dog empty a water dish and still be looking to drink more.

We had to put her to sleep on Boxing day. It was a sad day.
I held her and hugged her in a blanket then handed her to my family.
Her beloved dad held onto her as she winked out into eternity.
The Vet was so kind. He gentled her passing by tranquilising her before the final needle.
That way we got a few minutes to hold her and say good-bye.

I can't think of a nicer thing he could have done.
She was a marvelous dog and a staunch companion.
My dear little apricot poodle you are sitting in heaven now with Mom.
Lick her face for me.


• "Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden , where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace." ~ Milan Kundera


tra la la lally fa la la lally

Christmas time is here!
I know so from the number of flyers in my newspaper.
What a colossal waste of trees.

Little miss Rockcakes was on my mind as I drove past her home.
Service has been suspended indefinitly.
Perhaps something to do with her fierceness, I really do not know.

During her frequent reminiscences she would extoll the many virtues of her belated husband.
Or she would relate verbatim his extolling of her virtues.
He was a brave man at the very least.

We had a long laugh about her story of when he was going off to get the permit for their marriage. She told me that when he rang up to tell his relations he was off to get a license, they asked him if he was getting a dog or a radio.

Only in Britain :)

Little miss Rockcakes was on a tear last time I saw her. She said:
"If I had my eyesight NOONE would come in that door. Not even YOU!"

I was rather touched. Quite a compliment, backhanded though it was.
It was followed by"
"I don't give a TOSS I REFUSE TO SIGN! Tell them THAT at the Office!"


They think they have me but they will find out who has who."

I think she is in Check at the moment.
Hope it's not checkmate.

God Bless you Little miss Rockcakes.
Fire and all!

Man is a rational animal who always loses his temper when called upon to act according with the dictates of reason.

Oscar Wilde


What the mind can believe...

What the mind can believe the body can achieve.
I am quite sure that is a bastardization of a perfectly sensible quote, but you get the idea.

The lady who looked me over and deemed me capable of giving her a bath was feeling rather nervous about getting down into the tub again. I told her we should at least try.
"I won't let you fall. You know I am strong."

Yes. I think you are good."

She needed to get up and move around a little. The first time she did not try very hard at all to get up. I purposely *over-assisted* her so that she felt herself launched rather than assisted.

"Oh my," I said. "You are alot stronger today."

She walked into the bathroom. She got undressed and into the tub alone with me standing by. I just poured jugs of water over her back for 15 minutes until she felt cleansed and then I drained out the water and put a thick warm towel around her.

I can't get out."

"Of course you can't. You just had a hot bath. We have to wait a few minutes."

Towelled, creamed and conversed about her increasing strength. THEN I said"
"Ok let me get behind you."

Into the tub I go too and stand behind her very low bench.
I reach down and hold the bottom of the towel.

You're not going to get me up with that little towel I am sitting on are you?"

"No not at all. You are going to stand up yourself. I am just here in case you need to sit down again. You just stand up and sit on the ledge of the tub a minute. Come on. 1-2-3 up.
OK! now just sit there and get your breath."

She had pushed herself up under her own strength.

We got her all settled back for her nap and then she told me.

he last two days it has taken two people to lift me out of the tub."

I had a call about it.

Do you lift her out of the tub?" (we are a no-lift worksite)

What the mind believes....

She believes so adamantly in my abilities she just does it.
My comment to my Supervisor was just to tell her other workers to go real slow.
She can do it. But she has to believe that *they* believe she can.
Or else she will lose faith in herself and them.

Faith, enthusiasm, and passionate intensity in general are substitutes for the self-confidence born of experience and the possession of skill. Where there is the necessary skill to move mountains there is no need for the faith that moves mountains.
Eric Hoffer

Would you like some Elk with that?

Oh Bill. He has this philosophy about telling tales.
If the person involved is dead now he will tell. If not, it remains a mystery.

Bill was around when the population of some of the little towns that now are cities or big suburbs of cities was under 300. Lots of land, few people.
Bill knew everyone. The Fire Chief, The Chief of Police, the Game Warden, the guy who sold liquor. Sometimes the same guy might have two titles. Back in those simpler times complicated things were made easier by such fortuitous circumstance.

It was tough times. Noone had any money, everyone had experienced a stinker year and to make things worse, the unthinkable happened.
The Liquor Store was robbed! The Police went out to investigate. The Insurance Inspector was summoned. It was a bad time to be losing money. But these were hearty folk unafraid of hard work or hard times. Every change of season they held a dance for everyone around. It was coming up the next week when Bill had a conversation with someone.

"How about the Dance on Friday Bill? Got anyone with a Still?"

"Nah struck out. Guess it will be another dry one."

"What about dinner? Anyone going to give over a pig or a cow"

"Nope. Noone can afford to."

"okay pass the word. Dance is on, dinner is provided, drinks on the house."

Suddenly his wife burst in with:

"BILL--- don't tell that story. Someone could get in trouble!"
Bill just shrugged with a snort.

"nah dont matter no more. He's dead."

"Who is dead?" I asked.
"The Police fellar, he was a Game Warden too. He helped the guy at the Liquor store load a truck up with booze. Then they went and shot an elk. It was a great dance."

I love Bill.
They just don't make 'em like that anymore.


Thieves respect property; they merely wish the property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect it.
-- G. K. Chesterton (The Man Who Was Thursday, 1908)



Today I celebrate my birthday with a Psychiatric assessment.
Fun fun fun!
---and--- necessary.

I cannot tell behavioural changes within myself. Pharmaceuticals make it necessary to have someone watching my back. Brain meds are tricky.

So if I want to remain employable I must take meds.
If I want to continue to drive - ditto.

My favourite part is the Goddess side-effect.

I am *ME* + 30 pds.

A good effect is my newfound ability to sleep.
Because I now sleep, my thinking is clearer.

SO Happy Birthday to me~!
I passed my assessment. Sanity, tenuous sanity is mine.


"Think in the morning, act in the noon, read in the evening, and sleep at night."

William Blake : English poet, painter, engraver & mystic
William Blake (1757 - 1827)


"Oh and, she might have a chair in front of the door"

Good thing they warned me.
I still almost broke my neck.

You know your visit could go either way when there are things barracading doors and windows. This behaviour, although not UNcommon, seems to be routine with certain forms of dementia and memory loss. The client will know something is wrong but is not quite sure what that something is so they become somewhat paranoid. Some clients dont know who or why we are there while others are just fine with the whole thing.

I went in the kitchen where every cupboard was labelled.
Every drawer, every everything.
There had been a real effort to clarify the environment.
The home was sparser than it probably was a few years ago.
No extras anywhere.

I woke the client up. ( It is hard to want to do this on a cold winter morning. If I were a client I would not be wanting to get up in the cold dark winter mornings at 7:30)

I did not see the small stool she had put in her bedroom doorway.
Luckily I just stumbled.


Communication breakdown

What is it about certain days when things go from bad to worse?

I had a very nice client today whose wife seemed to think I was speaking Mongolian.
I did not understand her much either.
On top of it all the office sent a second person for 2 hours.
Two hours!!!
I am not sure what that was all about.

We arrived and our client's wife instructed us to shower him and get him ready for an outing.
Then she rolled the car up and wheeled him out and we were standing wondering what to do.

"We are not allowed to be alone in Client's homes." I said.

"My daughter's home." She replied.

"Do you want me to follow you?" I said.

After a 3 second pause she told me to get in.

Was she thinking we were going to stay and do house-cleaning?
Perhaps she had something in mind that I cannot quite figure out.
Mystery to me. I was booked there for 4 hours.

It all worked out fine (for me and the client) anyway.
Not so sure about the wife.

One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar.
--Helen Keller

Five in the Eye

This one goes in the *Sometimes nothing works* category.

A long time ago we had a gent with a severe brain injury on the client list.
He was paraplegic however he had tremendous upper body strength.
He had lost all sense of what was appropriate and was in a family setting with his older parents.
Then his Mother died and the bottom fell out.
Noone could handle him.
Call in the Community Nursing Team.

I had grave reservations about doing any sort of care on this man.
I wanted someone to watch my back, and there was noone.
So they sent someone else.
Then one day my number came up again and I refused to go.
"There IS noone else ."

"I am NOT going."

"Well, will you assist?"

"Yes I will assist. But at the first sign of trouble I am out."

This man lived way out in the outer boundaries of our territory.
A little farther and he would have been some other Health Region's task.
It was a 45 minute drive. I was on time, just barely, and there was noone there.
No other person for me to assist.

There was absolutely no way I was going in there alone so I sat in my car and waited.
30 minutes late someone showed up.
"You just got here too?"

"No I was on time. I have been waiting for you."

"Oh who are you?? I dont know you. I would have thought you would have gotten started in there at least."

"Absolutely not. I am here to assist YOU."

"WHAT? You probably know more about him than I do. You should have gone in and prepped him. I came here from an urgent call. blah blah blah (I stopped listening)

"I don't think so. I will assist you. Let's go in."
The other person was spitting bullets. Tough break for them. No way I was doing this.

We went in and the other person did the job with the worst possible grace. I assisted.
The client was getting more and more agitated.
Suddenly, (and without warning!) he swung up with his fist, and missed me by a hairs-breathe.

"I'm done."
I walked out to the outer room and told the family they had to go in and finish.
The other person came out and yelled for ten minutes about anything they could think of to yell about and then got in the car and drove off.

Since that day I had never seen anyone else take a swing, except for a few dementia souls who do not know any better. But: all that changed.

Someone had a horrid sleep the other night.
Someone threw all their covers off repeatedly and was as a result very cold.
Someone tried it on with the family before we got there.

"Not sure what kind of reception you are going to get. A very bad night."

A very bad morning also.
Every chance they got, they lashed out.
I had to FORCEFULLY hold the arm and hand so the other person did not get whacked.
When we had the person in the lift even then, the sling control was tried as a weapon.

It was very sad.

As we left there was an inch to walk by.
The person got us both on the way out.
I have a little bruise to match the other two where they got me during the *care*

Today was a different story, everything was wonderful.
You wouldn't even know yesterday was a possibility unless someone warned you.

Thankfully I had an awesome second person.
No attitude just work.
And high skills.
And good communication.
But it still did not help us dodge the lashing out.

Sometimes, nothing works.
"The mind is seldom quickened to very vigorous operations but by pain, or the dread of pain."
"The mind is seldom quickened to very vigorous operations but by pain, or the dread of pain."


"Something about you"

uh huh it was the blender Lady.

There is just something about you.."


You just don't listen. Take for example just now. I asked you to get my pajamas the flannel ones and you went right to the drawer and opened it when I clearly told you they were on the other bed."

You did?

And don't come any closer. There is just something about that colour red."

I am wearing a red knit set with a black and red vest.

You should never come to sick people wearing the colour red. It is just too much energy for us. I am a person who is strongly affected by colour."

What a surprise.

She delayed her eleborate procedures until the last possible moment when I no longer had time. Fooled her slightly this time. Snuck in early and made the &^$%$#@#@ pureed porridge and banana.

I had three or four other little helpful things told me.
One hour and a half she gets in the morning.
Even first thing up she makes me really wonder how the Medical System can justify her controlling measures. ----%^$$%#-----

Later I was with the very most senior of clients. Asked her about the red thing.

I was just about to compliment you on that. It is such a warm and beautiful colour."

I hugged her.


Maturity is not a matter of arteries, it's a matter of attitude.
--Randall D. Worley


The Sea and thee

Some old salty dog told me a tale about a battle between him and a greater force: The Sea

He was young and fit and very proud and was sitting up in Nootka Sound on deck on a warm day while the rest of the crew slept the afternoon away below. He was getting hot and the water was beckoning so he stripped off and dove in the water. It was cool and refreshing. He decided to swim around the boat and when he completed the circle he thought he might do it again.
Second time round he realised that they were not anchored just adrift and the lap around was a little more tiring. Time to get back on deck.

He looked for something to grab onto and realised he had not thought to lower a fender. The fenders were rope ladders he had made himself and they were all tucked neatly away on the deck. The sea was lapping cooly against him. He suddenly realised the effect of the cold water on his body; he was exhausted.

He had a few minutes of strength left but not more. He knew if he called out noone would hear him. He put every last ounce of determination into springing out of the water and grabbing onto the deck. With a sickening sinking feeling his arms betrayed him and he found himself back in the water. The boat was drifting farther away. The water was feeling colder.

He knew right then that if he did not make it the next time he would not be able to try again and he would most likely drown. He grabbed on again and missed again, but clung to the side of the boat. He willed himself up and crawled to the rail and got one arm over and then the other but could go no farther. For five or six minutes he was at the mercy of the Sea as the boat rolled with the tide. Finally he got one leg over and fell face down onto the deck.

It was such a hot day that the pitch between the planks was burning his skin but he could not move, not even one inch. He lay there for over an hour and then finally got enough strength to go below and get under a blanket.

The stripes on his front reminded him for quite a few weeks to choose his battles wisely.
He never again swam alone, but 60 years later he still has a deep respect for the Sea.


He that will learn to pray, let him go to the sea.
George Herbert, Jacula Prudentum, 1640

I'm 98 today -hurray- I'm 98 today!

A little poem sits on the tabletop of a very special Lady.
It was written by her 6 year old great-great grand daughter on the occaision of her 98th birthday.

o/~I'm 98 today --HURRAY!-- I'm 98 today
I'll laugh and sing and smile and dance
But perhaps I better not take the chance
I'm 98 today! ~\o

I met this Lady when she was 104.
104 sounds like a temperature to me never an age.
There were some centenarians in other places I had worked or visited but never had I met someone so advanced in age living in their own home. On their own. The woman was absolutely sparkling with the delight of knowing how amazing the whole thing was to me. Sparkling.

She is 107 now. One hundred and seven years old. Living in her own apartment. Alone.
Isn't that the very best thing you have read today?
I love it.


To know how to grow old is the master work of wisdom, one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living. --Henry Frederic Amiel

A wee mishap

Sometimes my inner demons use my physical body and act out little situations quite out of my subconscious.

I seem to have trouble with food.
I have always said that I do whatever my clients need.
I never said I do it happily.
I am cheerful about things and can do most any task with a cheery attitude. That does not mean I am happy doing it. --again: syntax is everything
One of the things about my workplace that really annoys me is that highly skilled people can be sent to prepare food while someone who struggles is out there doing Palliative Care.
That is not supposed to happen anymore. It does.
One morning soon I will be pureeing organic something for Mrs. I will eat it later while someone else is doing the Pals.
It's first up so I should not be too pissy about it.

Thanks to the miracles of modern pharmacology I am almost always in a good mood.
You would be too if you had been adrenally burned out for a decade and now enjoy normal adrenilin levels. So *refreshing* to sleep at night.
I can do almost anything in daylight hours. The earlier the better.
If I have a stinker client at 6am I could care less.
At 4pm I might have a headieache about it.
At 8pm I would stew a tad.
At midnite I would most likely rant.

The Scribe was the first and best example of food fights.
He had decided to hate my very presence since the day I had an urgent call from the Office that lasted 20 minutes. I had not yet realised it at this point. I would walk in around 5pm and be told labouriously how to boil water and slice carrots etc etc
"Dont touch the custard. Maggie (another worker) makes the perfect english custard. My wife and I have been waiting for months for her to come. She was here this morning. It's beautiful. We can't wait to have it for dessert. Just warm up the soup. It's in the fridge. You can't miss it."

I missed it. After ten mins of stirring the pot and wondering what was wrong with the "soup" I had the insight to check the fridge again. yup. The soup was still in it's bowl awaiting me.
It was the custard I was warming up. I had even added milk to it. You never saw the contents of a pot whipped back on a plate so fast! I put it in the freezer so it might firm back up. Then I put it way at the back of the fridge and got the real soup warmed up. Rocket science you know.
Hah. I got out while the gettin was good.

A student had accompanied me at that time learning the ropes. The Scribe in his pompous glory had thrown her out after saying that it was all *too much* while waving his finger at me. I had called him for permission earlier but apparantly he forgot. I guess the drama of throwing her out was too much fun. After the custard debacle I got into my car where she was waiting and told her the story. Of course we laughed. I also told her I would not be going back there.

Last week I had the blender lady at noontime.
"Just puree some peas" she said. Did I know how to do that?
translation: can you do it exactly the way I want following the steps I desire in the order I dictate or do I have to come and sit in my wheelchair beside you barking out directions while telling you I cant hear.
yeah yeah I know how to do that.

First off the blender seal broke.
An omen.
I was lulled into a false sense of security while cooking them and thickening them.
I put them in her thermos and walked it into where she lies in state, a plastic cabinet serving as her everything drawers. The top drawer is pulled out for the thermos to sit in.
I put it in the drawer she pulled out.
She checked to see if the lid was loose enough for her to open.

Over went the drawer and pea soup went everywhere. It was like a outtake from the Exorcist.
*grrr* Made me late for my very important meeting and what's worse:
I went back there for a morning visit this week and as I brought the blenderized food over she said to me:
"Be careful of the drawer. One of those idiot girls that doesn't know anything knocked it over. Pea soup everywhere. Can you imagine?"

Yes I can.


"Memory feeds imagination." ~ Amy Tan (Joy Luck Club)


A little eavesdropping....

Ole Bill told me a very funny story this morning,
He was harkening back to the days on the Farm when winters were long and joyless and the nearest neighbour was 4 miles away.

"How did you find out the news Bill? Did you have a radio?"

Nah not back then."

"Did you get a newspaper?"

Are you kidding? Noone would deliver out in the middle of the prairie!"

"Well what did you do for news?"

Oh hell we used the phone."

"Was it a crank phone?"

Oh yeah we were one long and 4 short that was our ring. Whenever you wanted to know anything at all you just picked up the phone and listened. There was only one line north of Calgary and we all shared it.

I remember Aunt Lil was telling me about this old bachelor who liked to give her a call now and then. One night he called up to tell her about his hunting adventure.

It was the damnedest thing Lil. I shot the bugger one shot dead!
I walked on over to have me a look at it and it was the damnedest thing.
'The old boy looked just like he was taking a rest on his side. I looked him over and there wasn't a mark on 'im. That old Cougar was stone cold dead. I reckon that shot went clean up his ugly old asshole and out through his mouth .'

Aunt Lil said the next few seconds all she could hear on the line was the clicking of people hanging up in droves."

I laughed.
Different century - same human condition.
Nosey Parkers hear more than they would like.

Nan Mulhanney: I couldn't help overhearing because I was intentionally eavesdropping.
I'll Do Anything (1994))

Past time to go

What a sad thing it is when it is time to go yet all the signs are ignored.
Many times it will be a vascular dementia or an Alzheimers type dementia causing judgement errors. This is where the Medical system has to intervene. It is never done lightly.
Today I had two clients both in this circumstance.

The first client lives in one of the most desirable areas in our lovely resort area.
The home is a multi million dollar property. She knows this part.
She does not quite remember the difference between her Mother and herself or her husband and her father.
She at least has no desire to cook but she has a strong desire to wander up and down the road.
She shows effects from a vascular dementia (The underlying cause of vascular dementia is an interruption of blood flow to the brain.)
She is not quite a danger to herself yet neither is she safe. Shades of grey.

The second client lives in low-income housing sponsered by one of the local benevolent societies. She and her husband were among the first tenants there. Over a year ago I had the sad task of reporting finding her cooking brown sugar and wondering why it wouldnt thicken. She thought it was porridge. Then she had a terrible cough that would not go away and a great deal of incontinence. She was placed in Intermediate Care and at the very last moment she declined to go. This happened four times.

In the last month something has gone terribly awry. One Nurse arrived to find the client rubbing her arm. After some coaxing she got her to remove her robe and found half her back and arm completely raw. Noone knows quite what happened but the dressing is huge.
Then she left her stove on two nights in a row - the third day she put her hand on the burner.
Another dressing.

Pills untaken, fire risk.... she has to go this time.
She no longer can decline.
I wish she would have gone last year at the beginning of the great slide down.

Deterioration of kindness and consideration is the most insidious blight on our mental environment - when our rights as consumers overshadow our responsibilities to each other as human beings. - Roxanne Bielskis


I believe that the horrifying deterioration in the ethical conduct of people today stems from the mechanization and dehumanization of our lives - the disastrous by-product of the scientific and technical mentality. Nostra culpa. Man grows cold faster than the planet he inhabits.
Albert Einstein


Dear Carol

Dear Carol -

I miss you.
Not a year goes by without my stopping and praying for you, to you, about you, on November 30th. I have almost forgiven myself for not coming when I said I would. I have almost forgotten your anger at me in those last minutes of your life.

Oh Carol , dear Carol - I see you free and dancing.

Inside the Prison for Olde Ladies

The building itself is non-descript. White stuccoed walls holding up balconies of potted plants, even in the Wintertime on the outside, soft pastelled walls along wide halls on the inside which lead to private suites mostly resident owned.

To live in the Prison you have to have a few dollars set aside. If you are a renter you are paying $1700 @ month ++ . Owners buy in around $220,000 not including strata fees. For that you have a meal each evening in the dining room served by (mostly) young cheery faces and housecleaning once a week. Your sheets are laundered by the staff and you are responsible for your *personal* items. There is a communal washer and dryer in each wing that residents can use 3x weekly according to a schedule. Someone is on staff at all times. If you have a problem in the middle of the night and press your buzzer that staff member will appear. What she or he will do is something else entirely. Most likely an ambulance will be called. You could save yourself a step by dialling 9-1-1 yourself.

These sort of places look good on paper. They appeal to some people just as living in a Care Home does to others. Good luck to you if you are a boat-rocker. You just will not be successful there even though technically you own your suite. This is Private for Profit at it's finest.
I cannot say I much care for the way it is run. Dictatorships with mock councils that hold no power whatsoever are still Dictatorships.

My client is settling in noisily. Next week I am going to bust her out of there for a few hours.
Just because we can. The bars aren't up. At least not yet.


Perhaps some day, the modern man will learn that mystery is not the prison of the mind of man, it is his home.

Walter Farrell


Little Miss Rockcakes

Pat is a mean, manipulative old bird. Pat is a fascinating woman.
Both of these statements are true. It just depends on how you approach her.
The woman I know is feisty, articulate and has a great need to be heard.
She has stories to tell.

This was today's story.

Bob was born one day later and one mile away from Pat. They were both conscripted into the Army during the war. Bob went off to secret missions here there and Africa, while Pat worked in an office with mostly civillians. Somehow, even in that place and time she was in charge and having "None of that thank you VERY much" although she was Private Pat working alongside Majors and Colonels.

Bob and Pat had been engaged for 4 years. The war was winding down and both were still loyal and true although miles, even continents apart. Then the weekly letters from Bob stopped coming. Pat took it stoically even deciding to drop around to see his parents. Her motive was to show people that she wasn't afraid nor ashamed. The Village Postmistress had also noted the lack of incoming letters and doubled as the radio network.

Pat took the Bus round to where her once-to-be inlaws where. As she went to step off the bus, Bob's father was stepping on.
"Oi Pat what lovely timing you have!"
"Our Bob is just home now."

Pat stood just a moment deciding what to do.
She went on down the road to Bob's home and knocked loudly.
Bob himself came to the door and swooped her up in his arms.

"Oh Pat I am THAT glad to see you! What a wonderful surprise!"
Stiffening in his hold, she looked him in the eye.
"Is it?"
'Ah my love. It's the mail I expect. We were on (D-day mission) and none of us lads were allowed to send even a postcard off. It was awful not to be able to let you know."

Private Pat melted. A resumed courtship went from all stop to fullspeed ahead.
When Bob saw her to the door that evening, a Wednesday as she recalls, he said:
"Don't be surprised love if there is a wedding invitation in the post by Friday."
Friday? She knew wartime mail and snails were fairly matched for speed.

Friday came and nothing arrived by post.
A lunchtime caller rang.
"Come on Pat. We're getting married."
"Oh? When is this Bob?"

He came and collected her and off again by bus they went to see the Vicar.
They were both in Uniform which prompted a narrowing of eyes.
"You aren't making a rush decision are you?" the Vicar asked suspiciously.
"I have been trying to get this girl to marry me for 4 years! We practically grew up together!"
The Vicar looked over his glassed better to see Pat.

"I can't marry you!"
"Why not?"
"You are Little Miss Rockcakes! Can it have been so long?"

Pat had played the part of the cook's maid in a Church Pageant. The little maid who pulled the rockcakes from the oven. She thought she had been about 3 or 4 years old at the time.

will finish this story later.... the bit about the dog or radio license. et al


--on a related note:

Who knew that talking could be so tiring.
Another day in volunteer land.
I do not bake for the organizations, nor do I wash cars, hock merchandise or any other fundraising activity. I talk. Pick you passion in life and go for it.

7:20 this morning I was on task yapping for the cause. Thankfully it was not too long a day; I was all done by 3:30. We finished well. Now a wee bite of dinner and off to fundraiser #2 where I am not the yapper just another bum in the seat with a chequebook. All in all a most successful day.
Free coffee too!

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
Mahatma Gandi


strange, but true

The best stories are always true. They may not be believable.
Not that it matters.
Having a bizarre biography myself, it takes alot to stun me into disbelief.
People try though.

The nicest people tell me the most incredible things.
A little later I might share.
For now, that chocolate is looking pretty good.



Step back from the fire!

Burnout alert in carelane #1.
Tread lightly!

It is such a wonderful idea to keep people in their own homes should they wish to end their lives there.
The day to day dynamics are complicated.
24 hours in a day. Families HAVE to cope during some of those hours without help.
Providing 120 hours of service a month in a home is considered the maximum time allottment.
That covers 4 hours a day. A palliative client may also get overnnight service.

Palliative or not palliative, that is the question.
Funding is based on income. Anyone can get anything they want if they can pay for it.
Otherwise there is a per diem. For most it is worthwhile.
But not all.

When family members burn out from too many emotions, they are likely to blame someone for their state of mind. I hear it alot .
"The Office is driving me crazy. They tell me someone is coming at 8 and they don't show up until 8:30."

"Do you know how many times I had to get up last night to check on Dad/Mom/whoever ? "

"How much time did they give you today? They promised me x amount. They have been gyping me."

When my mother was so ill, we did recognise the burnout and hired privately. It cost alot of money but for us it was worth it. After Mom was gone we were still somewhat sane.
People do have the right to die at home if they so wish.
But sometimes, their loved ones make it impossible to meet their expectations.

Todays' burnout victim got a nod and some comforting noises from me. The Care Coordinator and Palliative Care Coordinator are the ones she needs to call.
That's why I work the short shift. Do my thing and come on home. Still fresh.
The ranting is ok. I can listen. For the people in the ten hour window shifts it can be hard to take.
So on behalf of them, I sit down and listen completely for 5 to 10 minutes once a week.
It seems to relieve enough pressure that the person can make it a little longer on empty.

Been there. Done that. Took the training.

"I do not ask how the wounded person feels. I simply become that wounded person."

-Empathy Quotes
Winston Churchill


Somewhat Askew

Such a beautiful way to start the day.
I woke up after a perfect 7 hours of delightfully deep sleep.
One glance at the clock and I knew I had best get myself up and going.

God Bless the CBC was saying there was the inevitability of rain, yet the morning sun filtered through grey clouds was trying, grasping, even sneaking into my bedroom.

Tim Horton and I went to the beach with a bagel and some honey creweller Timbits, 6 to be precise.
Tra la la la.
Factoids on the radio.
Waves steel blue rushing horizontally.
Only 8:05. And a huge break between client #1 and 2.
*brilliant idea*
Scheduling? Can I move my clients up a little? I have an hour and 15 min break today."

"Sure. Wait a moment. We can find something for you to do,"
---sound of papers and background voices---
"uh ? Where are you now?"

The beach!"

"Did you go to Susan B.?"
Susan B. The dreaded one, the ritualistic method of food preparation one. My challenge to love.

Nope I have Mr. Trout at 8:15 and then nothing til 10:45."
At least that is what I thought when lazily I cruised through the drive through and off to the Ocean front to pop sugar in my mouth between sips of the worlds most desirable morning coffee. ( with 3 cream).

"Hey, we have you down as being as Susan's at 7:45. For an hour and 15 mins."

Mortified, the coffee chilling in my mouth I frantically looked for my printout. Praise God.
I was not insane.

No. My printout doesnt say that."

I read what I had.
Luckily the scheduler on the other end of the telephone was the one who had printed it out.

"Just go on to Susan's and do your best."

I asked her to call Mr. Trout who was expecting me at 8:15
What a way to start the day.
Susan B. was asleep and thought I had been diligently working away quietly.
Mr. Trout forgave me and things got better.

The coolest part of the whole day was at the end.

My beautiful Norma, I just love her.
She is just winding down from the hell move of all time.
Norma did not want to move.
Norma was forced to move.
Norma has kept a sitting room and two small bedrooms of her best and most beloved but she does not feel at home after 1 month.

She calls it her prison for old ladies. And this is "Assisted living." Imagine if she was in facility.
She would fold up and die.

We had to go through her Master Bedroom to the bathroom with the shower. Her furniture is just as I remember my Grandmothers to be. Very tasteful and probably the same as it was the day she first got it.

Norma this bedroom suite is just beautiful. Look at the bed, it is lovely."
Norma laughed at me.

"It sure is. This is my original wedding set. From my first marriage. This is a great bed! And I was a virgin too! Woo boy what a bed!"

We both sat on the original wedding bed we were laughing so hard.
What a day!

The great majority of people in England and America are modest, decent and pure-minded and the amount of virgins in the world today is stupendous. -- Barbara Cartland 1901-, British Novelist

God bless you for that Ms. Cartland.


Cocoa & Luke

She is usually in her housecoat when I come.
Her hair generally unwashed but meticulously parted on the side with a beret in it.
Sometimes one or two curlers dangle hopefully on the sides, pink to match the dressing gown she had on. She wore a worried look and begged me not to let the dogs out.

"The dogs?"

"Yes, I don't know where they get to. Cocoa was here, at least I think she was here but I let her out. I am ever so worried. I called my daughter and she said to ring the doorbell and they could come out."

I got her settled at the kitchen table and saw Luke out the window sitting on the back porch.
" Luke is outside."

"Ooo THATS where he is. I thought he got out. There is a small hole in the fence just at the corner. I was so worried."

I went outside and checked. No hole.

I tried distraction and we had a nice chat as she ate her breakfast.
She always lets us in. She is very receptive to the visits. She eats if we make her food and sit with her. She takes her meds with minimal coaxing. She is a very lovely woman.

"The little black one. I can't find him anywhere."

There were several notes in the Nurses notes again about this.

"I think your dog likes to hide under the bed."

This is true.

I looked up and she was wearing a pair of very familiar glasses.
My glasses. I had taken them off and laid them alongside my book, pen and keys.

"Uhm, you are wearing my glasses."

"Am I?" She looked skeptical. Then curious. She touched the frames gingerly.
"No these are mine." She looked at my face and touched them again.
"Aren't they?"

I smiled and then gave her a hug.
"I have done that too. But those are mine."

She took them off and forgot about it.

"Don't let Cocoa out. That dog ... I dont know what to do with her."

"Bye.... have a good day. (distract distract..)

I love going to see her. I know that soon she will not be able to live on her own.
Even after diagnosis, people with dementia can live a happy and worthwhile life, provided the appropriate information and support is in place. But there comes a time when it may no longer be possible that they live alone. It generally is for safety.
Even if we administer her medications, check on her twice or three times a day, cook for her and keep her hygenic, we can't stop the process that eventually will make her turn the stove on and forget and perhaps touch a burner. Or leave a tap running. Or go out for a walk and keep on going. Or eat something she thinks is food but may be toxic.
She is already piling books at the door at night.
She is sorting and re-sorting clothes.
She touches her face and picks at her arms.
She is forgetting the odd word. She frets about the dark.
And: There IS no Cocoa.

Cocoa was her dog 25 years ago.
God bless her happy heart.
‘Normal’ people seldom choose to socialize with individuals with dementia, unless they are joined by a previous relationship of friendship or family. Caregiving relationships are most often described in terms of ‘caregiver burden’. However, recent studies have revealed that persons with dementia often ask for increased involvement in decision-making, conversations, and activities. People with dementia still need to be loved and to feel that they contribute. We must remember that we are all connected by virtue of being human; we are all at some state in the process of cognitive decline.

Timothy D. Epp


Wild wild west

As a documentary airs on PBS about some fellow in 1960 who filmed his wilderness journeys, I am basking in the warmth of my blankie and contemplating bed. This man felled the trees, build the cabin, fetched rocks, make a fireplace that works just great, an outhouse, a smoker and more.
Supplies (meagre) were dropped in by air in the Autumn.

Now I see the inside of his cabin. He is cooking peppery ram stew. The ram was taken down with one shot. Although this is 42 years ago, it seems like centuries. Can anyone in this year 2004 truly get totally away from the world?

The closest I get to communing with Nature these days is my morning sunrise coffee drank at the beachfront. I sit and watch the waters. This morning there was a Blue Heron standing in the waters a few metres in front of my car. It made me sad. There should have been a pair. They mate for life. Poor lonely Heron.

A couple of seals were playing further out in the Bay. A sprinkle of water and a leap followed by loud splashing. They seem to be having such fun. One of my clients told me she saw a whale one year in the Bay. I am not putting any bets on that one.

'We need the tonic of wildness
We can never have enough of nature'
Henry David Thoreau

Firey Magnificence

We have meetings to discuss various clients, policies and procedures. We also enjoy getting together in one room. All of my team are on the road all day every day with the exception of the Team Leader who has an office. This last meeting we discusses a few of our "problem" clients.
I got my new schedule and --surprise-- one of those we discussed is now mine on Sundays.

Entering her home today, I felt a tiny bit of trepidation but mostly I was curious.
I remember this Lady from a few years ago. I did not find her that bad.
The next year I went once and I remember her because she told me the same story using the same words as she had the year before. I have an excellent memory for patterns and faces.
Last year I went again and yes, the very same story the very same way.

Today she was a little more bitter. Same stories but there were some new words in there.
Most of them were British slang terms.
She is very angry.

I looked at her and got real close and asked her:
"Where did this magnificence of spirit come from? Where you born with it? Did you inherit it from one or both of your parents?"

She absolutely shone like a flawless diamond under a laser.
She sat up completely straight and told me with great pride:
"When I was a little girl my father said to me: "Dont you ever loose your firey spirit my girl. It will take you a long long way in life."

84 , legally blind, severe bladder dysfunction and still a flame licker.
Right on!

"Teach us that wealth is not elegance, that profusion is not magnificence, that splendor is not beauty."

Benjamin Disraeli (British prime minister and novelist. 1804-1881)


Will Rogers told me to put my money in Real Estate

'"You've got limited space here. It is a damned fine place to live. Put your money in Real Estate. The world is only getting more fullup with folk. And alot of them are all coming here."

'Will Rogers told me that."

me: "You knew Will Rogers?"

"Yer darned right! He was a good friend of Vic Flemings."

me: "You knew Victor Fleming?"

"Yeup. He was a decent fellow. The only one of that whole Hollywood crew I could stand.
Told me to look him up with I was in California so I did. And he treated me like a Prince.
And what was I? Just the Caretaker. Yes, Vic was a great guy.'

"Poor Will, he had a private plane and all. He liked to fly alot. Took me up a few times. His plane went down in Alaska somewhere. A darned shame."

Where but in Community Nursing could you hear a story like that?
I could tell you more but .... discretion is the better part of valour.

"Thou has done a deed whereat valour will weep."

shivering amongst the timbers

The timbre of my voice lost in a slow scream?
The timber all around us here, saturated by the Autumn rains after one of the driest summers ever?

No its the slow scream alas.

Land of opportunity!
A playground along the Pacific!
A dirty rotten scoundrel is in charge of my wonderful Land.
A rat who rammed through legislation allowing privitization and wholesale firings for no cause of employees who have dedicated lives of service to jobs they love.

Yet another Private Institution here has fired all it's Union staff and has given the contract to an out-of-Country agent who will hire at a much lower rate with far less benefits neglecting the continuity of care by plugging in new employees top to bottom.

Shame on you!
Shame on you all!
Your employees live and work here. Your Faustian middlemen do not.
Do you really believe profit is the only measure of a successful industry?

I think it is just another deathknell for a job that very few love.
Alot of the people fired are in their 50s and 60s.
They were told but a few months ago there was no chance of this happening so they all relaxed.
Merry Christmas.

Shame on the Voters of this Province who believe the head liar.
None of this ever affects people who have alot of bang in the bank accounts.
They are protected by the Tax Cuts that were pushed through that benefit, you guessed it, those at the top of the dollar chain. But to be seen to *balance the budget* to *get this Province back on track* to * take a tough stand on tough issues* this Government rammed Draconian legislation down our throats that is meant to bust Unions once and for all.
Who benefits?

The Workers who live in this Province?
No of course not!
We sell off our services to huge conglomorates from elsewhere, and we get a temporary cash injection that makes that bottom line look better. Too bad about the longterm. Too bad about the people whose lives are smashed to pieces.

"We offered resume writing workshops and Stress management for our Employees who were let go."
That was big of you.

Looking to the immediate gratification of quick dollar, this Government is rewarding companies who are sawing the legs off the working man here. Or, rather, the working woman.
Government is focusing their cuts on Teachers and Nurses and Healthcare Workers;
industries mostly comprised of women.

When the Longshoremen and Fishermen and Loggers are all gone, when the union busting has made it impossible for the average Joe to live here, who will be the servants to all these rich darlings who move here? Are they planning to import them?

A Province built on Natural Resources, spoiled by greed, and polarised in Politics.
What a Happy picture it is,
Oh look! What is that in my Mailbox?
A little propraganda, a little feelgood flyer from my Government congratulating itself on a job well done. I am sure those fired appreciate all you do.

I smell sulphur.

A man from hell is not afraid of hot ashes.
Dorothy Gilman


twas a dark and stormy day

End of my workweek again and as always I am sleepsies.
It was an incredible day! I was all over my area.
Alllll over!

Rain, hail, wind, waves whoa!
Coming along the low road in gale force winds, I came around the Bay to see the waves *CRASH*-ing into the rocks and making spray with such tremendous power they were higher than the tops of the 2story homes of the oh-so-very priviledged. The will be coming home to wet balconies and soggy gardens very priviledged.

Driving along the Highway later I couldn't see for the leaves that were pelting into my windshield. A harvest hued mosaic organically blinded me. And then, it rained.
And then it rained HARDER! Furious drops screamed as they struck the car now slowing, now hydro-planing.

I was going less than 1/2 the posted speed limit on the road known for dragraces. Noone was passing me as they were too busy trying not to slide off one of the bridges sideways. Definitly two-handed work! By the time I got to my turnoff I was exhausted. Thankfully, the rain ceased before my returning back to the city.

The wonderful thing about today is that it is OVER!

Another tale from the Wordsmith:

After decades of working for a MultiNational company, and a sorrowful divorce, the Wordsmith found himself unemployed and without means in his early fifties. No golden handshake, no pension, nothing but a "your services are no longer required."

Never one to dwell in the negative, he packed a satchel, his paints and his jaunty beret and went a-travelling to the Caribbean. He made his way by selling his paintings and sketches to whoever wished them. After a few seasons of Carnivals, he washed up in the Eastern part of our fair Land.

Frank says that he didn't settle for any company or job but just worked piecemeal designing.
He found true love and happiness with the wonderful woman he is still in love with today and she encouraged him to apply for a very good position advertised with the Federal Government as an Engineer. He gathered together his portfolio and went off to the appointed place at the agreed upon time.

"I walked into this very adequate room which was dominated by a large desk. Sitting amidst photographs of important people and projects was the man who was to decide my fate.

'We spoke of my past achievments and I showed him examples of my work. His face betrayed nothing. He hrrrm-ed and hawwed and then finally deigned to ask:

"Mr. _, this is all very interesting but what degrees do you have?"

Frank stood slightly and leaned over the gentlemans desk.
He took his index finger and drew a circle on the polished oak.
"Those are my degrees. All 360 of them"

--- he got the job.


A Difficult Intake

I met this woman 4 years ago on the night shift.
The intake Nurses cried to me about what a difficult admission she had been. She was discharged from the Hospital to die at home.
She was skeletal.
She was very friendly and most determined to get better.
And so, she did.
Sort of.

At first it was easy to accomodate her demands for these fussy things.
Then it became evident she did want any HealthCare so much as she wanted grande Theatre.
A production every mealtime. She directed, we played the prop directors.

She is so bad now that frequently when I come in she is in the process of throwing away this elaborately prepared food that she demands (and gets) in the garburator. Most of the Nurses and healthcare workers just roll their eyes and do it. If they don't she ends up calling and making them a "do not send."

I like Theatre.
I do not like wasting Public funds though.
Get the woman a Psychiatric Evaluation.
Send a Mental health Worker.
But sending people each and every day to puree boil blend stir re-puree, reboil etc...
what a collosal waste of time.

I do not understand why we are enabling this strange process.

we are all the same, we are all different.

The ideas of mental health and mental illness have replaced the idea of God and the Devil, and the institutionally legitimized explanations, justifications, and interventions of psychiatry have replaced those of organized religion. "During the Middle Ages," James Turner observes, "no clear lines separate the religious from the secular...The church and the world blended." Today, no clear line separates the psychiatric from the nonpsychiatric: the explanations, justifications, and interventions of psychiatry permeate the world and blend with it.
- Thomas Szasz


----> Remember me

Sometimes I wonder if the brain is like a huge warehouse, with acres of room;
albeit a finite space. Other times I think of our brains like a stomach that swells
and depletes with it's contents. Instead of a visible waste product I think of dreams
as the release mechanism. Of course it is also possible we are just another machine.

I remember so many things. As I age some different things come to the fore, current
obsessions occupy prime space, and various and sundry other things slip away.
When I am in my older years I wonder what I will hold dear to my heart when people speak
with me. More than a few of my very elderly clients have a fond place in their hearts for
ice cream. The first story amused me.

Little Lee is 94 years old and all of 80 pounds. She is very frail these days, and has to
be cooked for as she will often forget to eat or worse, cook something improperly.
It is even more important to sit and speak with her so that she does in fact eat the food.
I asked her if she wanted some cream for her coffee.

"Cream! Oh I remember my grandfather!"
She seemed so delighted in the remembering that I waited quietly for the connection.

"He used to pull up in his sleigh. I could hear the bells from a mile away."

A sleigh. With bells. Until that moment only the province of a carol to me.

"We lived fourteen miles from any place. We never saw much of anyone except each other.
Winters were lonely and Summers were just alot of work. I never thought life could be any different back then. We just lived. And then, once or so a season we had to get provisions.
That meant the sleigh."

"Grandfather would take me with him to "Town." "
I could almost see the quotation marks around the word.

"Grandfather would go into the store and get sacks of flour and sugar and coffee. Sometimes he would get a barrel of peanut butter."
Obviously no allergies in those times. A barrel!

"Then one day he said to me: "Lee you have been a very good little lady. I have a special surprise for you."

"Grandfather got me an ice-cream all for my very own! It was so delicious!
Imagine that! One for my very own!"



Then there is Betty.
Betty was a farm girl too, and somewhat more familiar with "Town" living as they did on the outskirts. She has a burning memory of the prairie heat in the summer and the man who sold ices.

"We never had any money. Noone did really but I saw these pretty girls and dressed up Ladies lining up for ices. My mouth would just water."

Finally one summer Betty had enough of that!
"I went over to the vendor and asked him if he would trade 2 eggs for an ice.
And he did! That was the best ice-cream I ever tasted!"

where did she get the eggs?
"Oh I snuck them into my sleeves during my morning chores."

Tonight I am having ice-cream.
And remembering.

"The ice-cream man would also come around every Sunday and sometimes on Saturday also. He rang a bell to let the people know that he was coming. Mama or Papa would give us each a nickel to get an ice cream cone. The ice cream was mostly vanilla, but sometimes strawberry soda was added so we asked for white or pink ice cream. The ice cream man would carefully measure one scoop of ice cream and put in delicious crisp, sweet, flaky cone. How good that first “lick” tasted! If Mama would buy ice cream for the whole family, she would take a big bowl and ask for as many scoops as was needed. Sometimes she would get 6 scoops for 25 cents, so she usually would buy 50 cents worth."

Clotilde Pitre Mire

March 1974


tumtum tummies

In the junk folder of the most excellent ideas department:

Why have breakfast when you can drive through and get a bagel and a coffee?
Why have a decent lunch when you finish work at 13:30 and can come home and make a delicious meal?

Because it never happens that's why.
My tumtum is owly. I needs my foods.
Another fainting spree this week. I learned my lesson though, I am NOT mentioning it to anyone.
I will just eat my oatmeal tomorrow morning.
Dear Alice,

I would like to know the importance of breakfast. Why do we have to have breakfast?

Breakfast Boycotter

Dear Breakfast Boycotter,

Your brain (and central nervous system) run on glucose -- that's the fuel you need to think, walk, talk, and carry on any and all activities. Let's say that the last time you eat something at night is at 10 or 11 PM (not optimal, just an example). The following day, you don't eat breakfast but wait until about noon or so to eat -- you've gone thirteen or fourteen hours with nothing in your system. Your poor brain is surely deprived -- and your body has to work extra hard to break down any stored carbohydrate or turn fat or protein into a usable form for your brain to function. That's a lot to ask for when you're sitting in a classroom, trying to concentrate on reading, or doing any other work. Eating breakfast has been proven (many times) to improve concentration, problem solving ability, mental performance, memory, and mood. You will certainly be at a disadvantage if your classmates have eaten breakfast and you've gone without. On average, they will think faster and clearer, and will have better recall than you. School or work can be tough enough without this extra added pressure.

Breakfast skippers also have a harder time fitting important nutrients into their diet. Many foods eaten at breakfast contain significant amounts of vitamins C and D, calcium, iron, and fiber.

Some people believe that skipping breakfast may help them lose weight. Not so! Skipping meals often leads to overeating later in the day. Becoming overhungry often leads to a lack of control and distorted satiety signals (meaning it's hard to determine when you're full). This can result in taking in more calories than if one had an appropriate breakfast. As a matter of fact, it's easier to control one's weight by eating smaller meals and snacks more frequently.

What if there's just no time in the morning to eat breakfast? There are plenty of items you can bring along with you to school or work. Carry a resealable bag of easy-to-eat whole grain cereal, or bring a yogurt or small box of skim milk, juice, or fruit. If you just can't stomach food in the morning, try to have a little something -- such as some juice -- and bring along a mid-morning snack. Other good portable items include: whole grain crackers, a hard boiled egg, cottage cheese, low-fat granola bars, or even a peanut butter sandwich. Single serving hot cereals, such as oatmeal, are handy -- all you have to do is add hot water, available at most cafeterias or delis.

Whatever your choice, eat something. If you think you're doing fine with no breakfast, just try changing your tune for a week -- Alice is sure you'll notice a difference. You will undoubtedly perform better with some fuel in your system, and, hopefully, become a breakfast believer.



So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought. --- Lewis Carroll

Thinking today about all the Veterans from wars long ago and recent.
Thank you fine Sirs, and Women.

Because of your sacrifices I live free.


Beware the Jabberwock

>Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
--- Lewis Carroll

I am feeling a tad Jabberwocky myself today.
Yet again, I encounter someone in the system who has a great deal of allotted time and yet, for some unfathomable reason it appears her hair has not been washed for months.
Oh it got worse.

I am not her shower person I am her medication remind and lunch insist person.
After talking her into washing her hair at the sink I decided to talk her into a foot massage also.
This is my covert way of seeing if her toenails are attended to.
They aren't.

It upsets mel to see a woman whose toes are stuck together with dead skin.
To have to soak someone's feet to even be able to separate their toes.
It really upsets me to see a client with nails that curl around to jab into her sole.
To have to hold a warm cloth to a person's ear for a few minutes to get the crusty yellow skin that has blocked the entire area from the back of her ear to the nape of her neck to release.
And if it upsets me, although I hide it from my client, what must it do to her friends and family who come to visit; who have brought us in there to ensure she is clean and bathed and fed?
What can I possibly say to myself to make it all right?

As I said: I am feeling a tad Jabberwocky today.

and speaking of JabberwockY:
Today's quote is from a cached website SUPPOSEDLY on nursing ethics.
This is either a random computer generated site to attract hits OR it is the worst translation ever. Reminiscent of all your base belong to us in its total weirdness.
It is just too bizarre not to share:

Go procacious away code ethics nursing up work ethics article on ethics they. Internet maybe then into flew and code ethics nursing softly.

Curiously, dialed internet ethics thought afterwards he education ethics in fatty significant local. Without liked ethics research whilst copy code ethics personal into media ethics old code of medical ethics code ethics teacher coming into material police ethics of. Ethics government office code ethics nasw in 3 short minutes money plus code ethics nursing phone financial one inc ethics leadership procacious to
.... put THAT in your pipe and smoke


Gire and gimble

Weekend is over and again to work we go.
What a week!

The Wordsmith is back in hospital with another respiratory infection.
It is compounded by a toe infection brought on by pressure to his frail skin.
It has been a long haul for him. A very long haul.
This is for all the people who dont bother to think about the weight of bedcovers.
Go back to school and retrain. You are in the wrong job.

<------------------- nasty --------------------------->

The weather here continues to get wetter and colder.
I find myself actually wearing a coat! Now that's rare.
Lots to say going to say it later on.



Heavy Rain

The winds are blowing a gale out there and the rain slashes the sky.
I do not feel like hieing myself out the door but go I must.

The daylight savings time is over, thankfully, and now when I get up in the morning there is at least a little sunshine. My litebook and I are fine without it though. ;)


I worked this morning with a smoker. Another worker that is.
She really smelled bad. It was only 8:15 am.
Imagine her at 5pm.
She has this little way of giving me advice all the time laced with veiled threats.
Of course she is also one of those workers who writes not so nice things in the client notes about other workers.

When I rule the world some things will be banned from my workplace.
#1 is that no Nurse, Nurse's Aide or Worker will be allowed to smoke during work hours.
They stink!
#2 is that no Nurse, Aide or Worker will be allowed to have long nails.
Those big fake nails have alot of potential to transport pathogens.
#3 is uniforms. I think everyone needs to look professional on the job in HealthCare.
It is just nicer for everyone. Especially the client.
#4 is that every employee must get retrained on the proper use of gloves.
I see things that make me sick.
But I do not rule the world. I am only the boss of me.
And like all human beings, I make alot of mistakes.

Not those ones though.

Men are more apt to be mistaken in their generalizations than in their particular observations.
- Niccolo Machiavelli


Frankly speaking my dear

It is a delight to go into the homes of people and provide a service they require.
I am so fortunate to be able to do this.
Today was a wonderful day.
Ooops, there is that word again. "Wonderful"

this should be called "Superlative abuse "
I do find wonderful the correct word.

admirable, amazing, astonishing, astounding, awe-inspiring, awesome, brilliant, cool, divine, dynamite, enjoyable, excellent, extraordinary, fabulous, fantastic, fine, groovy, incredible, magnificent, marvelous, miraculous, outstanding, peachy, phenomenal, pleasant, pleasing, prime, remarkable, sensational, something else, staggering, startling, strange, stupendous, super, superb, surprising, swell, terrific, too much, tremendous, unheard-of, wondrous

nope... tis definitly wonderful that I mean.

This is today's story from my wordsmith:
He was a little bit of a thing and tagged along everywhere with his 2 elder brothers.
His father was in Her Majesty's army in India and retired to private civillian life only to find there was little call for Edwardian gents with cavalry skills.
The family went from a life of plenty to living in a single room of his Aunt's attic.
Noone slept in a bed and they counted themselves fortunate to have blankets.

The boys found a great respite in the Boy Scouts.
The panjamdrum of the neighbourhood was a Mrs. Prescott, still hoop-skirted and ramrod straight. She would allow the Scouts the freedom of her Estate and come out of the parlour onto the spacious veranda with apples or sweets to reward the winners of games and contests.
Frank was a very small boy, obviously too young to be in this group, however his mind was bright and sparkling and his enthusiasm boundless. He had won more than a few of the word games and distinguished himself enough for Mrs. Prescott to pay close personal attention to him. As the grande dame approached the little fellow, she noticed he had a black eye.

Drawing herself up to her imperious maximum height she looked around at the group of scouts
and then asked Frank:
"My boy, who gave you that black eye?"
He replied without hesitation"
"Noone gave it to me Mrs. Prescott, I had to fight for it."

Years later he found himself on a day off in the old neighbourhood. He lounged against the Estate walls and then, overcome with curiousity scaled the wall and looked in on the grounds.
A maid was just exiting the henhouse at the moment and looked over to see what weed this was growing down the wall.
"Do you know if Mrs. Prescott still lives here?" Frank asked.
"Yes she certainly does and get off of there and come and see her."
"Do you think she will want to see me?" Frank asked.
"Oh yes."

Frank followed the maid into the Manorhouse and there in the parlour sat the redoubtable Mrs. Prescott. She took one look at him and pointed her finger.

"I remember you!"

What a delight it is to be in Frank's company.
Frank recently turned 96 years old. A Master in the art of living.
So many memories he shares with me. And indeed us all.
He always tells me to write about him if I wish and to use his real name.
I can't do that without endangering the privacy of everyone I write about.
HOWEVER, his name really is Frank.
The only real name used in my ponderings.


Many web sites are established by anonymous individuals who hide behind nicknames or nom-de-plumes with no postal address. Please be advised that information obtained via the Internet can be single sourced, horrendously biased and notoriously inaccurate.


Can you hear them?

Can you hear them
They talk about us
Telling lies
Well that's no surprise

Can you see them
See right through them
They have no shield
No secrets to reveal

It doesn't matter what they say
In the jealous games people play
Our lips are sealed

Careless talk
Through paper walls
We can't stop them
Only laugh at them

Spreading rumors
So far from true
Dragged up from the underworld
Just like some precious pearl

It doesn't matter what they say
In the jealous games people play
Our lips are sealed
Pay no mind to what they say
It doesn't matter anyway
Our lips are sealed

There's a weapon
We must use
In our defense

When you look at them
Look right through them
That's when they'll disappear
That's when you'll be feared

Hush, my darling
Don't you cry
Quiet, angel
Forget their lies ---"Go-gos"


Online sources attribute that song to Belinda Carlisle of "The Go-Gos"
It seems to me it was written by someone else. I cant put my brain in gear.
Oh wait, I think I am thinking about "Girls Talk"
For some reason I want to make that song by Nick Lowe or Dave Edmunds.
You know.... "Cruel to be Kind" etc etc

All those lyrics blending together in my brain. It is a mess in there all righty.
Still: it does seem to me that an old rocker wrote that. hmm

My return to work was of course heralded by alot of comment.
"Where have you been?"

Here are some of the things people said to me.

  • "I heard you went on a cruise."
  • "I heard you quit and went to work for the Theatre."
  • "How was Scotland?"
  • "You only work in ___ now I heard."
  • "I heard you had back surgery."
  • "How are your new teeth?( I loved that one, considering the tooth jewellery I have)

    One of my very best friends said to me yesterday:
    "There certainly IS a difference between the happy you and that other one."
    uhm... what other one? There is only me in here. Right? Right!

  • Cheery Autumn

    It's the Litebook (tm) !
    People are remarking on my happy mood everywhere.
    Perhaps they underestimate 5 weeks of cabin fever and the threat of brain surgery.

    Another fine Autumn day to wake up to.
    My little man and I went for a long walk on the Nature trails; long by my standards.
    Oh, let's face it: anything in the woods is long by my standards.
    City-girl! Still remember the first time I had to use a portipotty.
    It was so traumatic.
    ("You want me to what?")
    One of the best things about a dog is the enforced exercise that comes with ownership. Responsible ownership.

    We got a new front door installed yesterday.
    Not only is there less heat-loss there is alot more light in the hall from the tempered glass etched window. It is amazing what a small change can do for esthetics in a place this size.
    The installer was laughing at my choice of playlists and was asking certain younger family members why something more contemporary wasn't playing.

    "Hey!" I intervened. "I am Queen of the downstairs noise... you want contemporary its upstairs with headphones thank you."

    I think he was just amused to hear Echo and the Bunnymen unabashedly wailing in a place like this. Hahaha.
    He did mention more than once that our cookie cutter condo had more character than anyone elses. I do not think he was talking about the walls. Hee hee.

    In starlit nights I saw you
    So cruelly you kissed me
    Your lips a magic world
    Your sky all hung with jewels
    The killing moon
    Will come too soon

    ---- Echo and the Bunnymen "the Killing Moon"


    head and shoulders knees and toes

    Frost settled on my car last night.
    Tonight the moon is a huge pumpkin in eclipse, beautiful and eerie.
    Suitably October-esque.

    Carelane was crowded today. I feel old in this cold. My knee is grumbling.
    This is what happens to people who spend too much time on their knees for reasons other than prayer. Perhaps even the devout suffer arthritic knees.

    It is strange to think how normal the bodies of the elderly are to me.
    Not in a dehumanizing way, just familiar. I see alot of skin in my work.
    Some people are just very genetically gifted and age little externally.
    Today I met such a gentleman.
    His body looked 70. His mind however has every minute of his 93 years well-etched and has run out of space. Now he is in the forgetting to clear a little room.
    We spoke about Henrika who was in the other room. How wonderful she is.

    As I left she told me Henrika was her late mother.

    I motored on to my least favourite call.
    We are not supposed to play that game.


    You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!
    Rudyard Kipling


    Sunshine girl

    Happiness spills from my fingertips like sparks.
    I love my job.

    I have a wonderful gentleman on my list for 8 hours per week.
    That would be awful if we did not click.
    But we do!
    I met his wife and him this morning and the relief in her eyes was visible.
    I suppose she did not know what to expect.
    Let's see how she feels about me in a week's time.
    For now I am their *sunshine girl*


    o/~ back in the saddle again! ~\o

    I'm back in the saddle again
    Out where a friend is a friend
    Where the longhorn cattle feed
    On the lowly gypsum weed
    Back in the saddle again

    Ridin' the range once more
    Totin' my old .44
    Where you sleep out every night
    And the only law is right
    Back in the saddle again

    Rockin' to and fro
    Back in the saddle again
    I go my way

    ---- Gene Autrey


    Whoopi-ty-aye-oh indeed! I am back back back as a matter of fact I'm back!

    Whether I am just elated over being back to work or the LED medical device I am using for
    SAD syndrome really works, life, she is good. www.litebook.com hmm where are all the little formatting buttons where I can link... hmm... ( ok got em in edit mode...)

    This little "litebook" (tm) belonged to my private client~
    ie: something on the side I did for cash.
    She was a woman of 80 in the throes of a vascular dementia.
    Her son had graciously allowed her to stay in her home as was her wish, til the money ran out.
    Private care is expensive. I worked for the woman he hired.
    She of course paid me less than she was making, and it was all cool with me.
    I enjoyed being with this lady a great deal.
    She was very happy and serene.
    She now resides in the extended care wing of a "rest home" and has settled in very nicely.
    The litebook is one of the things her son tried to keep her as cognitive as possible.
    She certainly is a great deal more alert than most people suffering from the same disease.
    I bought this from him as it apparantly eases carbohydrate cravings.

    Not that I am concerned or anything BUT: (teehee)
    I do seem to be taking on some of the physical manifestations of a hobbit.
    --and we aint talkin hairy toes here---

    ah to be free and living here!
    Bliss sublime.

    I am going to post this and try to format it.
    Hang on now..


    A fine idea indeed!

    A friend of mine who happens to live in Macedonia pointed me to a very interesting website.
    Usually I smile and nod when people recommend websites to me but this friend is very much the Tolkien fan along the same sightlines as my own little obsession with the works of his pen.
    The site is: http://www.ancanar.com/
    and I think you should go browse around it.

    Morgostas you are a very discerning dwarf indeed! (make sure you have adblock on for that one and pop-up removers too... still it is very interesting to see exactly what my dwarf friend does in his off-middle-earth hours)


    I probably already pointed to this site but here it is again...
    I find this fellows reading very interesting.

    I do not have any inspirational quotes today.
    Still on hold irl.... it is somewhat disconcerting.