Behind the Scenes

Friends

Most of us, if not all, have friends. There are many kinds of friends and we need all kinds. Some we party with, with others we may share our deepest secrets. There are those who call and check on us if they have not heard from us in a while. Some help us fix things and if we are lucky there is at least one who provides us with a delicious meal now and then. All are needed. All are valuable and precious. We strive to be the kind of friend others need.

Recently I’ve had an opportunity to appreciate “behind the scenes” friends. They are precious people in our lives who may even be related to us and they give quietly with no thought of repayment. 

A few hours prior to an event recently I saw men and women working hard arranging tables, chairs, and decorations. I saw linen tablecloths being steamed and candles being lit. People were delivering food and drinks. It was hot. Each person was red-faced and sweaty, but it was an act of love. These are friends who should never be overlooked, working without fanfare, giving of themselves. 

Fred Rogers, a.k.a. Mr. Rogers said when he was scared his mother always told him to look for the helpers. That was good advice. Many times we must look behind the scenes to find them. 

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“I get by with a little help from my friends.” John Lennon

Theme photo in title by Pixabay

 

Pat

Blessed with Pats

One day my daughter said to me, “Mom you have so many friends named Pat!” And I realized she was right. I truly do have a lot of friends both present and past named Pat and each has been a blessing. 

My first Pat was a cousin born six weeks before me and we grew up more like sisters. When we were little I called her Patsy Lou (for Patricia Lucille), but later as a preteen, she became Pat. We both became nurses and we argued, agreed and mostly were just always there for each other until she died of leukemia.

Currently, there are Pats in my life who are more varied than their names might suggest. One is a brilliant writer, one a talented artist, another is a good neighbor and cat sitter, one lives several states away and still stays in touch. There are and have been others too numerous to count as they sometime say in lab results.

A Pat from the Past

 During part of the 1960s and 1970s, we lived in a small neighborhood in the suburbs. It was a great place to raise our two daughters. It was also an innocent time. Kids ran and played and rode bikes and stayed out after dark playing hide and seek. They knew they had parental eyes on them, but still, it was a time of freedom. Each child trusted their friends’ parents as they trusted their own. 

There was a neighbor named Pat who was not a great deal older than me, but she taught me so much, mostly by example. She was an RN and although not consciously I followed her into the nursing profession. It wasn’t that she talked about her job, but I knew she was good at it and I wanted to be like her.

One Sunday while my family was at church I stayed home to make chili for a neighbor who was injured in a wreck. The chili was really hot. It burned up our kitchen. The remarkable thing though was that Pat showed up after the firetruck had departed and began to help. Long after the insurance was settled and new appliances were installed Pat came back with her cleaning tools to help me rid the house of stains and odors. That is a real neighbor. 

When one of our daughters had an accident on Halloween night requiring a trip to the hospital, Pat took our other daughter trick-or-treating with her children. 

When I went into labor with our third pregnancy and subsequently miscarried, it was Pat who comforted me, instructed my husband and again took care of our daughters while we went to the hospital. 

There are few people like this woman and I wish you had known her too. I do not know how I became so fortunate to have Pat G. and so many other Pats in my life. 

“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” Helen Keller

NOTE: There are many friends in my life today and I would not want to face life without any of them, no matter their names. You surely know who you are and I love you. 

Theme photo in title by Pixabay

THE Binder

Several years ago I worked for a Fortune 500 company that had a binder for everything. I must have caught “binderitis” during my eighteen years there. I have binders all over the house. About seventy are filled with family photos and mementos and they are stored everywhere, some visible, many hidden. I feel sorry for my family when I die because they are going to have to figure out what to do with all these scrapbooks. 

There are other binders for various purposes. I find it easy to organize records in binders with dividers and color coding. OKAY! Maybe I am sicker than I thought, so if you are laughing it is fine. I’m hooked on binders and not likely to give up my habit. 

There is one binder however that I know my family will appreciate one day. I have two daughters and when I die they will know where to start to plan my memorial and to settle my estate. They will unlock the secret place and pull out THE BINDER.

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This particular one is over eight years old and has been revised several times as situations change. It had a smaller predecessor. Let me tell you what this binder contains in its seven sections. 

  1. End of Life – Copies of the Power of Attorney, Living Will, Healthcare Surrogate and Will. The originals are in a lockbox for which they have the keys.  
  2. Finance – Banking and Insurance account information including account/policy numbers and contact names and phone numbers. Inventory of lockboxes. Charts (containing photos) listing family heirlooms (and other valuables), their locations and their origin (from grandparents, etc.) 
  3. Funeral and Burial – Information on cemetery plot, gravestone contract regarding adding dates, suggestions and wishes for memorial service and data necessary for an obituary. 
  4. House and Property – Copy of Deed(s), photos showing locations of water shutoff valves and electrical circuitry. 
  5. Medical Information that may be needed by Healthcare Surrogate
  6. Historical Information as needed
  7. Miscellaneous and Resources 

You may not be happy working with a binder. That’s okay. A box will do or a drawer. It is simply important for everything to be in one place. It does not have to be meticulously organized (although that’s nice). The important thing is that it is all together and that the person(s) who will settle your estate knows where it is and has any keys necessary. It is also critical that the contents of the box, drawer, or binder be discussed ahead of the time it is needed. I call that THE TALKhttps://crookedcreek.live/2017/01/25/death-decisions/

 

“Expect the best and prepare for the worst.” Muhammad Ali Jinnah

Way Back

Do You Remember?

Way back when  . . . 

  1. Milk was delivered to your door before daylight in a glass recyclable bottle?
  2. Books of matches were free and had advertising written on them?  

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  3. You went to the “show” (movie) and sat in the balcony?
  4. Telephone poles had insulators like these? IMG_7133
  5. Most women were married to their homes, i.e., housewives
  6. Couples on TV always slept in twin beds?
  7. Women did not go to war?
  8. “Howdy Doody” was on TV?
  9. Moms worked 24/7 for no monetary compensation. . . oh, wait, that still sometimes happens.
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Photo by Pinterest

“Old age is just a record of one’s whole life.” Muhammad Ali

 

Smile

I’ve often been accused of thinking and talking too much about death. I do contemplate the subject and read and talk about it quite a bit, but I want to declare that I am not morbid. Death is inevitable for each of us, so why not acknowledge that and get on with laughing, loving and living? That’s my philosophy. 

Can death be funny? If your first instinct is to answer, “No,” think again. If you’ve ever watched the late eighties movie, “Weekend at Bernie’s” you know better!

John Cleese’s Philosophy 

Is death funny? It is. Death is certainly present in my life, and there’s humor to be mined from it. Somebody was saying to me last week that you can’t talk about death these days without people thinking you’ve done something absolutely antisocial. But death is part of the deal. Imagine if, before you came to exist on Earth, God said, “You can choose to stay up here with me, watching reruns and eating ice cream, or you can be born. But if you pick being born, at the end of your life you have to die — that’s nonnegotiable. So which do you pick?” I think most people would say, “I’ll give living a whirl.” It’s sad, but the whirl includes dying. That’s something I accept.  John Cleese

Now everyone loves me

“Die with memories, not dreams.” Word Porn

On the Day I Die

A poem written by John Pavolitz

On the Day I Die

On the day I die a lot will happen.
A lot will change.
The world will be busy.

On the day I die, all the important appointments I made will be left unattended.
The many plans I had yet to complete will remain forever undone.
The calendar that ruled so many of my days will now be irrelevant to me.
All the material things I so chased and guarded and treasured will be left in the hands of others to care for or to discard.
The words of my critics which so burdened me will cease to sting or capture anymore. They will be unable to touch me.
The arguments I believed I’d won here will not serve me or bring me any satisfaction or solace.  
All my noisy incoming notifications and texts and calls will go unanswered. Their great urgency will be quieted.
My many nagging regrets will all be resigned to the past, where they should have always been anyway.
Every superficial worry about my body that I ever labored over; about my waistline or hairline or frown lines, will fade away.
My carefully crafted image, the one I worked so hard to shape for others here, will be left to them to complete anyway.
The sterling reputation I once struggled so greatly to maintain will be of little concern for me anymore.
All the small and large anxieties that stole sleep from me each night will be rendered powerless.
The deep and towering mysteries about life and death that so consumed my mind will finally be clarified in a way that they could never be before while I lived.
These things will certainly all be true on the day that I die.
Yet for as much as will happen on that day, one more thing that will happen.
On the day I die, the few people who really know and truly love me will grieve deeply.
They will feel a void.
They will feel cheated.
They will not feel ready.
They will feel as though a part of them has died as well.
And on that day, more than anything in the world they will want more time with me.
I know this from those I love and grieve over.
And so knowing this, while I am still alive I’ll try to remember that my time with them is finite and fleeting and so very precious—and I’ll do my best not to waste a second of it.
I’ll try not to squander a priceless moment worrying about all the other things that will happen on the day I die, because many of those things are either not my concern or beyond my control.
Friends, those other things have an insidious way of keeping you from living even as you live; vying for your attention, competing for your affections.
They rob you of the joy of this unrepeatable, uncontainable, ever-evaporating Now with those who love you and want only to share it with you.
Don’t miss the chance to dance with them while you can.

 It’s easy to waste so much daylight in the days before you die.
Don’t let your life be stolen every day by all that you believe matters, because on the day you die, much of it simply won’t.
Yes, you and I will die one day.
But before that day comes: let us live.

 

Theme photo in title by Pixabay

 

CPR in the Hospital

CPR

Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) can be life-saving especially when performed in a hospital with all the talent, knowledge and equipment that is available. It has become routine for patients to be asked on admission to the hospital some form of the following question: “Do you want emergency measures to be performed if your heart stops?” 

That question can be daunting in myriad ways. If one is being admitted for a routine procedure it can be a bit of a shock. If the patient is critical and/or of advanced age then it might be even more upsetting. Three things can help at this point, #1. Expecting such a question, #2. Being an informed patient about just what “emergency measures” entails and the risks involved, and #3. Having already considered this question and having discussed it with your loved ones. https://crookedcreek.live/2017/01/25/death-decisions/

Expectations

The first thing we all need to acknowledge is that we will one day die. Sobering as that thought might be, it is essential to know that regardless of how we answer the question above we may not be saved by CPR or any of the extraordinary measures taken if our heart stops beating. Perhaps worse yet might be to survive and be dependent upon breathing machines, feeding tubes and narcotics for pain relief. Cardiac arrest can cause organ failure leaving such organs as the liver and kidneys unable to function. Neurological deficits as the result of brain damage from lack of oxygen can occur. Unrealistic expectations can cause physical and psychological pain for both the patient and their family.

An Informed and Prepared Patient

An informed patient will have realistic expectations, will ask questions and will be prepared to make an informed consent. When a patient decides that they do not want heroic measures they can have a DNR (do not resuscitate) order to alert staff that the patient does not want CPR performed. Some hospitals now use the less promising acronym DNAR (do not attempt resuscitation). Before making this decision it is imperative that a patient know what resuscitation is and is not. It does present a chance at survival but it is nowhere close to a guarantee. The average chance of successfully resuscitating a healthy young person, i.e., to be neurologically intact, is only 30 percent overall. 

Once you have researched these issues and are armed with scientific information the next step is to discuss your wishes with your loved ones. Finally, prepare the legal documents that leave no doubt if the time comes when you need to inform your healthcare provider of your decision.  https://crookedcreek.live/2017/01/19/death-intro-ii/

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In the end, what matters most, quantity or quality of time here on this planet? 

 

Graphics by Pixabay

CPR in the Field

CPR

Everyone knows what CPR means. It means saving a life with certain breathing techniques and chest compressions when one’s heart has stopped beating. Right?

Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation literally means heart lung revival. That puts it in a slightly different light but still sounds promising.

We’ve all seen it work over and over again on television, but is that a reflection of real life CPR? I can tell you that it is not whether in the hospital or on the street. Fewer than 20% of in-hospital recipients of CPR live to be discharged. And, this is with a team of highly skilled professionals, IV medications, and defibrillators to shock the heart.

Expectations

Many people today are trained in CPR, and that is a good thing. I’m sure that most take the training with the expectation of being able to save lives. It does happen, but the chances of being unsuccessful are high and this is often an extremely hard outcome to accept. If occurring in the clinical area there are several people involved, but if you are performing CPR as a layperson or even a professional in the field you are often alone and it is a formidable responsibility. It can be extremely difficult to overcome emotionally when one is unsuccessful.

My Experience

Many years ago I was an Emergency Department (ED) Registered Nurse (RN). I was used to “codes” which was the word we used when a patient went into cardiopulmonary arrest. Everyone worked together as a team. We started IVs,  did chest compressions, charged and used a defibrillator and we continued until the patient was either revived or pronounced dead. Needless to say with all the needed supplies and professionals working together we often were able to revive the patient and send them on to the Intensive Care Department. From there we lost track of their progress or lack thereof. We went on to the next emergency. I was used to “saves” in that environment.

When my own sixty-nine year-old father had a cardiac arrest at home it was a totally different world. My Mom wept nearby. A neighbor wrung her hands. There was no one to help as I did CPR alone for over twenty minutes while we awaited the ambulance and EMTs to arrive. I felt his sternum crack. Was I compressing his chest too hard? I became short of breath. Was I breathing the right ratio for him? My mouth bled. My father turned blue, first his ears and then his lips.

My father died that day and I have never stopped blaming myself. How could an ED RN not save her own father? My brain itemizes many factors to answer that question, but my heart keeps saying, “I’m so sorry Daddy, I’m so sorry.”

I’ve shared this to warn those of you who are so altruistically prepared to perform CPR that it might not work. It might not be possible. 

Please do be trained. Please do try if you are given the opportunity. But, please also know that it is not always in your power and be prepared to live with that possibility.

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Graphics by Pixabay