A journal of healing

Archive for the ‘abuse’ Category

Drug Testing

Potty

Just this month, our agency was surveyed by the Department of Health. It is done minimally every three years and it is something that evokes fear and great trepidation within. We did really well, but came up with one deficiency, which truly is unfair. They said that this regulation has been required since 2005. But, we never have been dinged before for it.  The State feels that enforcing this will help with the opioid addiction condition we face in the country.  It requires everyone who sees patients to attest to a MD or NP that they are not addicted to drugs or alcohol and then sign a statement. It is the stupidest regulation amongst many. Our agency now has to have over 500 staff, from RN to HHA sit before one of our NPs and sign off. It is costing us plenty in time and effort.

We drug screen everyone when they are hired. We mandate everyone to go to Occupational Health and piss in a cup. When in doubt, we can order a supervised piss, which means they are watched when then pee. Even staff who will never leave the office or touch a patient have to do a drug screen to be hired. We can also mandate any one at any time to go. It costs the company every cup full.

Every year, we have to sign off a health assessment where we HAVE to disclose any and all our medical conditions and medicines we are on. If you lie and get caught, you are terminated. It then goes to the Senior HR Manager, RN who reviews them and then they are filed. I personally find these invasive. I think for someone like me who is on a very expensive drug that this is pointing a target at me. In another report from the insurance company, it indicates the cost the company insurance has to cover, and hence the agency is aware of my burden on their insurance carrier. If they have to downsize….who would you let go?

We also have to annually get tested for tuberculosis with a PPD. It is a simple procedure but someone has to administer a shot under the skin and then someone two days later has to read it. There are hoops to go through if you come up positive.

So when I hear people bitching about the invasion of privacy and stepping on people’s rights when the conversation turns to mandated drug testing for people who receive government subsidy, I go crazy. Why not? This money comes out of my pocket to pay for them to have support and help. Without going into a moral rant, you should not get ANYTHING if you are on drugs. Ok, maybe a drug recovery program. Clean up and then we will talk. I mean everything from pot to booze. If you need money to feed your kids stop drinking and smoking. Even cigarettes are $10.00 a pack… STOP. Or go get a job and pay for your addiction on your own. That goes for gambling as well. I think that there should be a check on people who go to the casino and piss their welfare checks away while their kids are home eating paint.

I am all for helping people when they need it. I am not blind however and have worked in environments where people on welfare brag about how they are getting away with what it basically stealing.

I am coming up on retirement in a few years. I worked hard for the last 47 years. Every week I had money taken from me and put into a system that supposedly is going to pay for my retirement. It won’t. I will still have to pay for insurance and other health costs. There is no free ride for us seniors.

Do I seem harsh? Tough. We penalize healthcare workers and others all the time with drug testing. If you want money for food, free housing and other benefits….it’s simple. Submit to a drug screen and if you are clean, then ok. I also think there should be other strict limits but that’s another blog.

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The Wall

reaaching
I have been accused of being a highly sensitive person. It is not a compliment. It means I react to things that others can let go. I feel too much. It is true and I have been this way my whole life. So maybe it’s just me, but the world lately seems to be angry and negative. It to me feels like what it must have felt like back in the late thirties, when Hitler was coming into fashion. I wasn’t there, so I am surmising. But whatever is going on right now is not pleasant.
In my own corner of the world, I see shorter tempers and more infighting. I see separation of thoughts about the state of the country. It is so divided, and I do not think that is totally bad. But how people are coping is with anger and supremacy. “It’s my way or the highway.”

I do not want to get too political, but it is hard to have a discussion about tempers without factoring in the current state of affairs in the white house. The current regime is causing great consternation to many folks, me included. And again, not getting political, it is about the treatment of people from the top down. All the inroads we made in the past fifty years seem to be slipping back into the abyss of Bubbahood. Discrimination, ethnic and race issues, and the general treatment of women as whole has taken a downward turn.

For example, Trump’s public treatment of his wife speaks volumes. He left her standing there multiple times during the Inauguration. He sharply spoke to her like a child. I said something about it to my husband and he said I was making too much out of nothing. Two days later, he pulled a similar stunt at a restaurant with me. He loves Trump. I realized that the Bubbahood is how he got elected. They will never see that treating women like an object, disrespecting and publically humiliating her is a big deal. And this will carry forth into the world of work and other areas, if given a chance to get a foothold. Think I am overreacting? Take a look at the legislation Trump signed about withholding money for organizations who even SPEAK about abortions. Where does the Bubbahood get the right to dictate what a female does to her body? Don’t get me started.

stone goddesses

It’s like the world has gone mad with hatred. We are going to build a wall to keep Mexicans out? Can there be dumber idea out there? And the cost; 12 to 15 BILIION dollars? How about we take that money and get rid of the donut hole in Medicare where millions of senior citizens get every year? If you do not know what that is, it is a yearly situation where if your prescription medicine gets to a certain dollar amount, you have to pay full shot for it. And for the geriatric set, getting there is very easy as many older folks have multiple heath issues all requiring medication. Take a look at the cost of diabetic supplies alone. And every year, more people get diagnosed with diabetes. (Mind you, they keep lowering the level of what dictates being diabetic and they will keep doing that as diabetes is big money.) This donut hole lasts until you pay almost $4900.00 out of your own pocket…every year. Folks spend their life having money taken out of their paycheck for SSI and Medicare, which shock upon shock, you also pay for Medicare premiums in retirement, it is not paid for….. only to get hit up for this stupid donut hole. It’s when people start making decisions about whether to eat or get their medicine.  $4900.00 may not seem like a lot, but when your annual SSI income is only $11000.00, it’s everything. But… we are going to have a wall.

Just try arguing that with someone who is a Trump supporter and you see the power of hatred and the Bubbahood come forth. They really believe it will stop illegals. Really? Ever hear of planes? Who is going to watch this stupid wall to keep people from crawling over or under it? Did we not learn anything from the Berlin wall? What about Canada? Do you know how many drug dealers import their products across the border from Canada? There is a huge illegal Asian influx as well. Maybe we should build a wall there too? There are places in NY and Vermont where I have stood in both countries at the same time. Take a look at the 1000 Islands and the St. Lawrence and tell how that would look with a big wall right down the middle.

sunset view

In my own work world, the State showed up on Monday to do a survey. A survey is a loose term for investigation. They are looking for errors, misdeeds, poor decisions, bad documentation and places to recoup money. This is our government at its best. It says, go do your job, but we are going to come after you and often to catch your errors and penalize you. Yes, there is a penalty for errors and they now can demand payment for them. Smart: hit an industry that is losing money daily due to government regulations and then make them pay more. If we have enough, they can shut us down, or take over the agency. I doubt we are that bad, but at one time, the agency was. But it creates an atmosphere of finger pointing and accusations. And yes, I get called out with “where and how was this person trained?” I have to demonstrate compliance. We have required mandated training and it better be documented. I spend countless hours retrieving this verification and so I was not worried when I had to pull fifteen people’s training documentation. But it sets up anxiety. This state survey was on the horizon and promised for a later time frame this year. Something triggered them coming earlier. But for the past year, the threat has been held over everyone’s head. We will find out next week how we did.

side 5-15

So it is at my work, it is out in the small community I live in and it is global. It is the little comments and attitudes that seem more negative. Being in public is abrasive. Driving is defensive. People are suspicious of each other. And it seems to me that everyone thinks that this is ok. It is acceptable to be rude and caustic; under the concept of being “real”. I like people to be honest, but being rude is demonstrating a lack of compassion and empathy for your fellow earthlings. It is Bubbahood.

And yes, this all really bothers me. I feel the energy. Too me, it feels like the air is full of steel wool. I come home worn out and used up. I spend the day putting out fires and calming troubled waters. I do not watch TV, but I like to look at Facebook at night. I see the infighting there. I argue with my husband and we have had screaming matches about Trump. We could not be further apart on the man and his government. There seems to be no escape, no island of peace. I keep holding on that soon, the birds will return and my oasis of a garden will return. Oh, and yes, I have a wall around it.

Trauma informed

little girl

I have spent a great deal in the past months seeing a variety of doctors for various reasons. At every visit, every time, the patient care-tech brings me back to the visiting room to wait for the doctor. It is their responsibility to weigh, check blood pressure and ask a few questions. One of those questions is the medical community’s answer to being trauma informed. It misses by a huge mark.

Being trauma informed simply means being sensitive to a patient’s history or the possibility of the patient being in a dangerous living situation. We are talking domestic violence, and all forms of abuse: mental, physical and sexual at any age. Being a trauma informed  means everyone on your team from the receptionist to the doctor is sensitive to how they treat a patient. Some may say this is over the top but the concept is very important to the true wellness of all patients.

For example, the patient who keeps coming back with bruises or injuries from falls. Very suspicious if the patient is only forty. Maybe not so for someone who is eighty. But in the case of the eighty year old, she or he may have a care giver who has been frustrated in having to provide care and pushes them to make them move faster, or hits them when they spill things. And the patient is not going to do anything about it because the next step is being forced into a nursing home. They are living in an abusive home and are trapped. They certainly are not going to be forth coming about it.

Patients who have experienced domestic violence of any form will react differently to the way someone approaches their safety bubble. What I mean by this is that everyone has a comfort zone for how close people can get and how comfortable they are being touched. Some people are huggers and touchers and love to get close to anyone, including a stranger. People who have been abused have much larger safety zones and very often do not want to be touched. This not wanting to be touched can range from the patient being able to tolerate it by disassociation or the patient who has a panic attack at the mere thought of having to be touched, which often leads them to not go to the doctor when they really need to.

It an attempt to becoming trauma informed, our local medical center has all providers asking about the safety of their patients? It is a useless attempt to meet a standard. First of all, it is not the doctor who asks this question. It is the care-tech, the gum chewing little twenty-something who is trying to beat a record of some kind by seeing how fast she can get patients in the rooms ready for the doctor. They change regularly and even so, I doubt highly any patient who is in a domestic violence situation is going to open up to that individual as if they are going to be able to do anything. AND… it is none of their business. The lack of sensitivity to the situation of an actual abuse situation is very typical. Unless there has been some form of specific training done with people who are asking that question, simply asking the question almost makes it worse. What are they going to do if a patient says, “no I am not safe. My husband routinely comes home drunk and beats the shit out of me and then rapes me.” The response to that can make or break the patient. The care-tech’s only course of action would be to type ABUSED into the chart. That works!

I would love to know how asking this question, “do you feel safe in your living environment” is the proper opening for a patient to disclose something so humiliating and degrading as being abused. And how many providers are even trained to handle the situation past the physical? Do they know who in the community is providing help for domestic violence? But the bottom line, most patients will not jeopardize themselves by spilling the beans about their crappy home life in a brief visit to a doctor, especially if there is not a relationship built over time with that doctor.

But being trauma informed goes beyond asking that inane question. It is things like how the patient is treated by everyone; from the rushed handling of the care-tech to the actual doctor. Patients who are victims of abuse will react from the way they are placed in a room and then left abruptly to wait for an extended period for the doctor. Letting the patients know if the doctor is running late, or checking in on the patient to see if they are ok would go much further to calm a nervous person. Having the doctor explain what and why they are going to do something BEFORE doing it will help also. Even the simple act of having them listen to the heart can be traumatic. Some doctors will do it over clothes, some doctors reach right in without warning for skin contact. Sometimes there may be a need to hold the patients head while examining their throat for example. This simple act can terrify someone who has had their head restrained in an abusive act such as forced oral sex. Lying down on an examining table makes anyone vulnerable, but for an abused patient, it is excruciating.

For some patients, the act of disrobing will send them back to a place of past abuse. These patients need a sense of safety which throwing them into a sterile, brightly lit room and demanding they disrobe behind a flimsy curtain does not provide. Then they have to sit in anticipation of being probed on a ridiculous scary examining table sitting in the middle of the room as if they were a piece of meat shivering in a paper gown. Would it be so absolutely terrible to provide a soft blanket to comfort and to also help with limiting the exposure while being examined? Something that simple is being trauma informed.

The patient is brought back to the exam room and sat down after being weighed. For some, being weighed is very traumatic. I know that doctors need the vitals but unless you are suspicious of your patients and do not trust them, can you not simply ask them what they weigh? Or make it part of the exam in private and not in a hallway where everyone is walking by. The scale calculates and the care-tech yells out the reading like everyone needs to know….and you still have your boots on. I skip it and refuse. Unless I am there for weight related issues, I know what I weigh and I will tell the doctor if they ask.

Health care workers are highly trained. But in the area of trauma informed, there is much to learn. This study goes hand in hand with a comprehension of the ACE study, which identified the link of abuse to chronic illnesses. I have asked all the doctors who I see if they are aware of the ACE study, and none of them are. I am going to leave a couple of articles for them to read. (see below) We need to work on this information being disseminated and so if you found this helpful, read and print these out and give them to your doctors.

Ace study: http://www.ajpmonline.org/article/S0749-3797%2898%2900017-8/fulltext

PDF of journal article: http://www.ajpmonline.org/article/S0749-3797(98)00017-8/pdf

https://acestoohigh.com/2017/01/05/dear-doctor-a-letter-from-a-survivor-of-sexual-trauma-to-all-medical-professionals/

https://acestoohigh.com/2016/08/10/childhood-trauma-leads-to-lifelong-chronic-illness-so-why-isnt-the-medical-community-helping-patients/

 

 

 

Its a Gut feeling

vegas nerve

Have you ever wonder if there is a connection to having gut issues and being under stress? Why do some people always  seem to be sick? Why is it that when facing a lot of issues some people end up with sore tummies and other disturbances? It is because of the connection to the autonomic nervous system.

The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is a division of the peripheral nervous system that influences the function of internal organs.[1] The autonomic nervous system is a control system that acts largely unconsciously and regulates bodily functions such as the heart rate, digestion, respiratory rate, pupillary response, urination, and sexual arousal. This system is the primary mechanism in control of the fight-or-flight response and the freeze-and-dissociate response. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomic_nervous_system

This is the system that regulates how we physically adapt (or not) to pressure and challenging situations. It is the system that keeps animals safe and helps them to employ tactics such as being able to run at super speed or feign death in a freeze like mode. This system triggers chemical such as adrenalin and cortisol to help the being physically have the juice it needs to do what it needs to do in the form of flight, fit or freeze.

People have the same ability of flight, fit or freeze. We adapt to situations with the ramp up of the same chemical juices during times of stress. For people who are in stressful situations all the time, this chemical and nervous system process does not have time to deregulate. The human never goes back to “normal”. Hence: Post-traumatic stress syndrome. PTSD.

We think children have a natural resilience and are not affected by stressful things. We dismiss their stress with sayings like: “They will get over it.” Or “they are too young to understand what is happening.”

What really happens is that the child internalizes it. It may be hard for parents to see that their child senses stress differently and how that correlates into health issues in the child. It is also complicated by the fact that two people can be exposed to the same stressful situation and one will react and be done with it and the other will have it affect them harder and for a long time. We add to that sensitive child’s issues by naming that child a sissy and telling them that their issues is insignificant . That adds a layer of guilt on top of it and makes the child withdraw further.

The same situation happens with adults. Some people do not deal well with stress and have learned to not say anything, because there can be a layer of judgment that comes from people, including medical providers. Even people who teach tools such as mediation and mindfulness can be critical of those who struggle to “find their zone.” We are all hardwired differently and all meditating in the world cannot really change that.

The Ace Study was a scientific research study that identified the link to maltreatment of children and chronic illness. They program has grown and is now widely accepted yet many providers still do not know about this epic study. It states emphatically that there is a correlation to childhood trauma and adult stress and chronic illness.

What needs to happen in the medical world is a change in thinking. Current medical practice is symptom management. There is a medical issue we throw medicine at it to eliminate the symptoms. When people return over and over for the same issue, there probably is more there and the illness is not actually the main problem. This is what being trauma informed is all about.

For those of you like me who have chronic issues, there is a new thinking out there that really is helping me cope. I wish I could find the article but I cannot so I will have to paraphrase. This was from a young man who has multiple disabilities and chronic illness. He is currently in a monastery and is not writing.

He said instead of trying to cope and bury your issues, live with them. We are a society where other people’s suffering makes us uncomfortable. He said that is why people want to help. It is not really about the sufferer, it is about the dis-ease that suffering generates. We want to eradicate it before we become part of it. I will write more about this in another post.

But for the sufferer, they are taught to move on, get over it or take a pill. It dismisses the being. It diminishes their lives and their history. What would happen if we all were allowed to live with our baggage instead of struggling to remove it? What if we accepted our plights and accept what comes our way as being human. Instead of guilt and anger, we would learn honor and virtue. Being human is messy. It does not come with instructions and no one has the same path.

This is the current direction of the ACE movement. The focus is to help children who live in violence and maltreatment to speak up. They are encouraged to talk about their situation and ask for help and without shame or guilt. But what about all the adults who grew up in households that were littered with dirty little secrets like incest and drunken violence. We were told to never tell.

All though this post rambled on through many different topics, they really are all connected. We are human. We have uncontrollable systems within our bodies that regulate physical reactions. We taught at an early age to cope. But we don’t really; we camouflage our emotions that eventually manifest in illness.

What do you think would happen if there was a change that allowed people to say, “yeah, I am really struggling here?” and have the reply not be…. “let me fix that or let me change you?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am a sinner!!!

pink clouds 8-15

“I am a sinner. I have done something so egregious in my life that I deserve completely the issue at hand.”

This is how someone who has PTSD brought on by childhood trauma thinks. This is how a woman copes with the reality of living within an abusive relationship of a spouse or family member. This is what the perpetrator tells them and when it is someone you are supposed to trust, you take it as gospel.

The lesson is learned early when in innocence, the child or woman stands up to the inflictions and is beaten worse or punished even more cruelly. There is guilt placed on them that they are so flawed that their judgement is totally wrong. When you add isolation, which often happens, the person is so humiliated because they are led to believe they have caused their own situation and it is their entire fault. So they submit which is why so many people end up either dead or remain in the relationship.

Children often have no escape. They hear nothing but ridicule and criticism. They are abused mentally, physically and sexually by members of their closet trust unit, their family. This circle of constant wearing down of any self-worth is worn like a cloak and the energy given off to others in the world is a reflection of this lack of confidence. People treat people as the person treats themselves. And this only perpetuates their loss of confidence. When all hopes of a bright future are dashed at the malicious behavior of others, the person mentally gives up.

What happens in the body is another story. The body is designed to protect us. I have written a lot about the reaction of trauma and there is a ton of information on the physical deterioration of the human life form from trauma whether it is a one-time happening or many. There is evidence based research on the impact of trauma and the propensity of chronic illness later on in life. Please read the Ace Study information here: http://www.acestudy.org/

Now repeat this treatment for fifty years and then ask, who could possibly have a different outcome of low esteem and self-deprivation? How could the body after all those years of cortisol floods and other hormones and muscles in a permanent clinch all the time not affect the health of someone? This is my story. It is not about sympathy and it is very difficult, more difficult to talk and write about than anything I have ever done because you see….I am a sinner. I still in my subconscious think I deserved everything that ever happened to me. And so the manifestation of chronic illnesses is only another reinforcer.

The reason I am writing about this stems from another blog of the dear Dr. Victo Doloro: https://doctorly.wordpress.com/2015/08/27/eroding/ . It is about how obese patients are treated by the medical community. I wrote a long reply to that but it made me come to grips with something currently in my own life.

A week or so ago, I started to feel like absolute crap. We were headed out for vacation; I was able to quell the uneasiness of my ickiness with the anxiety of the trip. I always am anxious to some extreme, but going away is very difficult. I lose what little safety I think I have. Once away, I still was anxious and I thought it was about work. It is what I do. I find a reason for something so I can deal with the guilt of not being perfect. Although we had a splendid time, I knew something was wrong Big Time. We got back and the symptoms did not get better. If anything, I felt worse. I had my nurse educator take my blood pressure and sure enough it was up there, more so than it has been for a long while. I decided to look at my glucose, and yup, it was up. I took readings for four days and it was constantly up there.

I did a very difficult thing. I called my doctor and made an appointment and I asked him to order all sorts of blood work. On Friday, the lab tests came back and there was nothing significant in the findings. I was within a range I had been in before. This summer had been a whirlwind of barbeques and going out every weekend and enjoying ice cream cones while sitting by the canal. And I just came back from vacation where we treated ourselves to what-ever we wanted including shell fish. I had brought all my numbers down when I was on Weight Watchers and because of the change in eating habits, I actually as mindful on the trip and not a crazy fool. I only gained four pounds back from which meant I was still 20 pounds lighter than where I was less than a year ago. Just knowing that made me feel better.

This morning, the last test came back (urine) and it was off the chart. From what I can tell, my kidney crashed again. I had taken a shot (Simponi for my Psoriatic Arthritis) the Wednesday before we left. I had a reaction at the injection site I have never had before (I have had seven shots of this product) I noticed the next day that I felt like my blood pressure was up and I was very stressed. As I said, the anxiety of the trip and so forth. On the trip, I was not drinking water as much as I normally do because of how much I have to pee every five minutes and you can’t do that when you are traveling. I also consumed restaurant food which has a ton more salt than I use. But according to what I have read, I should have edema, and I don’t. There is also the possibility that the test was contaminated and the outrageous reading is inaccurate.

But here is the point of this long epistle. It took me four days to call the doctor. Why? Because in my mind I am totally blaming myself for whatever is happening. I am in a state of being triggered from guilt and the fear of oncoming punishment. For me, having to go to the hospital for more tests makes everything in my body tighten to the point of almost being crippled. I am sure it is adding to the heighten BP. Worse is the treatment I know I will receive. My GP is not like that. But this will surely mean a trip to a nephrologist and/or endocrinologist. My last experience was beyond awful and I wrote about it in Victo’ s post and I have written before about it. Even the nephrologist I saw never talked to me about kidney disease, but only about he bet me I would be so much healthier if I lost 25 pounds. HELLO??? I did and this happened anyways.

I feel in the depth of my soul like I have been captured like a caged animal and I am trapped. Now I will be paraded like a circus animal where people can poke fun and ridicule me. They will tell me that this is all my fault because I am fat and from the front desk to the person who will have to weight me, they will treat me terrible. It is an awful feeling. But I know I have to do something. My fear at one point was so strong that I almost said “screw it. I have to die of something.” Then my new found bravery came into play and I am facing this head on. First asshole who says something that this is my fault because I am fat is going to get an earful from me. I wish I could come up with a card to hand out starting with, “ you are an uniformed asshole! IF you only knew…..” The other thing that this and the conversations on Victo’s blog did was reinforced my desire to continue to work in trauma informed studies. I completed a certification last year in working with organizations to be more trauma informed. There is another longer certification in becoming a trauma informed specialist and I am going to go for that this year.

I know that the fear of seeking medical help is extremely common. The level of anxiety brought on from illness for people with PTSD from any form of trauma is unmeasurable. It is a major cause of suicide. It is only in recent years that PTSD is acceptable for people in the military. It was not uncommon and is still prevalent for soldiers returning to suffer major uncorrectable illnesses because of PTSD. They try to treat the illness and not the whole situation. There is still a stigma of being a weakling. People with childhood trauma and domestic violence victims are very much not understood or even accepted. Countless doctors do not do a trauma screen to see the route of diseases started back when they were physically abused when they were five. And until we stop  degrading and humiliating the victims, they are not going to speak up.

I am going to add to this, although I know this is going to be another post at another time. There is a lot of work out there dealing with people with PTSD and downregulating the body reaction to it. There is ton of stuff on mindfulness and meditation and sensory and energy work and other therapies. I have spent a ton of money and years on trying to find a solution. Although it has helped, some more than others, I am convinced that this is not the cure. I believe there is some so deeply engrained in the body that no one has actually discovered and is able to truly turn off. They can dim it, but not eradicate it. And, like anything, it is hard to say that this too is a failure. But this is all for another time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hurdles

mist

I think the hardest thing a human has to face is not diving into the drama of emotional turmoil. I believe that we are set on this earth to learn to overcome this. That enlightenment is learning to not cave or participate in the negativity that we are all born with and are force fed through our lives. The challenge is to believe in the higher force that is there to pull us out of the mire, however you achieve this relationship. We are given the tools, but like the treasure this knowledge is, we have to search for it.

Along the way in the journey of life, there are obstacles of huge and small proportions. How we deal with them is called Grace. The Higher-self is the Captain of the ship we call life and we are the sailor. The trouble is that we cannot always hear this voice, or we think the voice comes from without, and not within. It has to be a unique set of directions for each human is unique in design and creation. The internal navigation equipment in time can get obliterated with the noise and clutter we subject our over-stimulated lives with. The chatter in our heads is like the static of a radio fueled with the nonsense of television and other media. Ever notice how TV has transformed from simple comedies and joyful family life to intense drama and the emotional targeting of watching others suffer? People watch this stuff because it fuels the ego’s need for superiority. “I would never do that”, said in arrogance. “Look at that poor fat slob trying to lose weight,” uttered while shoveling potato chips in their mouth in the safety of their overstuff chair.

Many spend years trying to find their way using other people’s road maps, only to find the wrong destination for them. It is also easier to have someone else guide us; to have someone else create a chart for us. There are thousands of books out there to read on the “way to enlightenment”. There are multiple people willing to take your money to feed your junkie need to be told how to find peace in your life. We all want it, whether we admit it or not. We think we want to be safe, and that is part of it. The more difficult part is trust. I am not just talking about trusting others, because that’s a disastrous route. We need to trust in ourselves that whatever happens, it will be ok. And that is the tricky part.

In my situation and many others like me, grow up to learn that people cannot be trusted. What does that really mean? Trust in what; that they will do something for you? Protect you? Keep you safe? Somehow I must have been able to keep safe enough to survive and that is all that matters. The bottom line is trusting in others has to have some limitations. Drama occurs when you put your self-worth in someone else. Inevitably, they will disappoint you. The degree of infliction will vary, but your reaction to it is what will harm you for the rest of your life. Children expect and deserve protection and love. But I truly doubt that anyone gets through life unscathed in parental disillusionment. Friends disappoint and so do spouses and your own children. The only solution to this is the act of forgiveness and the realization that the infliction is harmless if you believe in yourself and are able to move beyond it.

We are programmed for daily doses of emotional targeting. Being human means being emotional. Media feeds into this by playing on your emotions in order to sell you things. Pay attention to the input that makes you feel emotional and decide whether that emotion is something you really want in your life. I truly feel that the news and other forms of media are helping to bring this world to its knees. We are bombarded with how imperfect we are, how horrible people treat each other and how we are poisoning the world. It is very difficult to more past this constant feed of negativity. Hence we become helpless, angry and emotionally crippled.

Do I have the answer? Yes and no. I have the where-for-all to find it for myself. And what I discover is meant only for me. How I achieve that is also my solitary path. I have been given the tools of discovery but I need to sift through the garbage floating in my head. I must be mindful that the destination is obscure and will never ultimately be reached. Life is discovery and that is the miracle. How we treat people along the way is our legacy. We all have the same opportunities yet each accomplishment of life is as individual as the person participating. For me, overcoming my own negativity, accepted people for who and what they are and learning to be non-judgmental are my biggest hurdles.

I originally wrote roadblock, but that implies the inability to get over something. A hurdle is something to get over. What are some of your hurdles?

 

Death of a parent

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Nothing prepares children for the loss of the parents. But it is the way of life to succeed your parents. Somewhere I read that having children was the whole thing about being alive; the sole purpose of your existence. That’s upsetting for someone who is childless. But I do not agree with that statement anyways. There are many reasons for existence which are as individual as the being.

My FIL (father –in-law) is in the beginning stages of dying. I have learned a lot about hospice and there are stages of the dying process. He is near 95 and has had a good and honorable life. He has declined any intervention that would prolong the process. My in-laws are in denial of the situation. I think my husband is the only one who has accepted the inevitable. Hence, there is terrible friction and drama going on with the family.

The issue that makes it worse is my poor MIL (mother-in-law) has Alzheimer’s and it has also progressed. I have been saying we needed to place her in a good memory care unit for years. But I am only an in-law and have been ignored. Now, in crisis, they are scrambling. Someone has to stay with her 24 hours a day. It is a sentence of hell. She can be abusive. She smells and the apartment is hot and also smells. My in-laws have been on their own for too long and the care my MIL has needed has not been provided.

All this tension has brought family issues right up to the surface. My husband is feeling all the neglect he felt as a child. He is being ostracized by his siblings in the process of decision making because he has not been very involved by his choice in the past. This too is hurtful. My BIL is a know-it-all and can be very demanding to the point I have to walk away. My SIL is a princess who has not come to terms with reality. She also has refused to stay overnight with her own mother which is leaving this responsibility on her brothers and their wives. I have stayed twice but I now refuse because she will not stay. They also have no respect for my husband or me.

They found a place for my MIL and they are now in panic mode to get her placed. No one has insisted that my MIL see a doctor in the past couple of years and of course she has put up such a fuss and refused to go. MY FIL gave up fighting her. Now someone has to take her for a physical on Monday. It is not going to be easy but I am so glad because I think they will see there are other issues present. She was diagnosed with breast cancer seven years ago and had a double mastectomy. Her progressive weight loss and decline I think indicates more is going on. But if they had worked with her and got her the medical help and interventions earlier, she may have had a better quality of life in the last year.

My FIL is in kidney failure. I found out yesterday that he had an MI (mild heart attack) a short while ago and it went undiagnosed. Now he has congestive heart failure. He is unable to process the fluid retention he is having. They will make him comfortable but no one has said what needs to be said and that is Hospice Care. They think that is a death sentence and not what it really is, which is the best care he could have right now.

They explained they will discharge him off the floor and are sending him to a “rehab” unit. This is the same place my MIL went to when she broke her hip. The unit is actually a transitional unit and he will probably be admitted to palliative care. MY SIL thinks they are going to get him up and walking around. She said she is going to look for a smaller apartment for him when he comes out in two weeks so he won’t have to worry. She is not dealing with the inevitable and unfortunately she has the power of attorney and health proxy. My BIL was appalled that FIL signed a DNR. I hope they adhere to his wishes which are basically, “take care of your mother and let me go. I am tired.”

I went through absolute hell with my own parents. My Mom died when I was 23 and I was responsible for my father for the next 13 years. My siblings abdicated any responsibility for either except my oldest brother who did all the funeral arrangements and was supportive. It splintered the family and firmed up my resolve to not have anything to do with most of them. A couple of times that they have interjected themselves in my recent life caused only more hardship for my oldest brother and me.

Death is not pleasant for those who remain. That is who the entire funeral and other hoopla is for. The transition of dying is not necessarily horrid. It actually can be beautiful and loving. We all will face it in some factor or another. My husband and I have completed our advanced directives and wills. There is some peace in knowing that it is in place and we have a non-family (lawyer) who will oversee the process and guide my nephew and/or his daughter to do as we wished. I wish comfort for my in laws and I hope someone will supersede my BIL’s and SIL’s lack of reality and ignorance and get them the care they both need.