THIS BLOG HAS MOVED TO WWW.CaringForMissLeyva.com
Santa Fe Animal Clinic to the rescue. Squeaky the cat doing well. Miss Leyva thought it was Squeaky’s last trip to the vet. The night before, Isabel looked at Squeaky and said “die, die” trying to tell me she thought this little adoptee was about to make her transition to another kind of kitty experience. Squeaky normally has long hair but Dr. Gordon Gee gave her a “lion cut” to remove matted hair. Miss Leyva adopted her in 2003. No one knows how old she is but she was up there in years when we first met. Now that Isabel is recovering from a major stroke it’s difficult to come up with the money to take the “kids” to the vet. But they come first: hope the landlord will understand where some of the rent money went. http://CaringForMissLeyva.com
The stroke struck Miss Leyva down on September 1, 2007; she was only 44. Her stroke happened at home following the first week of school at Oceanside High School where she taught Spanish since 1999. Having earned both a B.A. in English Literature as well as a B.A. in Russian Literature at the University of Havana, Cuba, Leyva-Griffith escaped communist Cuba and was granted political asylum here in the U.S. She has struggled to speak. Nothing at first, vast improvement to date and always building. Husband Rick Griffith is the sole caregiver. Since Isabel’s stroke left her unable to speak, write, or read, communication is very difficult. We are a family with a mom and a dad, three lovable little doggies (three are adopted), two adopted kitties, two birds, and a pond full of goldfish.
Isabel is a surviver, having spent five days and nights in a two-man life raft with four other adults as the five braved rough seas and ever-present sharks in their quest for a better life here in the United States. They had escaped Fidel Castro’s Communist Cuba at last. The Coast Guard picked them up half way between Florida and Cuba (around 1990); Isabel was granted political asylum and began a new life in Las Vegas where she taught Russian at a local high school.
Richard (rick) and Isabel celebrated their second wedding anniversary while Isabel was in the hospital following her stroke. Rick owns WebsiteVideoWorks.com, a small video production business. He also works as a free-lance cameraman, and on camera spokesman.
Please leave some encouragement for Isabel on her Web log: CaringForMissLeyva.com
Facebook | Ed Blunck Here’s a reprint. Too important not to share with readers here: Nurses are a Special Breed
Maybe you know my friend and high school classmate Larky, retired R.N., wife to one lucky guy by the name of Ed Blunck. Here’s a wonderful “reality check” tribute to nurses, as posted on Ed Blunck’s facebook wall.
Right now, a nurse is getting yelled at for being late with meds, holding their bladder because they can’t take the time to pee, starving because they missed lunch, being puked on, pooped on, bled on, yelled at and is missing their family while taking care of yours. In the minute it took you to read this, nurses all over the world are saving lives. Repost if you are a nurse, love a nurse, or APPRECIATE one.
I’ll be the first to “second the motion”. I know first hand: nurses are a special breed. My wife was in the hospital for 40 days following a major stroke. I was there most of the time, leaving well past visiting hours. Nurses, wow, what an often thankless job. But you know what, I’ve never met one who is in it for the gratitude. I think their just compelled to do it. No one could do that job unless they were driven by a passion welling up from deep within their souls.
How they withstand the abuse is beyond me. I’m sure many nurses get a lot of praise, and rightfully so. But it must be awfully difficult to withstand a verbal assault from a patient or the patient’s family. When a crisis hits it puts everyone on edge. Nerves get frayed; nurses often see people at their worst.
Put yourself in their shoes for a moment. You studied diligently in school, landed the job you’ve dreamed of, you have nothing but the best intentions to help people in their hour of need. you’re always giving it your all yet you get yelled at by someone who is just having a really rough time. That one patient doesn’t think about your workload. They don’t realize the degree of multitasking you are managing in any given moment.
As a 24/7/365 caregiver, I know what it’s like to be harshly judged for a “patient perceived” error. I know what it’s like to help someone from the bed to a wheel chair, from the wheelchair to the toilet, from the toilet to the shower. I know what it’s like to brush someone else’s teeth. To floss someone else’s teeth. To step in and take care of the most intimate aspects of another’s hygiene. I submit to you that most men can and would do these things for their wives, even their mothers. And I salute them. But can you imagine doing all these things for a complete stranger? Yep, nurses are a special breed.
Taking care of the caregiver is essential! That is your responsibility and ultimately all will thrive in the end. So often the caregiver is so concerned about the one they are caring for that they put off taking care of themselves..all will suffer. You are at your best when you have a healthy mind, body, and spirit and it is OK to take time for yourself and ask for help to take a break. Remember it is OK to ask for help.. a Pastor once gave me great advice.. don’t deny others the gift of blessing you.. take care. Lark
“Lark” is a retired RN who knows firsthand what it takes to successfully battle a major health risk. Also knows the challenges of caregiving.” , Rick g.
via Facebook (2).
Family Caregiver Alliance: Lack of sleep at core of depression. More than that: lack of sleep and associated home injuries can land you in the brain injury unit at your local hospital
Caregiving Fact: Loss of sleep as a result of caring for a seriously ill loved one is a pervasive problem and contributes to depression. Hiring a respite worker, arranging a brief stay in a care facility, or scheduling a stay with another family member can help you get needed sleep. Learn more.
This is a terrific resource. In our situation with me as sole caregiver I just could not find the time or energy to do much research about strokes. Nor did I take a serious look at the toll it would take on me: the caregiver. I can however, add something to the statement above about sleep. Loss of sleep and depression. Oh yeah. One can easily slip into clinical depression. Take alone the fact that you are suddenly alone. My wife couldn’t speak a word for the first six months of her recovery from a major stroke. Given this lack of communication and cognition, it pretty much leaves the sole caregiver all alone. Couldn’t leave her alone. Even though we had a top of the line reporting fire alarm system I never felt comfortable leaving her by herself. A trip to the pharmacy was a stressful affair. No way to tell what’s happening back there on the farm so to speak. Fortunately, she could answer her cell phone so I could check on her to some degree.
Getting back to “Caregiver Loss of Sleep”. I work nights, I’m a writer, and I do a lot of video editing. It’ s a creative process that does not lend itself to a lot of interruptions. And this is interruption central. Richard: she’s calling me this instant. Right back.
Here’s the real danger of lack of sleep: injury to the caregiver. I’m only 57 so I guess I can still take a pretty good fall and catch myself to some degree. This may sound like an exaggeration: I never would have thought it could happen. But it’s happened to me many many times. Have you ever fallen asleep at your desk? and hit your head on the keyboard? Well sure, probably everyone has. Have you ever fallen asleep standing up? Doesn’t seem possible does it? It’s happened to me at least a dozen times.
I have fallen asleep while standing at the toilet: I fell forward and crashed my forehead right onto the toilet tank lid. I’ve fallen asleep standing at the bathroom sink, smashing my face right onto the faucet: I thought surely I would have broken a tooth or two but lucked out: no missing teeth. I have fallen asleep standing in front of the kitchen stove hitting it so hard that I moved it back in inch or two. I’ve fallen asleep dozens of times while typing. Sometimes I hit my head on the monitor and then the keyboard ( keyboards are remarkably sturdy). More often than not when I fall asleep typing I’ll have a few lines of one letter.
Here’s one of the most dangerous places the sole caregiver can fall asleep: in the shower. this has happened to me two or three time. I went down hard but managed to stay in the shower/bath tub. But one time I fell right out of the shower, taking the shower curtain and curtain rod with me. No time to step over the bathtub edge: just went right over it. Bam! Elbows and head to the floor in front of the toilet.
I finally learned my lesson: I force myself to shower earlier in the night. And to call it quits at the first sign of uncontrolled nodding off. Any one of these falls could have ended my ability to care for my wife.
Worst of all, I have dozed off while driving Isabel home from therapy at Scripps (I dozed off just now) Encinitas in the early afternoon. Usually this is while we’re stopped at a traffic ssssssssssad. there! I just dozed off. I do not have any sleep disorders It’s 10:00 P.M. I know I need to head to the shower right now. I know I cannot close my eyes and take a mental break with a soothing stream of hot water beating down on me, washing away my fears and pains. How small of me to think I have and fear or pain that can come close to what my wife has been living for three years. The main fear I live with is this: What would become of Isabel and our beloved doggies and kitties if something happens to me? Thank God for her teachers disability retirement. doesn’t quite cover the rent, utilities, and health insurance. What would I leave her? Savings? Investments? Life Insurance? Home equity? Credit? Cars? Gone. All gone. At this moment my only solace is that if I were suddenly not in the picture at least I’ve helped her endure the first three years of this ordeal. Happy to say the rate at which she is improving is rising all the time on all fronts. Thank God.