Interview with Jill Woodworth, mother of 4, three with Tuberous Sclerosis, managing the transition from pediatric to adult medical care. Fascinating, frustrating, heart-breaking, and inspiring. Silos and boundaries, crossing the threshold, primary physician, autonomy, self-management. One of the scenarios with the most boundaries, cracks, and thresholds is where young adults with complex medical conditions transition from pediatric to adult care. “If there’s any communication, that has to go through me. Unfortunately, I have to network that system and that’s just really cumbersome.” “I can also help other people that have questions about how to transition. I’m certainly not an expert. But boy, it is something that I wish I always say do it the earlier the better. The earlier you can think about it the better.” “He’s learning. Like I taught him to get his own meds, you know, it’s kind of meeting each one of them where they are and what they can do. But it’s hard.” Read More
- Blood, sweat, tears shared by two.
- Helping one end and another begin.
- A disaster that ultimately gives back.
- Hearts clubbed by diamonds in spades.
- We learned, we cried, we continued.
Denise Brown of caregiving.com asked caregivers for their 6-word story about caregiving. Brilliant!
Welcome to Men Caregivers, Part 2, the Panel. Part 1 was interviews with the panel, Ben Carter, Patrick Egan, Jolyon Hallows, and yours truly. All at the National Caregiving Conference in Chicago in November 2018.
Here are some of our 6-word stories:
- We did it because we could
- Pillows, pills, poop, piss, and pain
- 20 years a caregiver. I adapted.
- Key word isn’t ‘men’, it’s ‘caregiving’
- Personal care? It depends? Mother, wife?
- Managing the Dis Ease of Disease
Success is feeling like I have too much to do two days a week, not enough to do two days a week and not thinking about it for the rest. Today is a too much day. I missed a scheduled call. I was writing this post and missed it!! Too funny. How do I manage when I actually do manage, you ask? Well, if my wife wants to do something with me, the answer is yes. Same with my kids and grandkids. Then my health routine – steps, stretching, strengthening, balance, and stress management. Playing my horn. Blogging weekly. Finally responding to requests from my network cronies, making money and advocacy. (Note: I am retired and my family is all independent and healthy). So really the slack for me is only in those last ones. And health is the blowing up wildcard. When health dips, my spiel is BS.
My latest struggle is saying no to pro bono work. So many intriguing opportunities. But time is precious. Keys to time management success are well-defined commitments, deliverables, and timeframes; calendar, and task lists; plus strong partners and collaborators. Strong partners and collaborators make the work fun and efficient. The fun stokes my fires. This week the Society for Participatory Medicine’s one-day conference stoked my fire. What stokes yours?
For me, the work of maintaining best health with a chronic disease takes large parts of each day. I feel fortunate when the routine just flows without thinking. Like walking used to feel. I didn’t have to focus on each step I took. Now I scan for uneven pavement, pick up my left foot high enough not to trip, and check my fuel gauges: Have I reached my daily step limit? Has my medicine kicked in yet that helps my impaired nerves work so I can safely walk? Should I walk where ever I’m going or use the electric wheelchair or Lyft? I miss thoughtless walking. The process I use for managing and adjusting my self-care routine includes experimentation, tracking, journaling (journaling is narrative tracking), adjusting. I try to create a care plan for myself complete with goal and actions – project management. I use lists, spreadsheets, and iPhone/Apple Watch reminders to manage the plan and see how it’s working. Read More
Sometimes I feel like I’m part of someone else’s play. Just dropped in. I don’t know my lines, I don’t know the other characters. I think I’m in a drama, yet it feels like a farce. The stage is ever changing. Have you seen those round, rotating stages where the props keep changing? I think I’m playing myself, but I’m not quite sure. On top of it, I feel like crap, I’m exhausted, I’m cranky. I exit, stage right, left, whichever. What just happened? What do I do now? Oh yes, time to live life again.
When I worked at Boston Children’s Hospital, I took a class from the Big Apple Circus clowns. These are people who go from room to room visiting kids and their parents or go to scary procedures with them and help them feel better for a couple of minutes. The class was on reading the room. Sizing up the characters, the dynamic, the vibe in the room and then selecting a path forward. The kid is hurt, angry, and withdrawn. There’s tension between the hovering adults. What can you do? In seconds they insert themselves, do something odd or funny, draw out the child, and break the tension. Read More