hospice

Happy New Year 2014

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Happy New Year 2014!

I am so thrilled to be saying goodbye to 2013. Seriously, this was not an easy year for me. However, it was a useful year with many endings that leads me into this new year with many open doors and possibilities.

2013 Recap:

  • My private Pilates teaching schedule in Tribeca doubled over the year, to the point where now I have waiting list for recurring appointments. -A great thing!
  • This website was upgraded by Google to a page rank of 3. -Another great thing!
  • Our 11 year old dog Smiley was finally diagnosed with Cushing's syndrome (adrenal glands produce too much cortisol), and now that she has been on Vetoryl for a year she is much healthier! -A great thing.
  • My dear mother, Millie Lippin, who had been institutionalized with severe dementia for over 15 years, passed away at 82 years in hospice care on September 9. -Sad.
  • My father, Joseph Lippin's, health steadily declined throughout 2013, leading to his death at age 87 in hospice care on October 15. -Very sad.
  • I crushed my left big toe in July, leading to 4 months in CAM walker surgical boot and 3 months of twice daily bone stimulator treatment. -Oy!

Looking forward to 2014. This year we plan to research where to move next. I would prefer to live somewhere warm again for a bit, and somewhere with great single payer health care. And I am starting this year with a bang - I have joined BlogHer's NaBloPoMo for January as well as the Ultimate Blog Challenge for January. The NaBloPoMo theme is Pressure, which is perfect for me, as I do work well under pressure. So look for daily (gulp) posts from me this month - starting today!

What are you looking forward to in 2014?

Saying Goodbye To Dad

Saying goodbye to a parent is not fun, but is so important. My last phone call and real conversation with my Dad was on Wednesday afternoon.

It went something like this:

"Hi Dad, how are you?"

Muffled... "How are you? Are you all OK?"

"We're fine, Dad. How are you feeling?"

Progressively fading... "I thought I lost my eyeglasses, but they are in...."

"In your nightstand drawer, like I told you. You just didn't have them the two days you were in the hospital."

"Well, isn't that something?"

"I love you Dad. We'll be there to see you Saturday!"

"WHERE ARE YOU?"

"In my apartment in NY, Dad."

"WHERE ARE YOU? MILLIE..." Phone drops into lap.

Suddenly I realize he is no longer talking to me, but to my dead mother.

I called his hospice nurse, Chris. "Is he eating? He sounds scared, confused. Why is he in a wheelchair sitting in the hallway when he has fallen out of the chair or bed nine times in the past 11 days? Why is he sitting in the dining room for dinner when he's not eating?"

Yesterday morning Chris went to see Dad. Only semi-responsive and only talking now to Mom on other side. Ordered bed rest only with discontinuation of all meds except Atavan and Oxycodone, so he can rest and is not in pain.

We will go tomorrow to say goodbye to Dad.

We said goodbye to Mom on September 7. Mom died September 9.

End of life sucks, but if you have no plans in place you should get on that. Seriously. Otherwise you will be stuck in a system where you have no control over how you live and die in your last years.

My Dad advocated for my bipolar mother consistently for 50 years. I now advocate for him.

In fact, I will probably be arguing his third stage Medicare appeal after he is buried, since the timeline is backed up due to the government shutdown.

So not fun!

Spring Is Finally Here

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English: Mother's Day card While today is Mother's Day, I prefer to focus instead on the fact that it is finally spring. You see, my mother has been in a nursing home for the past 20 years, and now has advanced dementia to the point where she doesn't recognize me anymore. She is also in hospice care, showing the signs of jaundice that are a prelude to liver cancer.

In the years leading up to her institutionalization, Mom suffered with the demons of bipolar disorder, putting both of us into severely inappropriate and dangerous situations. She would hallucinate, have delusions of grandeur, and throughout my teens would steal me from my father to go to bars, bingo halls, and restaurants where we would smoke endless cigarettes and drink whiskey sours.

So I focus on Spring - warmth, sun, flowers, and less clothing. Yay!

Fitness Pros Get Tired Too

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I'm A Fitness Pro and I'm exhausted!

Yawn.

Sleeping when studying - Nakhon Sawan, Thailand

I am writing this at 6:23am EST. My first client this morning just canceled, as she is too exhausted to make it in. And given that I charge for the full session, this is not an inexpensive cancellation.

When I saw my doctor yesterday for my annual exam, my biggest complaint was exhaustion. She first asked me how my year went. I responded with my stuff, "My mother has liver cancer and is in hospice care, plus she has dementia and doesn't recognize me at all. My 86 year old father fell, was in rehab for three weeks, and during that time I orchestrated and physically moved his stuff to an assisted living facility. My 10 year old dog is having kidney issues, and my husband is suffering with depression. I am having trouble losing weight and eating properly, as all I want is comfort food."

Dr. Sondhi looked at me and replied, "If you had told me that you were sleeping 20 hours a day at the moment I wouldn't think it odd given your life right now. The fact that you are here and smiling is a testament to your strength and fortitude. Of course you are tired!"

She tested my thyroid function, but believes that exhaustion and stress are the cause of my problems.

How did I get to this place? What could I do to make it better? Maybe follow MY OWN ADVICE?

I could at minimum give myself some reiki (20 minutes), take an epsom salt bath (how ever long I want), and do 30 minutes of intense exercise followed by a bit of pilates or yoga. That's all it would take! Less than an hour!

So today I promise myself to do at least that - 30 minutes of fitness and 20 minutes of reiki followed by a mineral bath. Can't wait!

  • Tired
  • Ole Henriksen spills the beauty secrets of Epsom salts
  • The New Old Age Blog: Assisted Living vs. Hospice: Who's in Charge?

Reiki In Hospice

Judi Chamberlin blogs about her Life As A Hospice Patient. Judi has COPD ("chronic obstructive pulmonary disease") and you can read her medical story yourself, but at this point her lungs work so poorly that in home hospice care makes the most sense. This way she has a team of people working with her. As part of her care Judi started receiving Reiki a few weeks ago. Her first reiki treatment.

Her name is Angela and she told me that the treatment was designed to mobilize energy, and that she would say very little but that I could talk if I wanted to. She sat next to the bed and very gently put her hands on my knees, and then, after awhile, on different points on my legs, and at times not quite touching me. Like acupuncture, it had a very calming effect...Once she left I felt calm and relaxed, and also had a lot more strength.

Please share your own experiences with Reiki. What was your first Reiki session like?