Author photos taken by Robert Abrams in Paris, France.

THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY - Rebecca Buckley's Blog
Hello, I'm Rebecca Buckley, and I write books! Welcome to my blog. Here I'll talk about almost anything. Depends on the mood of the day. I'll also talk about publishing, writing techniques, and editing ... subjects close to my heart. So today, anytime you feel like it, feel free to jump in ... click on the COMMENTS link at the end of a post and give your opinion. If you sign in "anonymous" to comment, it's easier, just be sure you say who you are in the content of your comment.

Monday, February 16, 2015

CAREGIVING FOR THE ELDERLY - could you do it?

While doing some research and reading on caregivers, I came across the following:

While many caregivers find much meaning in being able to help a loved one, there are health risks associated with long-term caregiving:
  • 80% of caregivers say they feel a great deal of stress.
  • 50% have clinically significant depression. 
  • Anxiety is higher in caregivers than non-caregivers. 
  • Caregivers have more physical health problems. 
  • Strained caregiver spouses are at increased risk of dying. 
  • Caregivers have poorer immune system function and slower healing of wounds. 
  • Caregivers experience more colds and other viral illnesses.
In addition to health risks, caregivers can experience financial strain associated with illness expenses, passing up promotions, and reducing work commitments in order to continue giving care to a loved one.

How many family caregivers have you come into contact with or have known that reflect any of the above?  I can remember when my sisters and I each had a turn at taking care of our mother in her last years.  It wasn't easy, we did what we could to ease her stress and illness, not wanting her to go to a facility. Alas, the inevitable happened anyway. It wasn't feasible for any of us to do what had to be done 24/7 with mother.  I still feel guilty today because I couldn't do it longer, and I know my sisters feel the same way. My father did it right. He didn't give us a chance to do any caregiving for him.  He had a massive stroke one day and two days later had a massive heart attack and passed ... it happened so fast. Mother had a stroke and lasted six years more. Finally she just couldn't hang on any longer, congestive heart failure took her. 

Now I find myself caregiving my 102 year-old hubby of 14 years, going on 15.  Not caregiving that long, married that long. Just recently got back together after the loss of his son last year, one month before I lost my son.  

I do have help in the mornings with my husband, which is a godsend.  The main medical care is done by professionals each morning, a 4-hour shift.  My responsibilities consume the rest of the day and night ... 20 hours. Thank goodness we both sleep well, so that takes up at least 9 hours for him, 6 or 7 for me.  And I use those extra early morning hours to get work done without distraction - accounting, other business, and housekeeping.  

But what scares me the most is the nite-time ritual, which I've been doing of late ... when he is at his weakest and most vulnerable.  I'm so afraid if he begins to fall I won't be able to stop him, and it's been pretty darn close. Plus he doesn't have full control over his bowels, and has a permanent  catheter, which adds to special care. Not being able to walk increases his risk of falling when I move him from chair to chair to toilet to bed ... his motor ability isn't adequate enough, especially when he's tired ... and that's at night.  So as much as I didn't want to hire nite-time caregivers 2 hours a nite, I've had to do it once again.  The expense is stressful, but I don't feel I have any alternative. I've tried to do it myself and I've panicked when near falls have occurred, and that's even more stressful than lack of money to pay for help.  I believe I'll have four nites covered by others, though, beginning this coming week, which leaves three nites for me to handle.  That's better than doing seven.  

So ... Bullet One above ... certainly applies ... stress of proper caregiving and stress of inadequate funds.  

Bullet Two doesn't seem to enter into the equation for me. I'm not depressed, don't feel held back or restricted, I have my mornings to get out and about if I want, to run errands and shop, do meetings, etc.  I have my cats, my writing, books to read, movies to watch, beautiful scenery. So no, that doesn't apply as of yet.  Jim and I have much in common, work on things together. 

Bullet Three applies!

Bullet Four ... well, I don't have any more health problems than I had before. So I would have to say no to this one, for me. 

Bullet Five ... I hope not!  But I've seen it happen.  Please, God, not me!  Way too much to do and accomplish still. 

Bullet Six and Seven ... no sign of either yet. 

I don't mean to put too much attention on my particular caregiving experience ... it's just that reading about it made me think about it all, am thinking about how it effects other caregivers, the ones who do it for a living.  How difficult that must be!  Right now we have two good ones, morning ones. And I'm very happy with them.  Both are conscientious, kind, and caring, know what they're doing.  I'm so grateful!  

So here's to the terrific caregivers of the world!  You are the best!   May all your wishes come true! 





Monday, December 29, 2014

DUKE'S IN CAMBRIA

Yep, it's Duke Ellington himself.  Have written 'Duke's Place' and am directing the play/musical revue of the man and his music till the show closes Jan 18.  The Pewter Plough Playhouse, guys ... in Cambria CA.  It's been quite an experience after all these years having been sort of out of the play directing business ... 10 years, I believe it has been.  Of course I've been writing plays all along, just not producing or directing them.  So I feel blessed to be able to do it once again.  Stirs old memories.

So ... I'm in Cambria CA ... have taken on the responsibility of overseeing the operations at the Pewter Plough Playhouse as co-landlord with hubby Jim Buckley.  Although he's 102 years old, you would never believe how energetic and aggressive he is.  He asked me to help, so here I am. Helping. And it came at a good time for me, really did.  We're getting ready to sign a lease with a new tenant in the cafe portion of the PPP ... Italian food ... can't wait to watch it materialize before our eyes.  Long in coming.

I do miss my home in Arizona though, just the house not the state, not an Arizona fan at all.  If  I could move the house and its contents here, I'd be perfectly happy.   As it is I'll be going after my 4 cats in January after the show closes, am missing my babies terribly.   The thing is ... this house in Cambria is also a fab place.  Very very nice.  Ocean view, set in the pines ... deer and other critters wandering around it, beautiful setting, and a beautiful home.  So, you might say I've got the best of both worlds.  How did this happen to me?

Today I'm working on the accounts, something I've taken over from the previous accountant. Mondays is set aside for that ... but right now, after putting JB down for a nap, I'm taking a little break to catch up on some Internet stuff.  I'm way behind on updating my web site as well as this blog.

So have a terrific New Year's Eve, and I hope your Christmas Holidays were joyous ... ours was.

Ciao ...


Thursday, August 7, 2014

HOW TO KEEP YOUR SANITY - Dealing with People who are Delusional

Having met many people in my lifetime and having dealt with a good percentage of them, as well as having had personal relationships with some ... on occasion a delusional person crosses my path.  I think the most frustrating element of this type of person is it is impossible to have an amenable discussion or a meeting of the minds with him/her. Impossible. Below are some descriptions of delusional disorder taken from WebMD.com.  
"Delusional disorder, previously called paranoid disorder, is a type of serious mental illness involving a specific kind of psychosis. Psychosis is the inability to tell what is real from what is imagined. The main feature of delusional disorder is the presence of delusions -- unshakable beliefs in something untrue. People with delusional disorder experience non-bizarre delusions, which involve situations that could occur in real life, such as being followed, poisoned, deceived, conspired against, or loved from a distance. These delusions usually involve the misinterpretation of perceptions or experiences. In reality, however, the situations are either not true at all or highly exaggerated."
One of my previous neighbors, in her late forties and living with her mother, was delusional in the sense that she believed a film star was going to marry her, she was actually planning on it, said they were engaged. (I've had two friends like this.) When I asked her if she'd heard that the actor had just married someone else, she said he did it for publicity and it was a front. Now, I knew there was no way that hunk would have had any interest in my neighbor, just not possible, and I won't go into the reasons here. Just believe me, it was not possible. She was delusional, big time.  This is called:

Erotomanic Type:  delusions that another person, usually of higher status, is in love with the individual

Another quote from WebMD ...
"People with delusional disorder often can continue to socialize and function normally, apart from the subject of their delusion, and generally do not behave in an obviously odd or bizarre manner. This is unlike people with other psychotic disorders, who also might have delusions as a symptom of their disorder. In some cases, however, people with delusional disorder might become so preoccupied with their delusions that their lives are disrupted."
One other type of delusional persons I've known are those that don't see things as they really are, feel they are being mistreated, creating their own reality and nothing can dissuade them. Exaggeration is a huge part of their dialog.  They'll even take what is said or done and twist it, putting their own slant on it, and then pass that on to others.  Very perplexing to say the least, but nothing you can change or address.  They also pick and choose what to remember. They can't tell what is real or imagined.  This is called: 

Persecutory Type:  delusions that the person is being malevolently treated in some way

One person I knew would make a statement about something that you wouldn't necessarily agree with and didn't care to comment on, and if you didn't say anything she would keep talking and would interpret your silence as if you were in agreement.  My friends and I knew the person did this to everybody, we all knew it. So if she said so and so told her this or that, which was her habit, we knew better.  She was delusional. 
I also knew a gal who believed evil witches were after her. Black crows signified their presence, even black SUVs passing by the house carried witches.  Oh boy!  That was quite an experience ... she was a roommate, and very paranoid and delusional in several ways. 
Then there are those who believe they have serious medical problems and exaggerate every time a minor illness strikes.  We've all known this type of delusional disorder existing in at least one of our friends or family members. I've known quite a few.  This is called: 

Somatic Type: delusions that the person has some physical defect or general medical condition

Sad to say . . .  a delusional disorder is harmful to the one owning it AND to those who are on the other side of it. No one wins. As an onlooker or recipient, you have no defense from a delusional person's attack, especially if he/she isn't being treated. But realizing that the person has this disorder and separating yourself from it's effects, if you can, is the best recourse for you.   Not easy sometimes, and not very pleasant to end contact, but in most cases, necessary in my book. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

HOW TO KEEP YOUR SANITY - Reaction to Cruelty - Part One

How many times do you work yourself into a tizzy because of what you consider cruel, thoughtless treatment to you by others? I'm not talking about physical or sexual abuse here. I'm talking about unkind, deliberate words or actions to demean and hurt your senses. Well, do you know that you can diminish and eliminate the hurt you feel and your reaction to it?

First of all, sit back (or stand back if that's what you're doing at the time) and just observe your reaction. The proverbial slap in the face, the breath taken away, the quickened heartbeat, nausea, the impulse to strike back ... and so on.  Don't resist or attempt to change that reaction. No physical action necessary, however. Calmly and quietly watch the reaction come and go.

I am doing that right this moment as we speak because of discovering a hurtful situation a few moments ago. Okay, I'm observing my reaction.

We are not to call the perpetrating thoughts our own thoughts, because they aren't. They belong to the one or ones who generated the injury to your feelings.  Those original words, deeds, or thoughts don't have any power whatsoever, they are just trying to enforce power over you.

So, number one, be aware of your reaction and then watch it come and go, for it will go, it will.  Takes practice.

This had been very useful to me and most certainly builds inner strength. It gives you the ability to take command and full responsibility for your reactions to whatever is said to, against, or happens to you.   Whatever slight and hurt you feel, whether it comes from family or friends or coworkers or strangers ... you are in control of what you do with your reaction. So, be calm, let it dissipate, whatever it is. Realize that it isn't part of you. Your reaction and action is you, yes, but that you can control ... you can watch it come in one window and go out the other.  And if it revisits, watch it again ... in one window out the other.

I'm working on it right now.  lol lol  It's doing its job ... I'm smiling.

I have a wonderful book that I refer to for help with many life situations and spiritual thinking ... THE POWER OF YOUR SUPERMIND.  I've given copies to many of my friends over the years. It really is my Bible.  And the above teaching is from that book.

We're asked, "What commands you?" And the book says "You are commanded by anything above your own psychic level."  That's why a person on a lower psychic level (look up psychic levels) has trouble and problems with both self and other people. Conflicts are above him, out of reach of handling ... he joins them, creates them, is in the throes of them, wreaking havoc in the lives around him.

We're also asked and are told, "What can you command? You are in command of everything that is below your own psychic level. If you are above cruelty in yourself, you cannot be commanded by the cruelty of others."

WOW!  Isn't that terrific?

"If your level is higher than hysteria, you are immune to the mass hysteria of mankind, expressing itself in fighting and deceit."

I mean to tell you, think about this.  Where do you see yourself?

AND if you practice the steps above ... sit back and watch it come and go ... "your mind can control everything in your life because of its supreme power to react correctly to everything."

Okay, I feel better already.  At least when it comes to my reaction.