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H A P P Y    N E W    Y E A R!

Thursday December 28,  2006, Issue #307

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From The Editor

A New Year's Resolution Revolution

At the end of each December, as the pages close on yet another calendar year, I find myself trying to elicit a defining theme from  the events of the previous twelve months. This year I have heard many stories from caregivers reminding me there is still one issue of great importance to the relationship between family caregivers and health care professionals—  communication.

Recently, Fred, a close family friend who has been living with Parkinson’s disease for the past five years was rushed to the hospital complaining of extreme dizziness and nausea. An eighty-four year old former Navy commander, Fred is used to being if not in charge, at least in the know. He and his wife, Anita, have been involved in all aspects of his care, learning all they can about his diagnoses and even discussing new treatment options with his physicians.

So it became worrisome when after a night in the emergency room hallway, as he was being admitted to the hospital, Fred was told that a spot was discovered on his lung. From Wednesday night to Monday morning, they were not told another thing until an attending physician appeared in Fred’s room to announce to the couple that Fred’s condition was terminal and due to his advanced age, there would be no medical options available for his treatment. He then turned and left the room.  Fred and Anita have gone from too little information to information overload within the course of a few short days.  The truth is that the medical care this couple received was exemplary, but above and beyond that, all they needed was to be “kept in the loop”, to be given information in a considerate manner and to be treated as partners in care.

Although the professionals who care for our loved ones do a remarkable job under unimaginable circumstances, a good additional new year’s resolution must be made to take an extra moment and consider the effects that little, no or inappropriate communications have on both patients and caregivers.

After all, we need all the partners we can get.

Happy New Year. 

Take care
Gary Barg



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Feature Article

Embarrassed About Incontinence?  Don’t Be
By Michael Plontz, Staff Writer


One thing that most caregivers have in common is dealing with incontinence in their loved ones or themselves.....Continued

Additional Articles:

The Gift of Now
by: Ann Fowler

A hedge row stitches suede sky to prairie patches.
I brake for a weathered, red truck and read the “eat beef” bumper sticker..  ...Continued

Respite: Enjoy a Guilt-free Time-out
By Kate Murphy, RN

Why is it that the words “respite” and “guilt” seems to go hand in hand?....Continued


Guest Column

Caregivers New Year's Resolution
by Kristine Dwyer, LSW


In this new year, I will..
Learn to take one hour out of each day just for myself to read, enjoy a hot bath, journal my thoughts or call a friend. . ..Continued


Top Ten Things For Caregivers To Start Doing
for the Approaching New Year

1. Keep records of all medications and reactions: make notes about what works, what doesn’t and when you informed the physician of any problems. ...Continued



My emotions are so confused right now. They've been confused for about 6 months now. On June 9th, 2006, my fiancé was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. He was admitted to the hospital the day he was diagnosed and stayed there for 4 weeks. 3 months ago, he went into another hospital for a stem cell (Bone Marrow) transplant and was in there for 6 weeks. He came home on the 2nd of October. I feel overwhelmed with taking care of him even though most of his care is given by his mother. I take over when I come home from work at night. I haven't had a real day off since June, and I started a new Job two days before he went into the hospital the second time. I feel lucky that I found my new job because not only is it less stressful, it pays better, and the hours are much easier to handle. Also, with his condition, I wouldn't have been able to stay at my old job because I used to work with animals, and he is now extremely immunodeficient. I feel guilty because I'm not home taking care of him. I feel guilty enjoying my time at work and feel that I don't have the right to feel overwhelmed. I never see any of my friends, so the only one I have to talk to about my feelings is him. I try not to burden him with how I'm feeling. My family is 200 miles away.

We are still planning our wedding for next June. We had chosen our date only 6 weeks before he was diagnosed. Everything happened so fast. I faced losing him (and still do). If I lose him, I lose everything.

I focus my extra energy on planning our wedding, because I need something to look forward to. I want to give him a beautiful wedding. I feel lucky that I have a good enough job and he is receiving disability so that I don't have to rely too much on my family to help me pay for the wedding. Things are going so much better than I ever could have hoped. But why do I still feel so crappy? I'm tired and his mother is driving me crazy. I wish she would go back to her home, but if she did, I wouldn't be able to take care of him the way he needs. He's incredibly independent and is able to do most things on his own, but the doctors still say he needs 24-hour care. We are also incredibly lucky that we live in the same city as one of the top-ranked Bone marrow transplant centers in the world - we didn't need to relocate. I know how lucky we are and how much worked in our favor. But I can't help feeling like a victim and I hate feeling that way.

I feel cheated and I feel that he was cheated because of his disease. We are both only 23 years old and haven't really been given a chance to build a life together.


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Inside This Issue:

From the Editor
A New Year's
Resolution Revolution

Feature Article
Guest Column
New Year's Resolution

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