I ask her if she ever thinks of giving up. I get a huge buzz from people trusting me and allowing me to make them feel better.
She only decided to train as a nurse halfway through her studies, after taking a part-time job in a care home for elderly people. It was so formative.
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Eight years on, she has just become a nurse specialist in inherited cardiac conditions. It is tough, not just on an emotional and physical level.
Do writing and making poetry help her to process the psychological demands of the job? It is a buzz, it is a hit. Having an idea marinating in my head is absolute joy. But still, I was hugely drawn to the literary devices and poetic techniques of these artists and the seductive quality of the way they rhyme and I still very much am. It really is absolute poetry, and when he performs it is often very stripped back, like spoken word.
His music has brought me so much peace and joy and excitement and inspiration. Nursing, however, provides the most inspiration of all. And my answer is yes. On the wards, I see poetry in the everyday, day after day.
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The spring sun lavishes its gold touch on the water, gilds the sweep of Bradford Beach, steeps budding trees along the bluffs in honeyed light. The sun is a burden to her. My mother hardly ever goes outside anymore.
When I come in to visit, she tells me about all the places she wants me to take her: shopping, to the movies, back to New York just one more time, to Cape Cod, out for a fancy dinner, to visit her sister who died 20 years ago … A few of her wishes would be easy to grant, so I show up at least once a week with an outing in mind. My mother proves all but immovable. Today, after lots of cajoling, I manage to guide her to my car, stow her walker in back, dig out that extra pair of dark glasses, and, take her for a drive.
His parents had immigrated to New York, where McCourt was born, but soon moved back to Ireland, where they hoped relatives could help them with their four children. Often times, caretakers of dementia patients feel isolated and alone. I am an RN and have a 30 plus year career taking care of patients. Gonyea, PhD. Fredman is an epidemiologist whose research focuses on the health effects of informal caregiving and the health impact of positive affect.
I imagine my father closing the door behind us with a deep sigh. He cannot acknowledge his need for a break from the relentless demands of caregiving. Though I live ten blocks from my parents and they are registered with two eldercare agencies, he refuses assistance as a point of pride: he does not need help. He finally relents.
It seldom works out well. My mother is uncomfortable and fidgety in my car. I have no idea how impossible it will become to take her anywhere. I have no idea what lies ahead. At this moment it matters to me that she should open her eyes and engage with the world outside. I catch sight of a stand of lilacs to the right overhanging the tennis courts. Do you know it? The sound track of my own childhood memories is rich with the sweet lilt of her voice reciting Keats and Wordsworth, then rising into her favorite turn-of-the-century parlor songs as my sister and I drowsed on our pillows waiting for her goodnight kisses.
How much more can she recall now, I wonder? Can you?