(1019 words – 5 minute read)
There is a TV show called “Getting On”. It takes place in a nursing home. I work part-time in an assisted living home, which is one step up from a nursing home. I have worked in nursing homes. Waiting to die is what they are doing. I call it the dead zone.
My mother, when she reached her 80’s, said she was in the departure lounge (waiting for her flight out of here) and that’s how it is in assisted living. I call out the numbers at bingo and give an exercise class. The rest of the time they watch TV, eat and sleep.
It’s a backwater; out of the stream of life and it’s involvement in becoming this or that, in gain and loss. The game is over; all that remains are pastimes to pass time. Maybe an occasional thought arises: “What was that all about?” But as well as the body the mind is tired. All we have are vague reminiscing, stories of farm life, husbands gone, children far away; scraps of fragile memory; faint reminders of who we used to be.
Bernie Sanders is 74 and running for president so we’re not there yet, but it looms on the horizon. There is a chill in the air of my endless summer. Priorities shift. If you’re going to do it, do it soon.
Continue reading Getting On
(411 words – 2 minute read)
We teach tai chi and we have copies of a teaching video (1990) by our teacher Loo-chi Hu.
We’re sending a copy to our dear friend Victoria, (webmaster of this site) who has done some tai chi in the past and wants to take it up again. It’s not an easy practice. Eighty or so moves performed in an intricate, slow moving dance. So I sent her this note, which Amy suggested I post. So here it is.
Continue reading Tai Chi
(1533 words – 7 1/2 minute read)
This therapy thing is not a complicated deal once you get the hang of it. It’s probably because over the years most of the ‘technique’ has become internalized, a natural thing – like knowing your name.
A client was referred to me by Dr. Thompson, our prescribing psychologist at the Behavioral Health Center at our local hospital.
He was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). I forget if he was taking meds for it or had refused the drugs. Clients who had refused medication therapy were often referred to me. I like to know what the real situation is. I have enough confidence in my ability to help them not to want what is going on with them obscured by dulling medications. Otherwise I’m only as skilled as the social workers in the clinic: checking on how the ‘meds’ are working, and dispensing encouraging advice.
I once had a client who had to hold onto the walls to stay upright and couldn’t form words easily. Time to ease up on the meds!
Anyway, let’s call our client John, in his 30’s and single. He couldn’t leave his house in the morning to go to work without checking the locks so many times he was frequently late for work and worried all day that the house was open or his dog would get out of the yard.
In the first session I addressed his situation as a memory problem. I figured that if John had a way of knowing he had locked his door, then he would be relieved of one aspect of his anxiety.
Continue reading Asleep at the Wheel & Out of Focus