Archive | December 2015

The other side of the scrub line

I’ve been a hospital staff nurse for ten years, taking care of the acutely ill. But when it’s your grandmother asking, “what should I do to help him?!”, it’s completely different. My answer as a nurse would be, “These are the options the doctor has given you, (explain again x, y, z)”. My answer as a granddaughter, is very different.

My grandfather, Eli Samuel, was one of the two prominent male figures in my life while growing up. Living in a two family home, with my grandparents living down stairs for fifteen years, it was inevitable. As a minister for the United Methodist Church, he preached the word of God and did His work by helping areas, foreign and domestic, building new churches. But to me, he was grandpa.

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I use past tense there, because for the last few years he and my grandmother had been dealing with his worsening dementia. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in March 2015.

Memorial Day weekend, my grandfather was admitted to a Philadelphia area hospital after he was found unresponsive in their hotel room. Three weeks later he passed away in arms of his wife of 57 years, holding his eldest granddaughter’s hand, the day after my birthday.

One in 9 older Americans

25 million globally

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The Alzheimer’s website (alz.org) tells the world these staggering statistics.

My college pathology books tells me the signs and symptoms, etiologies, management, and nursing considerations when caring for these patients.

When your family member is affected, it all becomes too real. Every worse case scenario screams in your head. Every bad code, every horrible prognosis, every complication plagues your thoughts, and your dreams.

 

 

 

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That’s us, on my first birthday. Now, I don’t remember that day, but it’s the one I’m gonna remember. Me with a crazy giggle, I’m sure, and him looking down on me with love, and a whole lot of patience.

I know my life will be different without him. Yet the faith that was exemplified by Rev. Eli Samuel Rivera, that, as Grandpa, he nurtured in his “kiddies” will help me and my family through another holiday without  his presence.

My career has taught me to separate my personal opinions and feelings, and yet use them to provide compassionate care to those healing, or dying, while  in my charge. It isn’t always easy. Patients I’ve treated since my grandfather’s passing, have brought me back to the decisions we made for him, versus the ones I see being made for those living with Alzheimer’s.

In the end, I’ve learned, yet again, that although life can suck sometimes, people can make decisions you disagree with and people can say things that you find appalling, but as my mother said in a previous post, “It’s  been a good year. Every year is a good year when you get right down to it. If you are reading this post, you have been a part of my joy. I have prayed for you, I have laughed with you, you have been a part of my life no matter what. And I thank you.”

So, thank you Grandpa, I will probably cry hearing Jose Felicano’s Felix Navidad this year because every time I hear it, I think of you. I’m grateful you were in my life and I’ll think of you teaching Jesus that shuffle you called dancing. Ill be sure to do your shuffle while caring for my patients while I work this Christmas.

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Jillian de la Hoz, RN, BSN, Mariposa Social Guest Contributor
aka Eli Samuel’s granddaughter

The Power of One

the power of oneWe are living in troubled times. Terror attacks in Paris. Domestic terror attack in California. Donald Trump spewing hatred and climbing higher in the polls. Justice Scalia claiming that African-Americans should stick to “slower” Universities. The threat of mass deportation. Where does it end? How can an average person fight back? Do we all need to buy a super hero cape and go out to fight the perils or do we just sit at our computers and be digital activists? I actually have an answer for you.

A few years ago, I attended a juvenile justice conference titled The Power of One. While the conference focused on how the power of one arrest, one call to Court Intake, and one decision to detain a juvenile can make a difference in one juvenile’s life, I came away with a larger perspective. What if we actually gave a shit and decided to take care of our little corner of the world. What if we picked up a piece of trash and threw it into a garbage can. What if we helped a little old lady cross the street. What if we told a neighbor that their car’s headlights were on. Simple shit.

We, on our own, cannot take on the world’s woes. We, well those of us who actually vote, rely on the people who we place in positions of power to take on the woes of our country. The rest of us are left to make a difference in our own communities. Can you mentor? Do it. Can you become a foster parent? Do it. Can you stop your car at a stop sign? Do it. It’s that fucking simple. The traffic light is red. Stop. Are you going to turn the corner with your car? Yield to pedestrians. Must I go on?

The power of one. One decision to enrich your corner of the world. One decision to aid a writer hoping to attend VONA. One decision to assist a playwright to get their work to a larger audience. One phone call to a friend in need. Do it.

Be a Father. Be a Mother. Be a friend. Do it.

Recycle. Reuse. Do it.

Register to vote. Be careful with your vote. Help a senior citizen get to the voting location. Do it.

Just do it. You have the power of One. One of 319 million in the USA. If you are Latino, one of 54 million (65 million, if we count the undocumented) in the USA. Just imagine if we ALL used the power of One for good. Just imagine.

The power of One.