Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tentative Decision on Volunteering.

After writing about wanting to find somewheres where I can volunteer. BabyGirl's friend had posted on Facebook that June was not her month. I felt like God was sending me a sign so I set up a fundraiser here. You can also find the widget on my home page of this blog. I am begging you, if you have a spare dollar, it would be so appreciated if you would donate.

That same day I reread the blog post and prayed. I thanked him for giving me the direction with Victoria. 

I also talked to my mom. I told her my inner conflicts.  She told me what she was doing for her Hospice client and explained to me what Hospice duties a volunteer can do. She suggested since I was unsure I should write or call the Volunteer Coordinator.

So I emailed the Coordinator, summarized what I was thinking and what led me to the organization.

She told me I sounded so sweet like my Mom. She suggested I go there and talk with her. So I did a few days later.

I talked candidly to her about my reservations working with the patients directly. 

Although I know Cancer is not contagious, family members around could be ill and I have a low immune system.

I've worked with the elderly and tend to get attached to them. When they die I take it hard sometimes.

I want to volunteer but I don't want to 7 days a week.

I told her about my near death experiences although she knew some of it from my mom.

She explained the things a volunteer can do. There were many I could be interested in.

So I filled completed the paper work. They have to do a criminal background check etc. In September I go to the training class. 

After talking to the sweet volunteer coordinator and with three individuals telling me I could help with Hospice, I think God is helping me along the way.

I think it is closest to nursing that I'll get.

I am researching on the burial idea. It will definitely be complicated but have not made a definitive decision yet.

Do you know anyone who worked at Hospice or was a client?


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Infected Foot Biopsied

I finally had a visit with a dermatologist for my foot. The problem is described in an earlier post. I've been struggling with it for 9 months. I went to my family doctor twice for it and got two different diagnoses and treatments. The treatments made it a little better but it kept recurring.

Recently, my foot has been so bad that when I put socks on, my skin sticks to it and it just pulls the skin off. I can hardly hobble on the other foot because that foot is also starting to have the rash. 

When Dr M., my dermatologist came in, she looked at my foot and exclaimed, "Oh baby, your foot is severely infected!"

Shocked, I asked, "What?!"

She repeated it was severely infected and we needed to find the cause. She turned and started rambling to her nurse. 

Then she turned to me and asked me how long I've had this. I told her about 9 months but it wasn't this bad the whole time.

She said she needed to biopsy it and do a culture on it.

Whoa! Wait a minute! Did she say biopsy? I thought okay I'm going to have to come back.

I asked when. She said, "Now." 

I watched the nurse filling a syringe with a big needle. I am not afraid of needles but it was just freaking me out a little. 

I asked her how was she going to do the biopsy now? 

She said she would inject my foot to numb it and get a sample. When she put the light over my foot, she said it was flowing pus.

I know! EWWWWWWWWW! It grossed me out.

Pus? I knew it was drainage but it never dawned on me that it was pus.

All I felt was the sting of the medicine injecting into my foot. In less than a minute, they were finished.

She put me on antibiotics and gave me a different cream.

When I asked for her educated guess what this could be she said she didn't know but maybe psoriasis or fungal infection. She promised that she will find out the origin of the problem and make it healthy.

She put a band aid on the biopsy site. The next day the pain was excruciating.  It's sorta like I am stomping on nails. Sometimes I just want to cry.

Walking on it is just almost impossible. I have ruined so many socks with the drainage and then peeling off the skin as well. I have tried gauze and that sticks too.

I have come up with a solution. It is weird. I have feminine pads, I don't know why. I found them in the back of my cabinet. I have the maxi pads with the wings and pantyliners. I took the maxi pad and cut in half. Then I put them together taping it to my soles of my feet for the night. During the day I have the pantyliner taped to my foot It slides off and I have to retape it, maybe I need new tape.  But I figure it protects my foot from the ground and keeps the cream on. I don't plan on going anywhere for the next few days so I don't have to wear shoes.

There is never a dull moment in my life medically for sure.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Give Forward: A Request

I am so excited. God answered my prayers. He has given me direction.

After writing my last post I went to Facebook. A friend of my daughter's wrote on Facebook that June was not her month. She is 21 years old and her cancer has returned. This child has been through the ringer since she was 14.

I remember her coming over to my hime with my daughter.  One day she was limping. I asked her what was wrong and she didn't know. Her mom brought her to the doctor and she had Osteosarcoma of the tibia.

Osteosarcoma is cancer of the bone. Through the 7 years it has metastasized to her lungs, abdomen and other areas. She has been through a lot of chemo, and surgeries.

She is a fighter.

Even with her world upside down she focused on her education and graduated on time. She has had it rough.

She had a job and a boyfriend who cares for her deeply. She was in remission for a bit but last month it has returned.

She was working her father.  Since the cancer has come back she and her boyfriend has had to miss work to bring her to treatments. Her father fired both of them. In my opinion, it is cold-hearted.

Since she has no income she needs a little help for daily living and gas to go to treatments. I have started a fundraiser at Giveforward.com. If you have heart and a few dollars for donation, you can give it here.

Even if you can't donate I would appreciate it if you shared this story to everyone and ask them to donate, whether it be $1, $5 or whatever. Anything will be appreciated.

God Bless!

Monday, July 7, 2014

What is my Volunteer Vocation?

Lately, I have been having this feeling of unworthiness. Through the years I've missed my nursing but more so recently. I thought about volunteering at a nursing home but there could be sickness that my immune system won't be able to fight. The very reason why my doctor put me on disability.

A few years ago I had tried to be a Big Sister but it is not working out. There are few Little Sisters that need help or they are not a good match for me. Although no one said it I know it is harder to match me since I have a physical handicap and mothers are not comfortable with that fact. And that is fine. I am very protective of my own!

I've been researching volunteer websites and praying on it.

When I went to arrange my pre-burial and found out about what happens when a family member cannot afford to bury them or they have no one it has weighed on my heart. I know the church may bury these people and other organizations may step in but I feel something more can be done.

I started researching about indigent burials etc and an idea formed.

What if I could come up with some kind of organization that I can find businesses and people to donate to?I could put my name at all the funeral homes and when God took someone whose families couldn't pay or they were alone they could contact me and then I could help and arrange to pay for their funeral.

I found this site GiveForward. However as I asked questions I realized it wasn't what I was trying to do. It was more for a specific person or cause. My cause is more broader.

I did not know where to start.  My retreat was coming up so I decided to wait and talk to the Priest, Father Neyrey. I prayed that he could give me direction.

God answered my prayer. Father Neyrey was wonderful as always. Some friends told me it was a huge undertaking. Father agreed. However, he gave me some sound suggestions and taught me a few things

He also encouraged me to stay with the idea but reminded me of some things.

First, it doesn't matter what you are buried in as the body will turn into ashes and your soul will leave it. 

Second, anyone can do a eulogy at a grave site and it doesn't necessarily need a service. He even said if I felt so strongly about a person having to have that 'blessing' I could even go to the funeral site and pray for the soul.

He praised me saying I have such a comforting feeling of death that few people have. He believes God is calling me to do something pertaining to death. He delicately warned me I may not be able to help everyone and suggested I start by concentrating on a smaller scale like one poorer parish. 

He discouraged me going to a Funeral Director because he said their business is to get money. He related some history of how eons ago, people were just buried in the ground, with no casket. In certain terms, he implied funeral homes were not necessary.  

He saw my genuine concern and my mind blocking the idea of just burying someone in a hole.So he instructed me to do research on what is required for a casket/urn, talk to the parish director and go from there. He also noted that I won't be able to do everything myself. He gave me some ideas like maybe contact a building contractor who may volunteer to build a casket, a couple of times a year. 

Father told me I need to listen to God. He thought it was a good idea and encouraged me to keep at it but also forewarned that this may be a long process. This burial idea may just be a beginning of something different God has for me. It may not even be what I am thinking. However. I have such a positive outlook on death because of my experiences, I should also consider volunteering for Hospice in addition to or in place of this burial idea. Either way it is an act of mercy. 

Father certainly gave me a lot to think about.

I also had the chance to speak with the two directors at the retreat. I was able to relate to a lot of things they said. I decided to go and at least thank them for sharing their stories and letting them know they spoke to me. 

One was a nurse like I was. We worked the same length of time except she was in Pediatrics and I was in Geriatrics. We related to each other so well.

Both of the directors dealt with cancer themselves or a family member. They faced death like I did. And they both independently, not knowing what Father or the other claimed I would be a good candidate for Hospice.

I went to the chapel and asked God if he was talking to me through them. He is still working not the answer and I'm striving to listen and move along on faith that I am going the direction God is pointing.

I had considered Hospice on occasion. My mom is a Hospice Volunteer and she enjoys it. 

However, I am hesitant. I worked with dying people. I felt so much compassion and I loved these people. However, I get attached to patients. It gets hard to watch them die or they just die suddenly. 

I guess working in a Nursing home is similar to Hospice. Taking care of patients and they do eventually die in the Nursing home. It is a shorter time dealing with Hospice patients.

I will have to deal with death regardless if I volunteer for Hospice or otherwise.

I am still researching the burial idea and am in progress to see if Hospice is for me.

Have you done any volunteer work?  I would love to hear your experience.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

RETURNING FROM RETREAT

I spent the first part of my week at a retreat.  It was held at the lovely Our Lady of the Oaks Retreat House in Grand Coteau, just a couple of miles from my abode.

The retreat is a silent retreat which means you cannot talk so you can listen to Jesus' spirit talk and reflect. It's easier than one may think. It is nice not to have the pressure of having to make conversation.

I feel the need to reconnect to God sometimes. The retreat allows me to do just that.

The retreat is given by Jesuit Priests and well-trained laypeople called Retreat Directors. It is based on the teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola. There are conferences with a time of reflection after each.

The grounds are so beautiful with the huge oak trees, flowers and plants the retreatant can explore at any time. Every time I walk around I always find something new. I enjoy just sitting either in the green rickety rocker near my room or in the middle of the courtyard and watch the squirrels. They are some amazing creatures.

There are plenty of benches, chairs, rockers throughout the grounds to sit and enjoy the quietness.The retreatant can visit the beautiful quaint Chapel or large library where you can either read or buy books at any time. There is also voluntary face to face chats with the Directors or Priests.

Although the conferences are based on Catholicism, any religion is welcomed.

Reconciliation, saying the rosary, Anointing of the Sick and Mass are also included.

Once you enter the gates, you don't have to worry about anything.
Bells are rung to wake you up and before each activity.

Food is prepared by 4 lovely cooks. The head of the kitchen is Ms. Maria who has worked there for almost 48 years. The food is freshly prepared and delicious. There are also fruit, cookies and drinks that are available at any time.

I remember years ago my Mom had finally persuaded my sister and I to go with her. Through the years I went several times on occasion. For the past 3-4 years I've been going at least once a year in addition to Hubby and I going to the Married Couple's Retreat.

It is like a mini vacation from the world. I would recommend anyone to go. I am sure a retreat can be found near where you live.

More on what I learned later.

God Bless.