Parents & Caretakers, You Have the Power Too!

Dear Parents and Caretakers;

You all have more power than you know.
You are all more capable than you give yourself credit for.
You have the ability to create a fuller, easier day-to-day life by learning one important life skill:

‘Asking for help’

During those times when you may be feeling something may be too challenging for you to take on or you may be worrying about how to reach an important goal –ask someone for help.

In my experience, when my grandmother had been placed in a newly credited rehabilitation center, we all had concerns about her future. Grandma had never experienced a medical set-back and she needed help in understanding the rehabilitation process, hospital in-patient life and she needed comfort to reduce any undue stress and worry.

As a family we collectively and individually asked staff members questions concerning her treatment plans and long-term goals. And more so, questions Grandma seemed too intimidated to ask for herself. She experienced overwhelm early in her treatment process and we responded by alleviating the initial shock and disorientation.

She acclimated and over time, she became more empowered to ask for help with greater ease and confidence.

Asking for help is both an individual and team sport.

You loved one has specific needs, goals, aspirations and
You have specific needs, goals and aspirations.
Learning to ask for help for yourself is pivotal. Just as the flight attendants ask the parent or guardian to place the oxygen mask on you first so you can be healthy to provide assistance for your child and charge. Your functioning optimally increases your loved one’s success rate.

You are important and during those difficult, challenging moments, you can ask for help for yourself as well as on behalf of your child, parent – loved one.

Learning to ask for help is a universal life skill not selective for the disabled or caretakers of the disabled.

Learning to ask for help is a UNIVERSAL life skill.

Asking for help means you are finding solutions to make your life stronger, easier and successful.

Asking for help allows you the opportunity to use resources available to you to make your life the best life possible.

You can turn to others for assistance, people who can do their best to accommodate your/child’s specific needs. Remember, you have needs to function in the world. Everyone has them.

By learning to ask for help, you can improve your life by leaps and bounds.

Here is a short list of people you can begin to learn to ask for help from:

Your child/parent/charge
Family members
Teachers
Guidance counselors
Doctors
Nurses
Friends
Physical therapists
Occupational therapists
Your local township
Your local county

You don’t have to carry your troubles on your shoulders alone. You do not have to fill your time and fill your mind trying to figure out how to accomplish a goal.

Ask for help.

You have the power.

Your possibilities are endless.

Living Life to the Best of Your Possibilities
copywrite 2014 Victoria Kaloss

How About that November!

Flew by like a cloud caught in a between damp autumn and winter blast.

I started out November here-
Orange cloud sunset

And ended here-
For Grebes

Yup, I traveled. Again.
I have grown fond stepping down my custom side-door stairs. My physical therapist designed the wooden steps to accommodate my elevated walker with armrests. The contractor obliged although he believed I simply needed to decide not to need a walker ever again.
Hmmm, interesting thought. Just decide – choose ‘I will never need my walker ever again.’
In actuality, the builder had a point. Just decide.
After having fallen on the beach during an Aruba vacation, I suffered soft tissue damage. For the remainder of the vacation I possessed power, conscious choices as to how to spend my time.

I decided to enjoy the weather.
I decided to read outside on the first floor handicapped room porch.
I decided to use the wheelchair instead of staying in my room.
I decided to make the vacation the best of my possibility.
I decided not to walk on sand.
I had decided to take a huge leap of faith when I walked on sand years later on vacation in Jacksonville, Florida.

Many decisions and choices I have made stemmed from courage, faith, fear and love.

I have learned to never say never.
I have learned to never make promises you can’t keep; including myself.

I choose to make the best decisions I can in any given situation. What more can I or anyone ask of themselves?

November flew like a cloud
Flew by like a cloud caught in a between damp autumn and winter blast.
I started out November in Lido Beach, Florida-
And ended, home, at the Jersey Shore-

Oh, by the way, this vacation I decided to go into the Gulf of Mexico. I haven’t touched seawater, the Ocean or pool water since that trip I fell in Aruba.

P1050908 (1024x768)

Some decisions come later than others. I can live with that-
living life to the best of my possibility

NEW NAME

Yes. I changed the name of my Blog. Why?
First and foremost, I reserve the right to change my mind.
Second, I implemented the right to change my mind.

The new name, ‘Living Life to the Best of Your Possibility’, lends a positive arc.
The mission for this Blog is for people from all walks of life, to discover self-empowerment, inspiration, education and advocacy.
Through sharing either my own or others’ stories, we are able to create community and open communication for the betterment of people with and/or without disabilities.

These opportunities to share create ‘possibilities’ for an enhanced global experience, for authentic inclusion, for deeper
connection for Self and with others.

Here is an example.

Last week I attended the National Poetry Slam 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. I attended to support our local team, LoserSlam, compete for the National Title. The team didn’t win the competition. We are celebrating their return with Stanley Cup Champion fanfare. We applaud the poets, not the scores-a NPS mantra.

We did commune. Our supporters and poets found each other, encouraged each other during bouts, shared meals and shared experiences collectively and individually. The interaction(s) proved authentic interaction and inclusion is possible.
I participated in workshops by day and Slam Poetry by night.
My crew toured by day. I had chances to walk about during the day. I chose to stay within the hotel and attend workshops. This sovereign choice left energy for night life within the Poetry Slam hub.
Did I want to go on walking tours? Yes.
Did I want to go to the museums? Yes.
The transit system(s) did offer ample disabled provisions.
Did I get frustrated? Yes.
Did I have a blast during the evening? Yes.
Did I leave myself the opportunity to remain in good health by forfeiting daytime jaunts? Yes.
Did the National Poetry Slam 2013 deliver inspiring poetic entertainment? You bet.
Education? Absolutely.
Ice cream? Deliciousness in a cup.
My choices allowed me to enjoy the event. I can return to Boston with the intention of touring. I drove there once, I can drive there again.
The point is –
I attended NPS 2013.
I participated.
The first NPS 2013 workshop specifically tailored time-slot for people with visible and invisible disabilities. This was the first workshop gathering disabled poets. We organized and created a manifesto to improve the event for people with varied abilities. With the power of the collective, we can create a positive impact for future poets and attendees.
Satisfying? Beyond measure.
My choice to go, leave my comfort zone, endure personal bouts with self-acceptance, advocate for future poets and attendees and enjoy the company of beloved friends, morph national and international strangers into acquaintances and friends made my first NPS experience pretty amazing.
I would not have changed a moment, even with free will to change my mind.

FYI: The UN Disabilities Treaty / UN CRPD

United Nations Committee for the Rights of People with Disabilities

Here you can find information about the UN Disabilities Treaty.

For those of you interested in learning more about the UN Disabilities Treaty aka: UN CRPD;
I have added the link to the Official Website for your convenience.

Happy reading and Happy advocating!

Time to Bring Mental Health to the Table

The news satiated a few weeks back with a scenes and scenarios, occupying time, space and talk-time covering the stories of murderers, kidnappers, snipers and mass killings.

I kept hearing about innocent lives being taken much too soon and about the gun control reform. This conversation has been yakked ad nauseam to no avail.

As I walked through my living room, my mother fused to the news of the special needs kidnapped boy, his bus driver shot dead before his five-year old eyes immediately prior to being apprehended by his perpetrator.

The news commentator asked a question. His question stunned me. His question traipsed around my thoughts for almost two weeks. His question inspired this post.

I’m paraphrasing here but he asked; why did the kidnapper shoot the bus driver? I don’t understand what his motive was for killing the bus driver?

Granted, I am a trained social worker and even though I am currently under the Social Security Disability system, the question boggled my mind.

The answer is ‘the kidnapper is mentally unstable.’

Herein lays the greater question. Why are mental health services still lacking? After decades of consistent mass murder sprees, why do the mentally imbalanced remain underserved?

And although a handful of states and insurance companies have valiantly elevated mental health services and benefits, these efforts are obviously ineffectual.

The mental health facilities doors closed for good, shut down and locked. Bare boned, long waiting lists, no room at the mental health in-patient units. Mentally ill people seeking out help through voluntary admission, turned away without rhyme or reason.   ‘Try again at a later date.’  What will an emotionally distraught individual do between asking for help and ‘a later date?’

Mental health services need closer attention with a far-reaching vision toward a less violent future. Refusing mental health patients appropriate care serves no one; not the patient, not their families, not the citizenship–nobody.

There is no singular or simple solution to mass violence. Like any gray-zone issue. However, refusing to deal with the emotionally and socially disturbed medically, socially, culturally and politically, simply perpetuates violence on any scale.

The news reporter’s question spoke eons, mental health issues are far from the minds and hearts of media–until a catastrophic event. The headlines written for shock and entertainment value, fuel fear, shame and misconceptions underlying the mental health community.  Also known as stigma.

Stigma, definition, Oxford Dictionary; a mark or sign of disgrace.

For anyone to come to terms with a flaw or bell-curved deficiency is difficult. I failed to follow through with my first Social Security Disability application due to the stigma glued to the label.

(More on ripping labels into industrial shredders in a future post)

The families share the ‘stigma’ price with little to no support; left in the 21st Century Dark Age.

Mental Health awareness and education downgraded to the point wherein a news reporter asks a naive question.

Instead of spinning these stories into a black hole, perhaps the populace deserves professional tutorial(s) concerning mental health.

Instead of pushing the stories into the near past and focusing on newer, more entertaining epics, we could stick to a theme for the intent and purpose of engaging in real problem-solving, finding viable solutions to provide care for mental health patients and in turn provide care for world citizens.

Instead of the stories and those whose lives are forever changed by violence, why not unearth these buried stories for grounding possible solutions and leave the spin behind.

For those in need of information for themselves or for someone else, your local telephone book does provide US Government/Federal contacts and State and Government Offices. Check your local listings. I have included some US Government Agencies of interest regarding this blog post.

Resources:

National Suicide Prevention                   1-800-273-TALK/8255

National Suicide Prevention TTY          1-800-799-4889

Alcohol & Drug Treatment Referral     1-800-662-HELP or 1-800-729-6686

Health Care Information                        800-358-9295

Health Care Information TTY               800-377-4950

Health & Human Services                      877-696-6775 or  http://www.hhs.gov

Health & Human Services                      http://www.healthfinder.gov

Mental Health                                          800-789-2647 — General Information

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration    877-SAM-HSA7

Again, check your local listings for State and Community Services Directory including non-profits and community parishes.

What are your thoughts?

***Please, when sharing your thought, comments or ideas, remain on topic and refrain from any abuses of language or negative slurs toward others.

Thank you for visiting Living Life to the Best of Your Disability; All Inclusive, All the Time, No Disability Left Behind

June 28, 2005

The date, the day I last walked around the block. My sister and I had decided to stroll around the neighborhood on that beautiful summer evening.

Walking for me had become a challenge, a test of will between me and my deteriorating quarter century old left hip replacement. Anxiety had overtaken my adrenal system as I had envisioned the orthopedic x-ray revealing the two screws, perfectly broken as if a Mason had sawed them right in half. The special glow off the radioactive film brightly shone between the femur, the balled head of the femur and pelvic bone demonstrating proof positive the cement glue had dissipated. Walking around the block proved staying one foot ahead of a homebound life.

At the halfway mark around the neighborhood circle, my heart had pounded with a ferocity I had never known. No hyperventilation, no dizziness, no precursors to true, familiar anxiety attack. I slowed our pace and my sister held my hand. She snuck a check of my pulse and paled. She wrapped her arm around my waist in security, solidarity and sisterly concern. The episode had passed as we switched to a slug’s pace.

Believe you, me-never had the sight of our white-painted peeling front door been so enchanting, so enticing, so exciting! We crossed over our unlocked threshold and sighed in relief. Color, a carnation pink had redecorated my sister’s cheeks.

The phone rang.

Cheryl, PA – caller id informed.
 

Oh no.

I picked up immediately in fretful anticipation.

“What’s going on, Cheryl?”

“Pop, won’t make it through the night. His heart, he just,,can’t-”

We had sobbed, choking on words we had understood each sentence. She’d call me later. Cheryl knew I’d be there, in Spirit, with them in PA- even though my body had held me prisoner in Jersey.

Cheryl and I are sisters of choice.

Of chance.

Of Fate.

During high school, her brother Glenn and I had become kindred spirits; inseparable friends with a psychic and telepathic unbreakable connection. Invariably, his family had adopted me by default. I am blessed to be considered family, unconditionally loved for over twenty-five years.

Glenn died in 1992.

He left me
his family.

The walk had been surreal. As if Glenn had been forewarning me but I wasn’t listening. Who wants to know their adopted father prepared to meet the Grim Reaper?

Reunite with his son.

Surreal because staying one foot ahead of a homebound life sealed a promise I had made to Glenn before he crossed over. Staying one step ahead took every bit of strength I possessed. I had watched my life fade in front of my very eyes just as I had watched Glenn slip away before my eyes. I fought for survival because I could.

And because Glenn’s terminal diagnosis meant he could not.

He had made me promise to live my life. I heard his plea and my promise to abide in my mind more often than I care to count. I still hear his voice.

So, I persisted.

Frequently I wanted to kill Glenn, personally with my bare hands for suckering my heart strings into such a vow- jerk. I can hear him laughing right now, just in case you were wondering.

Yes, I fought
to live my life.

Not to be homebound watching life scurry past my crackled front door and smuged windows. I had calculated the time my left hip replacement began its demise to the moment the medical community deemed surgery “necessary.” 

Out of six years, I had spent two years and nine months stuck in my house from multiple soft tissue damage episodes incurred by the failing orthopedic hardware.

On June 28, 2005 I fought—I mean Mohammad Ali vs. George Forman Heavy Weight Championship Title on the line, fight of the century hard.

My freaky funk heart rate persisted until 5:03am, June 29, 2005.
 

The moment Pop and Glenn joyously reunited.                                                            

                                                                 ****

Left hip revision surgery may have transpired in January 2006 but my lingering fear of walking around the block alone remained intact. I needed the challenge to change from anxious to accomplished.

My last walk around the block?

December 22, 2010.

I created a photographic documentary of my “lone” mid-day walk.

Pop would be proud. He is proud. I feel him with me, everywhere. I am never really alone, never.

He walked with me each step. He pointed out photo ops, rogue pine cones and dangerously uneven concrete slabs. You know how Pops’ can be from anywhere, everywhere, anytime, anyplace—any space.

Ain’t life grand!

Thanks, Pop. Love you :)

My Walk Around the Block Begins

 

Looking Up on My Walk Around the Block

 

Berries and Brambles

 

Fungi on a Tree Trunk

 

Thank you, Frankie!

 

Remains of a Tree

 

In All My Shining Glory

 

Frosty and I hung out!

 

Four Different Trees :)

 

Sums up walk in one word

 

Home Sweet Home

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