Lesson #32: Damned If They Do, Damned If They Don’t

It’s not easy to share our health woes; there’s so much stigma in our cynical society. If you whine too much, you’re a hypochondriac. If you have something incurable, it’s all in your head. If you have something really wrong with you, you shouldn’t be out in public. Stop coughing and sneezing on us! Stop blocking the aisles with your wheelchair! Stay home, why dontchya? … More Lesson #32: Damned If They Do, Damned If They Don’t

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Lesson #23: Guilt, Grieving and Giving In

I’m putting myself right out there with other family caregivers today, and admitting that I’ve been fiercely protecting my “me-time” this month… those oh-so-valuable hours when I can push away my worrying, do something positive, take time to recharge, and shrug off the heavy emotions that weigh me down daily. … More Lesson #23: Guilt, Grieving and Giving In

Lesson #22: The Stink of Stigma

I became interested in Zach Anner, an up-and-coming YouTube celebrity, because of my friend Christine. She, too, lives life from a wheelchair, diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth. Currently working on her autobiography, Christine’s memoir opens with “It was lonely being a child in a wheelchair. I was bullied.” In an online interview with Oprah, when asked to identify his biggest challenge, Zach makes a touching admission: “Figuring out that I’m worth this experience, because it’s hard for me to accept that I might deserve this.”  … More Lesson #22: The Stink of Stigma

Lesson #21: Death Be Not Shy

As Joseph Campbell† and countless sages have pointed out, all human fears circle endlessly around the topic of death. Fear of anything is, ultimately, a fear of dying. Whether triggered by spiders, poverty, speaking in public or being alone, it all comes back to a basic fear of being separated from those whom you love and/or that which is most familiar to you, which is life. … More Lesson #21: Death Be Not Shy

Lesson #16: Look Forward, Stay Present

There is so much about caregiving that makes me sad, and looking back is a big one. Mom seems to be moving into an advanced stage of her Alzheimer’s; she has recently become more confused, less willing to get out of bed in the morning, and less connected with reality. She’s having trouble going to the washroom on her own, she struggles with her fork and knife, and her appetite has decreased. Along with her increasing inability to express herself, it’s truly heartbreaking.  … More Lesson #16: Look Forward, Stay Present

Lesson #4: How do You Say That in French?

It may be a global world out there, but here in Quebec it continues to be an embarrassingly small one, where people argue over language ad nauseum. It’s enough to make you sick. But wait! If you are sick (and even if the law likes to pretend that you have rights), it doesn’t mean you are going to get a health care professional who speaks your language. Which is a crying shame, because when you’re not feeling your best, it’s really hard to focus on a foreign language. … More Lesson #4: How do You Say That in French?