Mental Health

30 Days of Gratitude in November!

“Gratitude is the first sign of a thinking, rational creature”. – Solanus Casey

Being grateful is a great way to shape a positive mindset. Realizing what you have, and not focusing on what you don’t have, will make your view on life more positive. It is great for your mental health. It’s a great way to wire your brain to see the good in life and not the bad. Life is a blessing!

This month I’m going to post something that I am grateful for each day. Hopefully, I can update this post, each day in November. I hope this helps others. Cheers to a month of gratitude.

What are you grateful for? How have you experienced gratitude helping you have a more positive mindset?

Day 1: I am grateful for my children. They fill my heart with love. When they were born, the love I felt for them is indescribable. They make every day count. They bring so much meaning to life. I am so blessed to have two daughters. They are so intelligent and sweet.

Day 2: I am grateful for my husband. He is very emotionally supportive. He listens to how I feel and is willing to talk when I’m upset about something. He is supportive of my anxiety disorder. He is supportive in general.

I like how he is emotionally supportive of our two emotionally charged teenage daughters. They are so lucky to have him as their Dad.

He worked three jobs for me to be a stay-at-home Mom when they were little.

We’ve been together 18 years, married 17.

Day 3: I am grateful for sleep! Yes, sleep! I worked last night and took my kids to school in the morning. I slept 5 hours. I can’t wait for a bed. I cleaned the whole house today too. I am exhausted. I’m sure I sleep more than the average person. When I work, I get to sleep 10 hours! My job wears me out. I am grateful that I can get enough sleep for myself since I sleep so much! I am also grateful for my comfy bed! Some people don’t even have a bed.

Day 4: After spending all day outside, I’m thankful for nature. The wind blew through the trees. The moon in the night sky. The mountains for hiking. The sunrise, and sunset. The beautiful beach, and oceans. The lakes, and bodies of water. The changing leaves in the fall, and the blooming flowers in the Spring. One of my favorite activities is walking in nature, hiking, or sightseeing.

Day 5: I’m grateful for my parents! My Dad just put a new toilet in for me and I didn’t even ask. He doesn’t need to do this for me but he did. He does a lot for me around my house because he is a handyman, he also helped me by car. I’m a Daddy’s girl, and my Mom is supportive to talk with and she is hilarious to joke with. My parents are always there for me. I’m off to their house right now for dinner…

Day 6: I’m grateful for my job. It is stressful, does a lot of wear and tear on my body, and tires me out. There is a lot of politics at my job, and we are short-staffed. I feel like I do the work of 4, and I complain (vent) a lot about it, but I love it.

I love being able to help the elderly, the generation before us, that served our country. I love helping people and making their day better. It brings a lot of meaning to my life and is very fulfilling. It gives me a sense of purpose, I put 100% into my job and wear myself out! Haha. I have a high standard of care and am quite a perfectionist at work.

Many people do not like this kind of work. We cannot find people, let alone good people, that don’t just sit around.

What I do is, care for the elderly. Toilet them, shower them, do their laundry, get all their trash, do their oxygen, transfer them, take them to dinner, serve them, bus their dishes, set up the dining room, and put them to bed. I do care for about 10 of them and get 40 residents trash. Sometimes, I just pass their meds, do eye, and ear drops, blood pressures, vital signs, and respond to emergencies.

Quite exhausting, but quite rewarding. I still love this job and look forward to going to work. The pay isn’t great, but the sense of purpose is.

I did find a contract job where I make really good money going to various places as an agency. This is my part-time job. What a blessing to get paid what I deserve! You can read about that here: https://michellescrazybusylife.net/calling-a-cnas-and-qmaps-get-paid-what-you-are-worth/

Day 7: I’m thankful for reading and writing. I think writing is a great form of expression. Keeps our brain sharp, and helps organize thoughts. Helps us express ourselves and thoughts in a different light.

I love reading. It is a great form of escapism and makes of more creative. It opens our minds up. It’s so relaxing to get lost in a book.

Day 8: I’m thankful to live in a first-world country. I’m thankful for running (CLEAN) water, electricity, and so on. In other countries, people do not have running water nor electricity, access to education, or healthcare. This is truly sad. I need to learn to appreciate this.

Day 9: I am thankful for my pets. I have two dogs and two cats. This is my dog Buddy: https://michellescrazybusylife.net/how-much-is-that-doggy-in-the-window/

This is my parents’ dog: https://michellescrazybusylife.net/oh-you-dont-learn-do-you/

They are cute, fluffy, and sweet. I forever have a cuddle buddy. They greet me with their wagging tales when I come home from work, bark for a walk, and wake everyone up! They bring joy to my heart, and they are funny to watch.

I love walking the dogs. They help me get exercise, and it is fun to have walking/hiking partners.

My cat caught all the mice in the house. I am so grateful for that because I am terrified of mice!

This is my cat Mable: https://michellescrazybusylife.net/happy-catuday/

Day 10: I’m grateful for my health! Tonight at work my residents were sick with colds and flues. My friend I work with is getting chemo. Some of my friends died of cancer this year. This is heartbreaking, but it puts things into perspective, to be grateful for my health! My kids were born healthy as well. Your health is everything, and sometimes you don’t realize until you get sick or get diagnosed with an underlying health condition.

Day 11: Along with day 10, I am thankful that I live in a country where I have access to healthcare, medicine, and vaccines whenever I need them! I’m thankful that I can just go to the doctor or the hospital need be when I’m sick.

Day 12: I am thankful for transportation. I am thankful that I can just get in my car and go to point a to b. I’m thankful I have a car to drive 20 miles to work in, but those gas prices though!

Day 13: I’m thankful to live in Colorado. When I was growing up it was much smaller and safer, it has grown a lot. I’m thankful to live here because there is a lot of fun recreational activities. Skiing, hiking, going to the lake, the mountains. With the legalization of marijuana, a lot of people moved here, and the cost of living sky-rocketed, I can barely afford it, but I don’t want to leave. I will just work more, that’s how much I love Colorado. The mountains are so beautiful!

Day 14: I am thankful for massages. My body, especially my back, hurts from my job. I go to the massage therapist and get a deep tissue full body massage when I have the money to splurge.

It takes away the pain, relaxes me, and is a great stress reliever. I feel 10 years younger, afterward, and don’t have a care in the world. It is great therapy.

Male Masseur Doing a Relaxing Body Massage to a Woman Lying Face down on a Massage Table.

Day 15: I am thankful for friends. It is nice to have friends, and have people to talk to. It is great for me mentally to have someone to relate to and share my thoughts, feelings, and problems with and to vent to. It is also fun to have someone to hang out with!

2 Person Holding Each Other Wearing Pink Friendship Bracelet during Daytime

Day 16: I am thankful for education. I loved being in school and learning. I love all the knowledge that we can attain. I am grateful that we can go to school, and get an education, and get a better job.

Desk Rows at School Classroom

Day 17: I’m grateful for the dentist, and being able to go, and get a cleaning, and get cavities filled if need be.

Dentist and Patient

Day 18: I’m thankful for technology, and the Internet. I think it is helpful that we can google certain things, and have access to the weather. We can look up businesses, and look at their reviews. We can blog, and use social media to stay in contact with our relatives.

Technology

Day 19:

I am happy to be given life in general. It is a blessing with all of its ups and downs. To get up in the morning and be able to start a new day, and see what is in store for me that day. To be able to get up for work in the morning or get up and spend time with my kids on my days off, and go out and have fun with my kids.

A Woman in a Field

Day 20: I am thankful for food. It is delicious. I like it too much! 😀 =) Haha. But I am grateful that I have enough food to eat.

Woman Eating Takeout Food

Day 21: I’m thankful for the holidays. It is so fun to celebrate and be festive. It is fun to dress up and spend time with the family. I love how it brings the family together for family time.

Family Decorating a Christmas Tree

Day 22: I am thankful for music. I love music. It is an awesome form of expression. It can help you express your thoughts and feelings. It can entertain you and put you in a better mood. I listen to music in the shower, and when I am driving. Music helps me get a workout done. I like to walk the dogs and hike, with music. It is like a different language that speaks to the soul and helps us do life.

Musical Notes Sheets

Day 23: I’m grateful for make-up. It is so much fun! It is a form of expression to me. It makes me younger as well. I’m thankful for skin cream as I age. I am thankful for conditioner, it helps me brush my tangly hair out.

Eyeshadow Palette and Makeup Brushes

Day 24: I’m thankful for board games, and playing cards. These are my favorite past times. I think it brings people closer together.

Scrabble Board Game on Shallow Focus Lens

Day 25: I’m thankful for singing. IT makes me feel better and decreases stress.

Woman Singing on Microphone

Day 26: I’m thankful for dancing. This is a fun exercise for me. It brightens up my mood.

Woman Dancing Outdoors

Day 27: I am thankful for swimming. I love swimming. It is so refreshing and fun. It is a great workout.

Person Swimming Near Brown Cliff

Day 28: I am thankful for hot tubs, and hot baths. I love to soak my old sore bones in hot water! 🙂

Square White and Brown Hot Tub Close-up Photography

Day 29: I’m thankful for days my days off, I get 3 days off instead of two since I am busy with the kids. I am very grateful to my husband for this. I am also grateful for vacations. There’s nothing better than getting paid time off.

Travel Vacation Concept with Plane and Passport on Color Background

Day 30: I am grateful for coffee! Yes, coffee! I cannot wake up without it!

Roasted Coffee Beans in a Coffee Cup


Activism

Help End Alzheimer’s, the sooner the better.

I have worked as a caregiver for 13 years, and I have seen so much. I have cared for many people with dementia.

My first experience with dementia was with my Great Grandmother who lived to be 97. When she was around 95, she started wondering around at night, and she lived on a lake in Florida. How scary is that to have your Grandmother doing that. Luckily nothing happened. She came out to Colorado so that my family could take care of her. I was only 15 or so. She was telling me, that she “lived on the lake, and it was right outside the door”, and she was in my living room. For a minute I was scared, then I thought about it and realized she has Alzheimer’s. My great Grandma forgot who I was, and thought I was one of her sisters. I had to play along, this is sad for a child. Anyway, she remembered who my my Grandmother was, her daughter, which tells me that she was stuck in like the mentality that she was about 30 years old. She would make me laugh saying “oh my daughters on the phone with one of her friends again, that’s all she does”. I would go visit her and she would be crying, that tells me she could possibly have lewy body dementia. I’m not a doctor though, I’ve just had classes, and have worked with it forever.

Before dementia, my Great Grandma was an incredibly awesome, successful, hardworking person! Strong physically, strong willed, full blooded German, hearty person. My Uncle said I take after her. She had my Grandma during the depression, they opened their own electrical business, in Chicago, worked hard, survived the Great Depression, and made it! They sold their business many years ago, and you can see their business logo in Chicago, “Jemison Electric”, to this day. They helped my Dad be successful and gave him an opportunity to have an electrician apprenticeship. My Grandma would work sun up to sun down, took care of the business, cooked and cleaned, and helped take care of her 4 Grandchildren. To see her forget everything was devastating.

My Grandma had encephalitis (swelling of the brain) when she was 40 or so. This partly caused dementia early in life. We noticed her not being able to care for herself. I stepped in right away because I had been a caregiver and a medicine passer for 2 years already. I was only 21 years old, a baby. But taking care of one family member, is so much easier than 40 patients. Yes, it was sad. I had to shower, clean, feed her, do her medicine and vital signs. She was upset about this because she knew something was wrong with her. This is the bad part about this stage of dementia, know that there is something wrong, feeling trapped, and not being able to do anything about it. She never ever forgot who I was, I am so grateful. I grew up with her within a few blocks distance. She had several strokes, It looked like she had vascular dementia. I got pregnant and couldn’t take care of her, I had guilt. She lived in a memory care unit for a company that I work for now, I don’t really like this company, I think they are too cheap with their residents. Luckily my Dad, Aunt, and I would go in there and feed her and so on. I was with her the day and minute she died, and am happy that she didn’t die along.

What is dementia? It’s an umbrella term for several different kinds of dementia. In a training I was told there are 100 dementias, I don’t have time to look up if that’s true.

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. It makes up 60-80% of all the cases of dementia. Alzheimer’s is disease, dementia is not. When a person has Alzheimer’s, their brain is shrinking and deteriorating . They forget how to walk, eat, and eventually swallow, and they die. On average people live 4-8 years, but depending on certain factors, they can live a lot longer. Alzheimer’s is just one from on dementia under the umbrella term.

Other common forms of dementia:

Lewy body dementia: Decline in thinking, reasoning, and functioning in day to day life. Lack of controlling emotions, a lot of crying, possibly aggression. Hallucinations. Lots of falls

Vascular: Decline in thinking skills, oxygen deprived brain.

Parkinson’s Dementia: Declining of thinking and reasoning, that can happen within one year of diagnosis.

 Frontotemporal dementia: Effects personality, language, and movement.

There are three stages of Alzheimer’s, Early, middle, late, or beginning, middle, end.

In the beginning, people are aware of their short term memory loss. They are frustrated, this is hard to watch as a caregiver. They commonly lose things, forget the name of something, can’t find the right word to say, have trouble organizing and planning, having trouble managing finances. If you have a little trouble like this, because you are busy and tired from a demanding life, this is normal you are not getting dementia! This happens all the time, not just when you have an extremely busy demanding life like I do. When you have beginning stage you cannot handle an extremely busy life.

In the middle stage cannot remember where you live, your phone number, may get lost. This is when it gets scary for loved ones and caregivers. Personality changes. Not oriented with what day it is. May become incontinent , cannot control bowel or bladder.

End or late stage: Total dependence on caregiver. Not oriented in time in place. Cannot remember even what happened 5 minutes ago. Highly susceptible to getting sick and infections. Can just forget everything and not know who their family members are.

There are also 7 stages, but I don’t have time to get into this.

All in all this is a very devastating disease. It is like losing your loved one with you loved one still there. It is hard to connect with them. They know you are there, do not lose hope. The brain deterioration with this disease and what happens due to this disease, is so sad. The person that you once knew is almost gone.

If you can or feel led donate today: http://act.alz.org/site/TR?fr_id=14343&pg=personal&px=12281156

Let’s end it now, I would love to see a cure, and not have to see the devastation of this disease during my career or in my family!

THANK YOU!

Nature

Once in a blue moon.

Tomorrow is the full blue moon. Where did the term “blue moon”, come from might you ask? It just means that there was two full moons in a calendar month. Also the Native Americans, as sturgeon moon, because sturgeons were easier to catch during the blue moon in the Great Lakes area.

So tomorrow is the full moon. I am assuming my co workers are going to be one edge, and that my patients more confused. It seems like it always happens during a full moon.

The moon looks very pretty right now.

Health

What to expect when you get your Covid vaccine…

I got my first jab in January, since I work in health care, I was in phase 2. I got my pfizer shot at work. I filled out some paper work stating that I never had an adverse reaction to a shot, which means anaphylactic shock, or my airways totally shutting down or what have you. Shot time, I totally relaxed my arm and didn’t really feel anything when I got my shot. I waited around for 15 minuets, to see how I would have a reaction, and then off to work I went since I was already at work.

The next day my arm was a little sore, and I was a little sleepy. I had very mild side effects.

Second shot same thing. With the second shot, I recommend taking Tylenol, and then Ibuprofen before bed. You can take a Tylenol and two hours later an Ibuprofen. In the middle of the night I woke up with chills and I was freezing. I woke up that morning very sleepy, and had body aches. I went on to go to work and I felt like I had a minor sickness, I took at nap on my break. The side effects were tolerable, but much better than getting covid and passing it on to my parents, who are high risk, or the elderly that I take care of, and have this pandemic go on forever.

Side effects are good! It means the vaccine is working, and your body is busy producing antibodies, and teaching your immune system how to fight off Covid. The pfizer shot is a mRNA shot, which means it uses messenger RNA to create an immune response. It doesn’t not enter the nucleus of the cell and change our genetic make up. The vaccine doesn’t contain the live virus, nor get you sick with actual covid.

Now the delta variant is out, and I’ve seen 4 people test positive for covid that are fully vaccinated. 2 of them we not sick at all and were on their happy way to visit their 97 year old Grandma, and flew to see her from miles away. The 2 in the hospital were sick, but not on ventilators. I have heard that fully vaccinated people can get the delta variant, but to a lesser degree. It cuts the chances from getting very ill or hospitalization from Covid. According to healthline.comData so far suggests efficacy rates of more than 67 percent for the J&J vaccine, 72 to 95 percent for the Moderna vaccine, and 42 to 96 percent for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.” The delta variant is more contagious.

There are various studies that say different things, this a new virus and a new vaccine so who knows? According to healthline.com “The study also found that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 88 percent effective against the Delta variant 2 weeks after the second dose”.

I worked through the whole pandemic taking care of the elderly. I never caught Covid, and I didn’t get sick, not even with a cold all year. My residents had covid and about 10 of them died. They were already on hospice.