Happy event in our future, my son Michael is getting married


Love this picture of my son Michael and myself

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In the last couple of years, I can honestly say our family has gone through so much stress, sadness, joy and found out what is really important in life.  Simply family love.  Lauren is doing great so now time to focus our attention to our son Michael and future wife Katie.

The big event is August 13, 2016

The venue has been selected, Crest View Country Club.

Tonight, my husband Dean and I are going with them to finalize the contract and meet with the wedding coordinator.  I am so excited….happy times.

My future daughter in-law asked Lauren to stand up with her.  She couldn’t say yes fast enough.  So now our family has the pleasure of creating a beautiful wedding for two special people who deserve the best wedding we give them.

No my only stress is “what am I going to wear”.  Love that problem.

Mother of the groom, sound pretty good.

Much love

Lynne

Happy Father’s Day


Happy Father’s Day to the 2 men that are special in my life

My Husband Dean and my son Michael

Love you guys so much

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This picture as can guess was at a Raider’s football game tailgating.  Dean was in heaven, finally hanging out with other Raider’s fans.  Great time.

Happy Father’s Day 

To all you fathers out there.

When we were living in the hospital, these two guys always came up to see us.  My husband drove every weekend to Boston.  Slept in a chair, then would drive home to go to work all week.  My son would come almost every other weekend, to see his sister, then he always thought of me and would take me out to dinner.

I am so blessed to have them in my life.

When we are celebrating father’s day, lets remember all the fathers that are in the hospital dealing with their lives away from family members.

Love Lynne

Why donate??? Pass this website on…….


WHY DONATE?????

Because you may save up to 8 lives through organ donation and enhance many others through tissue donation.
Last year alone, organ donors made more than 28,000 transplants possible. Another one million people received cornea and other tissue transplants that helped them recover from trauma, bone damage, spinal injuries, burns, hearing impairment and vision loss.

Unfortunately, thousands die every year waiting for a donor organ that never comes. .

You have the power to change that

Below is a picture of my son Michael and my daughter Lauren at the beach last summer.  If it wasn’t for  an organ donor, I wouldn’t have this picture.  Because some special person made a decision to sign up to become an organ donor, I have this picture.

My thoughts are, I genuinely hope if you are reading this, you never find yourself or a family member in the position of needing an organ, to finally make the decision to sign up.

All I can say is consider it.

If you could pass this website to your friends, and they pass it on to their friends and families, with more awareness maybe together we could save just one life.

Thank you  –  Lynne

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Caregiver Burnout, omg it is real. Take the quiz


This is a follow-up on yesterday’s post.  I was doing some research on Caregivers and I came across this article.  I thought I was just depressed, come to find out I’m just getting burnt out.  It is a real condition.

To tell you the truth, I do feel little guilty looking this up, reason being I do not want Lauren thinking I blame her for these emotions I feel.

When I just typed that last line, I realized I was thinking of her, when I need to think of myself now and then.  I know I have taken the first step to identify, now it is time to recognize, then to take steps get a healthier outlook.

Please take the time to read this article even if you are not a Caregiver.  You may know someone who is a Caregiver or possibly just taking care of your own family can be overwhelming at times.
What Causes Caregiver Burnout?

  • Caregiver burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that may be accompanied by a change in attitude — from positive and caring to negative and unconcerned. Burnout can occur when caregivers don’t get the help they need, or if they try to do more than they are able — either physically or financially. Caregivers who are “burned out” may experience fatigue, stress, anxiety, and depression. Many caregivers also feel guilty if they spend time on themselves rather than on their ill or elderly loved ones.
  • What Are the Symptoms of Caregiver Burnout?
    The symptoms of caregiver burnout are similar to the symptoms of stress and depression. They include:
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
    Loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed
    Feeling blue, irritable, hopeless, and helpless
    Changes in appetite, weight, or both
    Changes in sleep patterns
    Getting sick more often
    Feelings of wanting to hurt yourself or the person for whom you are caring
    Emotional and physical exhaustion
    Excessive use of alcohol and/or sleep medications
    Irritability
  • Are You Heading for Caregiver Burnout?

By Paula Spencer Scott, Caring.com contributing editor
188 Comments 96% helpful concerned_woman
Caregiving can bring many positives into your life — but it’s also hard work, physically and emotionally. If you don’t take enough self-care to replenish yourself, then caregiver stress, anxiety, and depression can build.

And that puts you on the path for caregiver burnout, a syndrome of mental, emotional, and physical depletion. “Caregiving requires a certain amount of selflessness, but it’s important for caregivers to know their limits,” says Caring.com senior medical editor Ken Robbins, a geriatric psychiatrist at the University of Wisconsin who’s also board certified in internal medicine. “Caregivers can become so focused on the person they’re assisting that they neglect their own needs.”

Caregiver burnout interferes with your ability to function. Burnout also raises your risk of chronic depression and other mental and physical ailments, from hypertension and flu to diabetes, stroke, or even premature death. Caregiver burnout is also a leading cause of nursing home placement, when run-down caregivers become too depleted to manage caregiving demands.

“It’s important for caregivers to be aware of this phenomenon and to find ways to either prevent or minimize it when they realize it’s happening,” Robbins says.

What’s your caregiver burnout index? Answer the following 12 questions, add up your score (A = 4 points, B = 3 points, C = 2 points, D = 1 point), and learn lifesaving strategies for managing the unique stress of caregiving.

  • 1. How often do you get a good night’s sleep (seven or more hours)?

a. Every day

b. Often

c. Sometimes

d. Seldom or never

  • 2. How often do you keep up with leisure activities that you enjoyed before caregiving?

Every day

Often

Sometimes

Seldom or never

  • 3. How often do you feel irritable or lose your temper with others?

Seldom or never

Sometimes

Often

Every day

  • 4. How often do you feel happy?

Every day

Often

Sometimes

Seldom or never

  • 5. How often do you find it difficult to concentrate?

Seldom or never

Sometimes

Often

Every day

  • 6. How often do you need a cigarette(s) or more than two cups of coffee to make it through the day?

Seldom or never

Sometimes

Often

Every day

  • 7. How often do you lack the energy to cook, clean, and take care of everyday basics?

Seldom or never

Sometimes

Often

Every day

  • 8. How often do you feel hopeless about the future?

Seldom or never

Sometimes

Often

Every day

  • 9. How often are you able to relax without the use of alcohol or prescription sedatives?

Every day

Often

Sometimes

Seldom or never

  • 10. How often do you feel overwhelmed by all you have to do?

Seldom or never

Sometimes

Often

Every day

  • 11. How often has someone criticized your caregiving or suggested you’re burning out?

Seldom or never

Sometimes

Often

Every day

  • 12. How often do you feel that someone is looking after or caring for you?

Every day

Often

Sometimes

Seldom or never

How did you score?

This self-test isn’t a scientific or diagnostic measure; it’s meant to help you identify whether your stress level warrants taking steps toward better protecting yourself.

Add up your score. Each A = 4 points, B = 3 points, C = 2 points, D = 1 point.

  • 48-42: Keeping your cool (low burnout risk)

Your heart and head are both in the right place, and your stress-busting reservoirs are full, which helps you to give with grace and good humor. That said, caregiver stress often creeps up without a caregiver realizing it. Protecting your healthful habits is paramount.

What to do: Keep yourself well fueled for caring by making time for yourself every day — at minimum, aim for several five-minute pick-me-ups for caregiver stress. If you’re in a relationship, know that a healthy marriage or other close relationship can be a source of strength; learn how caregiving couples can make it work.

  • 30-41: Feverish (elevated burnout risk)

You’re likely managing caregiver stress reasonably well but falling into a common caregiver trap: Letting yourself sink lower on the daily priority list than is healthy for you. Everyone has an occasional crazy-busy day, but too many of them results in chronic stress — which erodes well-being and places you at risk for depression, colds, and other illnesses.

What to do: Protect your time for self-care by learning seven ways to find more “me” time. On days when you’re feeling stressed, try these five ten-minute pick-me-ups.

  • 18-29: Too hot to handle (high burnout risk)

Your stress level is probably sky-high. You may already be experiencing symptoms of anxiety, depression, compromised immunity, and physical exhaustion that can lead to or complicate chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and chronic depression. It’s critical that you take steps immediately to lower your stress level, ideally through a combination of better self-care, a shared workload, and outlets for your complicated emotions, including talk therapy and support groups.

What to do: In addition to the suggestions in the sections above, learn the five real reasons you’re stressed and how to tame them. Look into respite care options — they’re an important way to give yourself the break you need.

  • 12-17: Toast (already burned out)

It’s a wonder — and a blessing — that you were able to find and take this quiz. You’re running on empty, or is it more like barely running? Although you want to do your best for the person you’re caring for, realize that your own health is at stake — and if you don’t look out for Number One, you won’t be able to help the person or persons in your care.

What to do: You need immediate help. Learn how to tell the difference between the normal stress of caregiving and depression and consult with someone you trust — a doctor, clergyperson, counselor, or therapist, for counseling — and seek out medical assistance. At minimum, you need a physical checkup. You may also benefit from other therapies or from a break from caregiving that’s as short-term as a vacation or as permanent as a relocation of the person in your care.

Well, I took the test.  It opened my eyes to help recognize I need to take steps to learn to take time for myself.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank my family and friends for being patient and understanding during the last couple of months.

lynne

Being a Caregiver. Do you think it is a real job?


I decided to write this post for many reasons on this subject.  When you think of someone who is a caregiver what comes to your mind?  For most, I can only guess it’s a nurse or some other medical professional that is hired from a company that comes to your house to care for mostly elderly individuals.  I am not going to say you are wrong, because you’re not, but there is so much more in Caregiving.

My name is Lynne Robitaille and I am a Caregiver for my daughter Lauren. She is a  25 years old women who  had a heart transplant one year ago and also has a rare muscle disease  called Lainge Distal Myopathy.  Lauren’s muscle disease is a form of Muscular Dystrophy, which  only effect her distal muscles being her ankles, hands, neck.  She has weakness in those areas.  Lauren also has scolosis.

This is my daughter Lauren.  The picture was taken in Punta Cana, we took a family vacation when Lauren got the ok to travel this past February.  A trip we promised her when she was in the hospital.  It gave her something special to look forward to.  When you are recovering from such a life changing surgery, the Dr.’s and nurse’s heal the body, so we needed to work on her emotional state of mind. Giving her the motivation to get to the Island’s was ours.

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When someone becomes a Caregiver, is could be for anyone that is in need.  When that person is your child, you  would never in your mind consider yourself as their Caregiver.  Your mom.  You have always taken care of your child since birth and will do forever.  But then, I was approached when we were ready to the hospital this question.  “Who is going to be Lauren’s Caregiver”?.  I remember just looking at the Dr’s and the social worker, with this look on my face, excuse me, what did they just ask me.  Who? who?

Lauren had undergone so much in hospital that even when she was going to be discharged she would need assistance is her medical condition and every day living skills.  Medically, she came home with a trac that was not removed yet and a  feeding tube she still needed.  On top of these obstacles, Lauren’s blood sugar had to be checked twice a day, medication had to be administered, feeding tube had to be set up in the evenings and she needed to be put on a ventilator with her trac in the evening when she slept.

That was  the medical part, now everyday living is a different story.  Help was needed in all aspect of just daily living.  Up and down stairs, laundry, preparing meals, personal hygiene, transportation, and anything else she needed help with in daily living.

So getting back to when I was approached as to whom is going to be Lauren’s Caregiver, the hospital told me that they could not discharge her if they didn’t have a name.  They wanted to contact resources here in Chicopee to have someone come to our house to help with Lauren.  I flat-out told them NO, I was going to be her Caregiver.  Living with her in the hospital, I was trained in all the aspect of her medical conditions and being her mother I had experience in taking care of her with daily living.  So that is when I became Lauren’s Caregiver.

I found an organization here in Massachusetts that helps Caregivers.  It is called Caregiver Homes of Massachusetts. I had to fill out an application to be accepted into this program.  Then they come out to your house to asse you and the patient.  If approved, me being Lauren’s Caregiver, I can get compensated for Lauren care.  You are given a  Case Management team Registered Nurse and Care Manager.  This professional team visits us every month.  In the beginning it was a great piece of mind for me with all the medical care she needed.  I didn’t feel so alone.  Now as time has gone by, we are reaching our one year, it is only daily living skills Lauren still needs help with.  Moving forward.

I looked up the definition of a Caregiver, this is what it stated:

Caregiver
From Wikipedia, 

A caregiver or carer is an unpaid or paid person who helps another individual with an impairment with his or her activities of daily living. Any person with a health impairment might use caregiving services to address their difficulties. Caregiving is most commonly used to address impairments related to old age, disability, a disease, or a mental disorder.

Typical duties of a caregiver might include taking care of someone who has a chronic illness or disease; managing medications or talk to doctors and nurses on someone’s behalf; helping to bathe or dress someone who is frail or disabled; or taking care of household chores, meals, or bills for someone who cannot do these things alone.

With an increasingly aging population in all developed societies, the role of caregiver has been increasingly recognized as an important one, both functionally and economically.

Now, another reason I wanted to write this post is, I believe people need to understand what a Caregiver is.

It is a full-time job.  I was approached and asked when or if I was going to get a real job now that Lauren is getting better.  I have heard that question before but just decided to ignore it.  My thoughts were they don’t know how much effort goes into taking care of someone 24/7.   Being a Caregiver is a full-time job.  People rely on you.  There is no sick days. leaving early, punching out or saying “thank god the week-end is here”.  It is a real job, with low or no pay.

If you know someone who is a Caregiver, please give them the recognition they deserve.  Taking care of another person especially an adult who is set in their ways is not easy.

Lynne Robitaille – Caregiver

Thinking outside the box


When you live your life, you find yourself doing the same things, day in and day out.  On Monday’s, you do this , on Tuesday this is what needs to happen and so on.  Then you find yourself just going through the motions of your life.  It is so easy and comfortable to stay within your comfort zone.  You may think your living your life but actually, the way I think of it as life is just going by.  That old saying, “Where does the time go?”

When I started this blog, I was hoping to be connected to others that have gone through life changing events.  I have, but I also found this is a great resource to help us.

In my last post, I spoke about depression.  Touchy subject, but so real.  I received a wonderful reply from Nancy.  She suggested that to help Lauren find her motivation again by possibly volunteering to read to children.  Nancy also gave a contact number to make it easier for Lauren to take the step.  I don’t think I would have every thought of that.  That got me thinking, we were never thinking outside the box on all the possibilities out there.  This is one big wonderful world with so many possibilities.  Never give up or settle.  We make our choices in life, we create our own destiny.  Sometimes we are put into a situation that is out of our control, but we have the control on how we handle the situation.  When Lauren was in the hospital, that was out of our control, but thinking back it was what we did to get through it.  We decorated the hospital room to look more like a dorm room, it was our home so we made it comfy.  I remember Lauren felt so much pride when the nurses, doctors would say they never have seen a room transformed so much.  We would have people as they were walking by, stop and look in amazement, hell we even had a pink flamingo on the outside of her door.  I need to thank my sister Donna, she did a great job helping with the decorations, (we even had a throw rug).  It may have been a hospital, by we made it our home.  I guess we were thinking outside the box back then, so now we need to keep it going.

Whatever happens in life, remember to be creative………

Lynne

Depression warning signs


Symptoms
By Mayo Clinic Staff
Depression is a powerful illness, that affects many people.  Most don’t think and or believe that they may be depressed during your life. I picked this subject because it is now hitting my house.

Lauren has become very withdrawn, and is spending way to much time in her room alone.  When I check on her she is just laying in bed.  When I try to get her to come down stairs most of the time her response is “I just want to lay here”.  That’s when my heart breaks for her.  There are days when she will be on the go, but for the most part she is alone.  Lauren is a beautiful 25-year-old women, with so much to offer in life.  The Dear Lord gave her a second chance, and I need to help her find her way.  After saying that, I thought to myself a mother can only do so much.  So I am doing a shout out to her friends, we need her to get out of this funk.

After reading the list below, I can say that I have fallen into quite a few of the lines.  My feelings are when Lauren is sad, I’m sad.  I find myself very frustrated, helpless, sad and just fed-up.  We have been together almost every day for the last 3+ years. I am not complaining, I would have not been anywhere else during that time.  But now, changes NEED to be made in Lauren’s life as well as mine.  That old saying “you act like the people you hang out with.”  So true.

I have spoken to a counselor, about the situation here.  I was told to make a list of things to help identify the source or sources that are making her feel this way.  Well, I did.  I cannot say what we came up with as the source in public, but Lauren needs to do some real soul-searching as to what she wants in her life.  In the mean time, I am putting a call out to her friends to give her the kick in the butt she needs to get motivated again.  A mom can only do so much.

Below is a list of symptoms to help identify depression.
Although depression may occur only one time during your life, usually people have multiple episodes of depression. During these episodes, symptoms occur most of the day, nearly every day and may include:

Feelings of sadness, emptiness or unhappiness
Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities, such as sex
Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
Tiredness and lack of energy, so that even small tasks take extra effort
Changes in appetite — often reduced appetite and weight loss, but increased cravings for food and weight gain in some people
Anxiety, agitation or restlessness — for example, excessive worrying, pacing, hand-wringing or an inability to sit still
Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself for things that are not your responsibility
Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
Frequent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
For some people, depression symptoms are so severe that it’s obvious something isn’t right. Other people feel generally miserable or unhappy without really knowing why.

Many of us experience some of these symptoms during our normal lives, but when it continues then it is time to take action. I have let it go to long in my home, time to identify and make changes.

When talking with the councilor, she helped me to realize that we have just been going through the motions of our every day rituals.  Doing the same thing every day, day in and day out.  So when something new is introduced to us, our reaction is to decline if possible.  With that said, we are going to make new rituals.  Time to start saying yes, when friends ask us out, time to work on what makes us happy.  Not what makes us comfortable.

I also realized that Lauren is not the only one with a second chance with life, I do to.  All those years of always worrying about Lauren’s health is behind me now.  She is stronger and healthier.  Just have to work on motivation.

So I am going to end this post with this thought.  I was using the word rituals instead of habits.  Habit is something we just do without thinking, but if we say the word rituals it is something we want to do.  Think about it.

Leave a message if you have any thought on this topic through the post or email

Lynne

lrobitaillecld@aol.com