Sunday, January 11, 2015

Monthly Interview with Denise Brown

It is hard for me to believe my first interview with Denise Brown of was in February 2011. Since that time, I have periodically joined Denise on her Blog Talk Radio program to discuss caring for Robert and other caregiving issues and have been a monthly guest for some time now, discussing working and caregiving.
Connecting with other caregivers. Denise is
seated on the right and I am standing
behind her. This community is invaluable!

I was terrified before that first interview but have since relaxed during our talks.  Denise starts with updates about the activities happening on and then we launch into our chat which is usually sprinkled with smiles, laughter and sometimes tears.  Denise describes her show as friends gathering around the table to chat with a cup of coffee.  Denise has other guests throughout the month and it is delightful to listen to these other caregivers tell their own stories of caregiving.

Denise and I talk about the challenges of working and caregiving and since these interviews are over the phone, I have talked to Denise from the hospital parking lot before visiting Robert in the hospital, a hospital hallway while waiting to talk to doctors or my home office (and occasionally, the backyard). 

And since they take place at 7:00 a.m. (Pacific Time) and are over the phone, I am grateful I can take the calls in my pajamas, sans make-up sometimes!

This month we discussed the challenges of caregiving with my cast as well as the video series I did in November about the impact epilepsy has had on Robert.

I invite you to join us the second Saturday of each month to listen live (there’s a chat room which allows you to participate and ask questions or comment during the show) or listen to the podcast whenever it is convenient.  The shows are fun and Denise asks such great questions that I always learn something new about myself or my situation during the shows. 

Sharing the caregiving experience is helpful to all caregivers and I hope to share this experience with you!

Thank you for listening (and reading). 

The most recent show can be heard here.   

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Foiled by a Fingertip

I know my tiny broken fingertip is nothing compared to OPPs (Other Peoples Problems). 
At least I got to choose a color!

However, as I've said many times before: there is no competition in caregiving. This isn't a contest of who has it worse (or better).

On the other hand, this is a broken fingertip!

I know how ridiculous that sounds and cannot get that thought out of my head.

Yet . . . Hold on . . . Let me take a second to get something out of my system: WAAAAAAAA!

Phew! I feel better now. 

Well, not really.

I don’t mean to feel sorry for myself – I really don’t.  But here I am, five days into a cast (yes, a cast), and nine days after the injury and I am sooooo ANNOYED!

I wasn’t even going to see the doctor but my husband and daughter would have dragged me there themselves so I went to appease them. I refused to go to the ER on Christmas but wore the splint my husband bought at CVS (note to CVS: hey, thanks for being open on Christmas! I appreciate it and hope your employees weren’t too unhappy working on the holiday).

The day after Christmas we were having another round of Christmas with family we didn’t see on Christmas day.  Soooo, no, I was not going to the doctor then either.  But I called! 

I was able to get an appointment and an x-ray on Saturday – a day I had planned to recover from so much Christmas. The x-ray was first, the weigh-in was second (um, thanks, Christmas) and the blood pressure check was third (I obviously needed my day of rest but am at the doctor!!).

Yes, my attitude stunk from the beginning of this ordeal.

The nurse was friendly and uttered, “colorful” when I removed the splint and showed her why I was visiting the doctor. My finger had turned varying degrees of black and blue from the tip to the bottom of the finger.

I put the splint back on.

The doctor didn’t mention my weight or the elevated blood pressure and went straight to reviewing the x-rays. He looked at all the images and said what everyone seeing the doctor wants to hear, “I have no good news here.”

Um, sheesh, how bad could it be?  It’s my fingertip!! 

Apparently, a “displaced fracture” is complicated. The doctor showed me the x-ray and pointed where one piece of my bone was off to the side at an angle, nowhere near the other part of the bone.  Ahh.  That doesn’t look good. 

So, I suppose I have to tell my husband he was right about me coming to the doctor?


He printed out the x-ray for me and said I had to see an Orthopedic specialist. 

For a fingertip.

I am really getting annoyed.

Three days later I was seeing the orthopedist.  He debated (himself) for a minute, consulted with the orthopedic surgeon and then told me I needed a cast.

WHAT?!  Did I mention this is my fingertip?  Not my arm, not my hand, not even my whole finger.


He sent me to the cast room where the cast tech gave the doctor grief about him repeating himself and I ended up telling him to be nicer to the doctor! 

The doctor said to put the cast over three fingers and to extend it past the fingertip so as to immobilize the fingers.  Sheesh! How am I supposed to do anything with the fingers casted? Then he instructed the tech to go midway up my arm! Woah! Doctor – what the heck! Maybe you forgot but I just broke my FINGERTIP.

The doctor explained he has never seen a break like this in his twenty years of practice.  He said the tendon usually tears before the bone breaks.  Yay. I have unusually stretchy tendons.  Then he said the tendon needs to be immobilized so the fingertip can heal.  Otherwise, I will have to have surgery and have a pin put in the finger which means a risk for infection . . . .


At the rate he’s going, I will walk out with a body cast as a friend suggested. It already feels like it!

I seriously considered taking my chances and seeing if it would heal with a splint but relented and decided I would listen to the expert.

It doesn’t make me any less annoyed.  It’s amazing how much a person uses both hands.  I have the use of my pointer finger and thumb on my dominant hand.  Opening jars are a pain if not impossible; turning on my car using my left hand is interesting; writing is frustrating!  I have mastered my signature which says more about my bad handwriting than anything else. 

Typing is actually not too difficult – I’m just a little slower than usual. I think that is what frustrates me the most.

Everything is slower!


For two seconds I had the Pollyanna thought that this was a sign for me to slow down and smell the roses.  Are you kidding me?  I have things to do!

Most everything has to be adjusted.  I am naturally right-handed so now I have to put my left hand to use.  This actually will be a good brain exercise but I refuse to be happy about it.

Still annoyed.

The most difficult task so far is putting on Robert’s briefs.  I am struggling getting them tight enough but, with patience (from both of us), I am getting there.

It is just slower.

Which drives me NUTS.

I am sure I will get over being annoyed soon enough. After all, I have to wear this thing for sixteen more days (but who’s counting?).  I can do anything for a short period of time but must I do it slower?  Apparently.

I know people have much worse things to deal with but, for the moment, I am allowing myself to whine and be annoyed. 

Yes.  About a fingertip.