Forever Labeled

I was in the mall this weekend and found myself passing judgement on others based on how people looked, or were dressed.
” Check out the dude with blue hair…what a weirdo”….I whispered to my friends.
” Did you see that woman? She had to be at least 600 pounds”….another whisper. The whispering continued….
” Check out that guy over there with the tattoo on his FACE…”
” Wow, did you see that teenager with barely any clothes on? Her parents let her out of the house looking like that?”……….
” Look at that gangsta, he should invest in a belt or pants that fit…..”
” Aww, look at the older couple, holding hands, aren’t they cute?”……

Amazing how we define what we see, based on what we are looking for. We are all quick to judge based on what we see without thought to what we know. You know it’s true….and you know you are guilty of making assumptions and passing judgement; it’s only human to do so.

The same is true with dementia patients. We label them as “demented” and quickly forget that he/she is a person…We speak loudly to them, but yet, they do not have hearing loss. We direct them to “sit down”, “eat your food” and “let’s go to the bathroom” as if they are children. Yet, they are not children. We toss all dementia patients in the same proverbial hat and treat them all the same, without consideration for the unique person each was, is, or will be.

Look at Willie. He lost his wife, so he grieves. Since he has a diagnosis of dementia, we ignore his feelings of loss, sadness and grief, choosing to medicate with antidepressants to offset the dementia related disorder. Hmm. The label of dementia supercedes what is actually happening in his life. Labeled.
Look at Rev. Carmichael. He has dementia. BUT, he jumped out of a second story window before arriving at my facility. The documentation stated he jumped out of the window because of ” dementia and not knowing what he was doing”. After spending time with him, we learned that he wanted to die because he had no purpose for living. His wife had passed away, he was no longer a pastor, and he felt trapped inside of his 620 foot apartment. Yet,he was labeled as ” a dementia patient”……..

Look at Steve. Younger guy who recently moved in. He has dementia. But, at the psych hospital, someone asked him if he ever took illegal drugs. He said yes. So his chart reads, “dementia related to heroin and other mild altering drug abuse.” Ask Steve ” Is the sky red?”.. Answer “Yes”. “Am I an alien”? Answer “Yes.” ” Do you shoot Heroin?” Answer, ” Yes”. Are you the President of the USA?”……Answer…… “YES”. Now he is labeled as drug-induced onset dementia patient. Funny thing is, his family will tell you that he never took drugs, except for smoking pot in his younger days… yet he is not LABELED.

From all of this, I draw one conclusion. We as humans, need to stop labeling one another. We need to invest in the lives of others before we form conclusions, make casual assumptions or form opinions. Sounds simple. But is it?

Bipolar Brain

Originally posted on Broken Light: A Photography Collective:

Photo by contributor Matt Williams from Portsmouth, UK. In his late teens and early twenties he learned that he was living with bipolar disorder. He felt lost and in many ways existing or deluding himself rather than really living life. He has since stabilized, and discovered what is good for him, such as creativity, and what he should avoid. His bipolar has led him to experience periods of immense joy and at other times wondering why the world is so crazy. Mostly, he treasures those close to him who have supported him and shown him that the world is really worth sticking around for.

About this photo: “Bit like my brain sometimes – lots going on. Long exposure on a bridge near the Southbank. Like the colours and arches.”

Find more from Matt at his blog.


FINAL WEEK to contribute to our crowdfunding campaign on Fund Dreamer: Fight Mental Illness With Photography!!!

**Visit Broken Light’s main…

View original 18 more words

K9 Kota Challenge

Recently I was reading an article about a police dog ,named K9 Kota. I must say I was impressed with his love for his handler. After reading the article, I found myself thinking, ” Wow, a dog did all of that for his handler and I’m not sure I have a friend who would have done that for me!” You see, Kota and his police handler were answering a radio call for a burglary when the incident that changed everything happened.
Upon arriving at the house, the officers were trying to locate and apprehend one of the burglars, while Kota sought out and attempted to subdue a second burglar who had hidden himself in an attic space. No one is sure what happened….but as Kota and the burglar struggled, Kota fell through the ceiling and sustained massive injuries to his leg, including broken bones. In the meantime, the officers were still trying to get the first burglar under control on the second floor of the house. They knew nothing of Kota’s injuries. They had heard a crash and a yelp, but they were not in a position to help him………


Kota, severely injured, knew his handler was still up there, scuffling with the bad guy. Without thought of himself, his pain, his injury or suffering, Kota climbed each step to make sure she was okay.
Such a selfless act of Valor……

The world today could learn so much from Kota and the traits he possesses. Loyal, concerned, devoted and selfless are just a few words that come to my mind…….Wouldn’t it be amazing if we all cared for and respected one another with such intensity? Can you imagine how peaceful the world would be if we always put others before ourselves?
There is an old expression, ” the world has gone to the dogs”…..My thought is this….if all the dogs were like Kota, that would be a dynamic statement to define the society we have become! Sadly though, I don’t think that old adage is meant in a positive way…………….
You know, people everywhere are taking challenges from Ice Bucket Dumping to Hot Dog Consumption to raise money for very worthwhile causes. I too, have a challenge that I would like to present, but not for any cause, except for the cause of kindness. We will call it the ” Kota Challenge”.
For 24 hours, replace negativity with positivity. Exchange hate for love. Kindness instead of cruelty. Understanding for judgment. Selfless instead of selfish. Patience instead of condemnation.

Jesus Himself set the standard for how we should live and how we should treat other people. Look at this :
• Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you
• Luke 6:31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
• Matthew 7:12 So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
• 1 Peter 3 8-12 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

• Philippians 2-4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Lastly, my personal favorite:
Romans 12: 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
Imagine that….OUTDOING one another with kindness……Wow.
That’s the theme for our Kota Challenge. Outdoing one another with kindness……….That is my challenge to each of you.

One last thing, good deeds don’t always go unnoticed. Kota is up for an award. The Hero Dog Award. Please consider going to this website and casting your vote for him..

This is a photo of K9 Kota, used by permission from his handler. You can follow him and his healing progress on Facebook at


Don’t forget to take the Kota Challenge!

See Spot Run

Do you remember when you were back in grade school, learning the difference between nouns and verbs? We were taught proper nouns, improper nouns, pronouns and action words…. I can still hear my second grade teacher asking; ” What is the noun in the sentence , See Spot run.? Well, that’s simple. Spot. spot
Pleased with our correct response, she challenged us further. ” What is the first verb in the sentence?” Ah, that too is simple. Run. The teacher turned back to the chalkboard and underlined the word ” See”.
” Run is not the first verb. The word see is the first action word……………… How can it be? See is really an action word? In the mind of a small child, it’s a thing we do with our eyes not an action word…………..
Over the years, I clearly have come to understand how indeed, it is an action word. From the moment we open our eyes in the morning and begin “seeing”, actions follow. Seeing triggers action. This morning when I opened my eyes and my feet hit the floor, my eyes led me to load the dishwasher, mop the kitchen floor and pay two bills that were laying on my counter. I opened my laptop, sent 9 emails, read 111 more and quickly scanned FB and Twitter to see what I had missed overnight.
Driving to work, my action word based eyes caused me to yield to oncoming traffic, stop at red lights and pass Sunday drivers.
Arriving at work, I began the task of making visual rounds, quickly pointing out the things I saw wrong.
” Why is the TV on this channel?”
“Who left this chart here?
” What exactly is this we are serving for breakfast?
“Why is this resident sitting here and not in the dining room?
” Who dressed Mrs. Smith in red and pink, seriously?”
My action based ability to ” see,” certainly found what was wrong in every setting. From the moment I got up, I was correcting things, fixing things and following my eyes every direction…….Yet, my eyes did not point me to the beauty of the things around me, the positives, the pleasantries……………How could that be? My verb (seeing) led me to a another verb…”judging”.
We all do it. We judge based on what we see. We form opinions based on what we think we know, based on how things appear, based on what we see……’s a domino effect.
Regardless of whether we are dealing with friends, family or dementia patients, we need to temper our “seeing” with a noun ( compassion) and a adjective ( understanding).We need to stop seeing so much of what we think we see and take notice of the beauty and the positives that are around us.
Many times what we see, depends on what we are looking for……..If we wish to see the negatives, guess what? We will find them. If we wish to be critical, judgmental and bias based on what we think we see, we will find ourselves miserable, depressed and in a constant state of anger.
Let’s go back to the questions I drilled my staff on this morning.
” Why is the TV on this channel?” Because the staff was taking care of the residents and did not notice the TV or it’s channel.
“Who left this chart here? The doctor. He is in the room with the wife of a resident who is dying; providing her with comfort and reassurance.
” What exactly is this we are serving for breakfast? It’s a new recipe given to us by a resident’s daughter. It was her mother’s favorite dish.
“Why is this resident sitting here and not in the dining room? ” Her son is taking her to breakfast.
” Who dressed Mrs. Smith in red and pink, seriously?” It’s her birthday, and red and pink are her favorite colors. She picked the outfit out herself.”
“Oh”. What else I could I say, but oh? You see, I allowed my eyes to pass judgment before I knew the facts. How many times in life, are we all guilty of jumping to conclusions, based on what we think we know or see? How many times have we been proven wrong after the fact?
” See Spot Run.” Maybe we should find out why Spot is running….maybe he is running to his owner, full of joy, excitement and elation! Maybe he is running from a bear! Maybe is running after his ball….. dog-chasing-ball-7946297

What we see, depends on what we are looking for.
“What we do see depends mainly on what we look for. … In the same field the farmer will notice the crop, the geologists the fossils, botanists the flowers, artists the colouring, sportmen the cover for the game. Though we may all look at the same things, it does not all follow that we should see them.”

― John Lubbock, The Beauties of Nature and the Wonders of the World We Live in

I Lived

You know, life truly is short. Shorter than we realize. When I walk about the facility, I see the weathered, seasoned lives of 80 year olds, if not older. I have read their files, know their stories and understand the many trials they have seen. The Great Depression, wars and more wars, political corruption( i.e. Watergate), Presidential Assassination ( JFK), attempted assassination (Reagan), and so much more……………… They have survived and endured so much. At the same time, I have heard great stories of places they have been ( Great Wall of China), events they witnessed, ( launch of space shuttles), and places they have lived ( all over the world).

I would say that they did more than endure, survive and “just get by”, I would say they truly lived . During the difficult times, they didn’t crumble…..they withstood whatever came at them. In the good times, they united to build a stronger sense of community. They used their talents, skills, trades craft and whatever else to support themselves and their families…….they didn’t rely on a “system” or the government to take care of them. To this generation “low income housing” was not a coined phrase. Food stamps were unheard of. Now they knew about
S & H Greenstamps…..( even my computer does not know what greenstamps are….it keeps telling me greenstamps is not a word!). greenstams
Many of the women from that generation would give birth in the bedroom in the morning and be up making dinner by nightfall. The men not only fought in the war, but would work hard when they came home, doing whatever they could to meet ends meet. Back then, hand-outs were only traded for hand-ups…..they helped each other by share-cropping, barn raisings and team sweating. They were not a generation of expectation .

Today, most of them have forgotten many of the things they have been through. Dementia has robbed them of the pride and sense of accomplishment they should feel. Yet, you and I know where they have been. We know the things they went through…..and it’s because of their efforts that you and I have the luxury to sit at our computers today. We are afforded so much…….great americans

But you know, I hope my life as a fruitful as theirs was/has been. I hope that I can contribute in some small way to make the world a little better. I hope that when I am in my 80’s,someone will want to hear my story and walk away saying….. “wow, she lived an awesome life.” Not because of money, ( I will never be rich working in health care), not because of fame ( Im not even sure my neighbor knows my name), or because I found a cure for athlete’s foot (( ewww). I simply want to be remembered as a person who was a productive, constructive member of society.

My Generation will be remembered too. For things such as; having people who don’t wish to work, who burn American Flags, lived off of the government, created it’s own racial wars, took prayer out of schools, banned the Ten Commandments from court-rooms and found termination of an unborn baby as an okay thing to do. ( Hey, Im not making judgements here, I am merely stating what we, as a whole generation will be remembered for…..)

The good news is this…our generation is still in the role of making decisions and we still have an opportunity to be remembered as one of the greatest generations yet…..but the first step is to try. We must stop the foolishness of who shot who, who did what to who; and determine what we can do to fix a very broken system. Get up off the couch, go find a job.( Slinging burgers at a fast food joint is a JOB),
start supporting yourself and your family,( work 2 jobs) and stand up for God and Country ( no explanation needed).
We need to defend what the generations before us fought for…….not just watch it fade away without meaning.

What does this have to do with dementia? My only point is, the residents sitting in the dining room at my facility right this minute, had far fewer resources, no advanced technology, and managed to accomplish great things. They may have forgotten what they did……but I haven’t. Dementia may have stolen that from them, but I will continually serve as a reminder of where they took us……how they made us…..and how they lived.
great generation


Sunday Best

Sometimes I understand the confusion of a dementia patient; often declaring to myself that maybe the patient is not the one confused! Think about this for a second, you and I know how things operate today in our high-tech, modern world. We tweet and tweeting has nothing to do with the sounds a bird makes…Tweeting has nothing to do with Tweety bird or Sylvester the cat.TweetyBird
Yet, we as a modern society “tweet”. Back in the 30’s,40’s….heck, even in the 90’s, no one knew what a tweet was.

Not only do we “tweet and retweet, but we friend and unfriend people that we do not know, have never met and truly know nothing about. Back in the olden days, people were friends with only those within horse travel range…..not worlds away. So, trying explain to grandma who is on your Friends List, may not make much sense…………

Last week I promised to send an email to a resident’s son in regards to a concern he had. The conversation went like this:

” Send a what?”
” An email”
” A what mail?
” An email. You know, using the computer. Writing a letter on the computer.”
” Oh, you are writing to him.Why can’t you pick up the phone and call him? Seems to me that would be faster. Get the answer right then instead of waiting on the mailman.”

At that point, I resigned from the conversation, knowing he was right. I could call the son.But who calls anyone anymore? Emails, faxes and telecommunication have made given us the right to not communicate verbally…….yet we tweet out hashtags to strangers and chat incessantly with invisible people……..BUT ee do not want to engage with people within ear-shot…..hmmmm.

It’s not just technology that causes confusion in the elderly. A group of volunteers came in to the visit and fellowship with the residents a few weeks back. (Now, I am not passing judgement on how anyone dresses….if you wear baggy pants that sport your underwear hanging out, that’s none of my business. If you like to wear what we called “tights” back in my day, and you call them pants….well, that’s your business as well………). But here’s the thing……when religious organizations come into a dementia facility, you would think their dress code would reflect a certain degree of “churchy-ness”. You know what I mean…..look like you came from church. Think about the generation we are catering to in the facility……these men and women were modest in dress back in their day, in all aspects of life. Men dressed in suits for church, complete with their underwear tucked in, pants pulled up to their waist and even wore a belt. Women wore clothing that was not revealing and was neither too loose, nor painted on. I digress……… church

So this church group comes into the facility……preparing to have a “service.”. The young man was trying to get Mr. Harris, who is extremely hard of hearing, to come out to participate.
” Mr. Harris, would you like to come out to the church service we are having today?” The young man asked.
“The what? Supper?”
” No sir, church service. I am leading a church service out in the activity room. Do you want to come?” I could hear the young man’s voice down the hall way .
” Church service? Is is a church service?”
“Yes sir.”
Once that was established. the young man wheeled Mr. Harris into the activity room, placing him right up front. He was in plain view of other church members……… I passed by, Mr. Harris motioned for me to come over to him.

” Look, see that man over there? He invited me to church. But look, you see them people over there? (He pointed out a few of the women who had very short skirts and well, let’s just say…well nevermind).
“This ain’t no church service, this is like a gentleman’s club. Can you wheel me to the right program?” He asked.

What was I to do? Explain to him that times have changed? (That we dress differently today? Should I explain to him that churches today have men and women in the pulpit who dress the same as the men and women sitting in the pews…….who don’t dress much differently than women working the streets……….. Hmmmmmmm.) How could I help him understand that THIS is the church service…..that the message would probably be really good, and that he would enjoy the music?
I patted him on the shoulder and spoke loudly, Let’s stay for a while. I bet you will recognize the songs……….”

Five minutes later, the music began. It was not the Hymns from the church. It was our praise music of today…. the sound of electric and acoustic guitars filled the activity room. It was indeed worship music, but not music this population would know. Instead of “Amazing Grace”, they sang
” Amazing Love”. Instead of How Great Thou Art, they sang ” How Great Is our God”……(hey, I love these songs myself. If I don’t know the words, I make up my own and sing them loudly in my car…)

Mr. Harris, not realizing the volume of his own voice turned to me and said;
” I told you this ain’t no church. Take me out, take me out, take me out……” I quickly got up and wheeled him back to his room. For the rest of the afternoon, he wheeled himself around the facility, fixated on finding the “church service.” The nurses charted on him stating he had increased confusion….” Did he? Was he really more confused? Or, did we set him up to be confused?

I wonder how advanced the world will be when you and I are “nursing home” ready……will we not understand the technology and jargon speak to us in? Will robots be providing our care? Regardless of what happens, will you make sure that I am dressed in my Sunday Best, wheeled to the activity room for church service….and placed right up front…..I might just know the words to the songs………………


900 Seconds

Anyone who is involved in a profession that provides care to another person knows three words: hustle, shuffle and repeat. I watch caregivers in the facility every day perform the same task on a different person over and over and over again. It can become a mundane task, becoming almost robotic.
Many years ago, I worked in a facility that I helped develop a program called ” Remember Everyone As a Person” (REAP) for short. How it worked was simple; I would announce over the overhead system, ” It is now time to REAP.” stopwatch For fifteen minutes, every person in the building would stop doing whatever they were doing and sit down with a patient and do nothing but interact with a patient. Housekeepers stopped cleaning, cooks stopped cooking, nurses stopped passing meds, laundry teams stopped washing and folding, receptionist flipped phone systems to auto answer, maintenance men stopped hammering and administrative teams stopped shuffling paper. For fifteen minutes, every employee found a patient to interact with……simply interact…. Staff took residents outside, going on walks or wheelchair strolls, others read, braided hair, gave manicures, shared a cup of coffee and just listened to the patient.
Fifteen minutes. 900 seconds. In that short time frame, patients were not treated as patients… they were treated as individuals, people, humans…..not warehoused residents …….
Sitting at my desk one day, I received a call from my boss’s boss’s boss’s, bigger boss. Oh how I love corporate facilities with their hierarchy of the chain of command.boss
” Ms. Steele, we have received a complaint here at the Home Office in regards to an unauthorized program you have started in your facility. I believe it is called the Reapers program? The daughter of your resident, Maggie May, stated she came into your facility on August 4th to find her mother having her nails painted by the maintenance man? She found this to be unacceptable. She states her mother’s room has chipped pain in TWO places, yet your staff is painting fingernails? Ms. Steele, you are hereby warned that this program is to be ceased immediately and your staff is to assume their appropriate job titles and duties ONLY associated with those titles. Are we clear Ms. Steele?”
I was stunned. Shocked. Intimidated. Then without thought to who I was speaking to , I became angry.
“You cannot be serious right now. This program, and it’s called REAP, not REAPER, is meant to enhance the resident’s quality of life for a simple 15 minutes a day. It allows the staff to show love, compassion and kindness instead of just meeting the basic needs of the resident. It’s a program designed to treat the patient like he or she is NOT a patient for just 15 minutes a day…..” Before I could continue with my monologue, defending my program, I was cut short….
” So you are allowing every staff member to take a 15 minute break every day on top of their two scheduled 15 minute breaks and their 30 minute lunch break? Am I hearing you correctly Ms. Steele? Are you aware of the productivity you are allowing your building to lose by such poor leadership?”
There you have it. I was now a poor leader and my job hung in the balance …..all because of chipped paint….in TWO places……..and because of a maintenance man painting Maggie’s nails………
” Ms. Steele, you are officially directed to stop this program. Breaks are only to be taken as scheduled as stated in the Company Guidelines, Chapter 11, Subsection 2a. Should you fail to comply with this directive, you will be written up by your Regional Director who may take further disciplinary action. Our company mission is to provide outstanding care to those in our care, Ms. Steele, and having family complaints is not a good reflection on your understanding of our mission. I expect full compliance. “
After that phone call, I sat in my office, feeling like such a failure. My self pity was interrupted by someone asking what time Reap would be because she had to run to McDonald’s for food.
” There will be no more Reap, per home office…….” There. I had carried out the directive I had been given by my superior. Word spread like a raging wildfire though-out the entire building. Some employees were angry, some happy and others yet, indifferent. Me? I was confused about what we were supposed to be doing altogether……
Many years have passed since I received that phone call….I have grown older and hopefully wiser. I still do not agree with the decision to end Reap….. I have never implemented it again for fear of the same reasoning of a big shot somewhere in a Home Office finding it to be ”non-productive”.
What if we went about our entire lives never stopping to share 900 seconds of our lives just to show kindness, compassion and caring to our fellow mankind? What if we all went about doing things that only self served and self preserved our own interest? What if we focused only on ourselves, uncaring about our fellow mankind in any fashion? What if we only spoke to one another strictly for business conversation, nothing more……..There would be no more chit chat, conversation or friendly gestures. Just straight to the point, matter of fact, point on conversation, then it’s over……….. Business as usual. Period. Nothing more.
Hmmmm…………………….900 seconds……is it really that much time to show others love and kindness? My thought on this is simple…….as a man sows…………..Man sows


We live in a very strange world. Admit it, you agree with me. Yesterday while I was in the grocery store, I saw a man wearing a nice dress shirt, neatly tucked in his skirt. Yes, you read it correctly; skirt. I stared for a moment….you would have too! Then I thought, well maybe it’s a new style of a kilt, maybe he is Scottish and honoring his Motherland. That thought was squashed when I caught a glimpse of his black Sunday-best heels…..okkkkk.

This morning, I stopped at Burger King for a cup of coffee, only to have a young woman with more facial piercings than she had face, taking my order. Her lip had this bright shiny metal thing that resembled a hoop earring. Her nose, well honestly, I’m not sure what it was, or what it’s called. It looked like a staple with both points sticking outward. Her eyebrows, well, hmmm. I can’t even find the words to describe either of them. Let’s just call it a weird interaction…….

I arrive at work and open my email, and this was the first thing in my inbox.


I am a spiritualist originated from Cote d’ivoire. I have sent this same message to you but it seems you did not receive it.

I write to inform you to be careful. A man and a lady came to me and told me to prepare voodoo that will harm you and all your family but I couldn’t do it due to your good heart.

The reasons they gave me to harm you is stupid and baseless and I warned them not to come to me for such thing again.

You should seek for protection from any spiritualist you know because right now I am 100% sure that they are making arrangement with another spiritualist to get voodoo to harm you.

I do not wish to get involve on this because of my engagements but in the event you need advice do contact a very powerful spiritualist or you can contact me through my private email so that I can introduce you to a good spiritualist in your country.
The Great of Ogwuta Kingdom

Great, a voodoo spell. Now what? Obviously this fellow thinks I need a “”spiritualist”. I didn’t even know what that profession does. Matter of fact, I don’t even know where the Great of Ogwuta Kingdom is, or if it’s the fellow’s name, title, address or country!

Let me get this straight. I don’t have 55 piercings covering my face. I have zero! My hair is only one color. I have a job. I wear clothes that are suitable for my gender. I try to live in peace and harmony with others……yet, I am the odd person out and need a spiritualist because somebody wants to cast a spell on me? Ummmmmmmmmm. Ok.

Oh boy, things CAN get worse. Maybe I do have a curse……read this email that was next in my inbox.


I am Barrister Chukwu Ikenga, by name and I am writing you this email
message regarding your unpaid Fund, My Dear; I wish to inform you that
the people you are dealing with are not the real people that is in
position to release your Fund to you that is the reason why it’s
impossible for you to received your fund, why can’t you deal with the
bank appointed to handle the Transfer of your Fund instead of sending
money to people that will not help you get your fund.

If only you will response back to me upon receipt of this email
notification and follow my instruction, I will personally direct you to
the appointed paying Bank were you will be paid instead of wasting your
hard earn money and time on these hoodlums.

As it may interest you to know all this money you have been sending
would have completed your payment transmission before now if you heard
contact the appointed paying Bank. Email me back only on this email{ } for more information on how you will received
your UN-paid Fund from the appointed paying Bank.

I shall be expecting to read from you only if you needed my assistance
on this matter.

Barr. Chukwug

So that’s why I haven’t received the 40 billion dollar inheritance from my relative that I didn’t know that I had in some country I never heard of…..I have been dealing with people that aren’t real!!! This fellow thinks I am dealing with hoodlums! Mystery solved! Wow.

Just when I thought it was safe to open the next email that was flagged, “URGENT”, I again, realized that maybe this whole voodoo spell thing is legit.
Dear Jessi,
Your willy is the main source of relaxation! So you should take care of it.
Check out our HOT SUMMER OFFERS and save HUGE on the best medications . Order Viagra here! Thanks, Tammy


My what? Okkkkkkkkkkkk……ummmmm.

You know, I can sit and talk with dementia patients all day long, regardless of their cognitive skills. For the most part, I follow their stories, understand what they are talking about and can relate to them…..but oddly enough, it is obvious that I can not understand the “outside world.” Maybe it is the vodoo spell….maybe its the fact I am not taking care of my “willy”, or maybe it’s because I have corresponded with “hoodlums” …or maybe, just maybe I do indeed need a spiritualist from the Kingdom of Bamfamskamascooo…………Hmmm.

The first thing I am going to do when I get the 40 billion that is due me, I am going to fly over there to Bamsasakammania and take care of the curse…..Im going to look it up on the globe now and start planning the trip!



I Forgot The Dog

Yesterday was extremely busy and stressful for me. The entire day seemed too short to accomplish every task that I needed to complete. Somehow, by the grace of God, I finished the day with a “mission complete” status….it was finally done and over. I am sure each of us in the world has experience that type of day…nothing goes right, every challenge becomes a stumbling block, and when it rains, it pours !
I stood outside on my deck last evening, enjoying the view of the moon and the stars. I sipped gingerly on my night-time tea, enjoying the sounds of the crickets and tree frogs while my dog scampered though the yard looking for a spot to potty. My mind ran free with thoughts….random thoughts…” Why do dogs have to hunt to find the perfect spot to piddle? Just squat already! Why is she circling now that she has found a spot? What is the purpose to her drama? ……Did I mean to leave my grill cover off? ….Does it look like rain? …..The sky looks pretty clear. …..What a beautiful night….. The breeze is very refreshing….Maybe I should turn the AC off in the house….. I probably should not have drank this tea before bed, I will never get to sleep…..” My mind was having fun processing thoughts that had no real purpose…..the thought of “sleep” however, prompted me to decide to go inside, lock up and trudge off to bed. brain
Ahhhh, the softness of the bed welcomed my weary bones. My fluffy pillow has never been so inviting. I flipped the channels on the TV, hoping to bore myself to sleep. Suddenly I found myself caught up in a show on the ID channel. The suspense of who committed the murder was enough to cause me to drift off to sleep. ( Don’t you hate when you watch a show for an hour and miss the last five minutes???)
I was awakened by the sounds from the TV and the faint sound of a barking dog. Flipping the TV off, I slipped back into the comatose like sleep I had been enjoying before the noise interrupted me. The sound of the clicking ceiling fan was the only noise remaining…..until I heard it again….the barking dog.
I closed my eyes again, only to pop them wide open as I realized……I forgot my dog! In my “lost thoughts” I had locked her outside accidently!!!! I flew out of bed, racing to the backdoor in a wild sprint to find her standing in the middle of the yard barking incessantly. She noticed my presence and immediately jumped on me as if I had been gone for weeks…. wagging tail and tons of kisses.
Once back inside, we settled in for the night. I hugged her, apologized for leaving her outside and drifted off to sleep…………
You know, it’s amazing how the brain works…or how it can malfunction at the drop of a hat. Stress can make a person insane in a matter of minutes just as joy can make one carefree and careless.
Each day at work, I redirect lost dementia patients, console Willie as he mourns the death of Maggie ( in his mind she has just died ), explain to another patient that he HAS indeed eaten today, remind another to put pants on ; listen intently as another explains how someone has stolen his money; while yet explaining to another resident that the bus she is trying to catch is broken down and won’t be running today, (hoping to avoid an escape attempt!) By validating each dementia patients thoughts, they are happier, less stressed and have decreased anxiety….but boy oh boy, it’s a lot to keep up with and I wonder why my brain malfunctions????? But then again…..
I think about the patients and how their memories probably swirl around like mine were doing on the deck. Floods of memories, thoughts and mind’s eye views that they can’t express. It must be frustrating for them to have a fleeting memory of something wonderful and lose the thought…or worse yet, to have the brain misfire with only bad memories. Willie is heartbroken every single morning, thinking his beloved Maggie has just died, when in reality, it has been months now. He is “stuck” with that thought every single day. Nothing can soothe, modify or change his thought processes, not even time……….
If you encounter an Alzheimer’s patient, you will notice how their thoughts are like a flight of ideas. They jump from topic to topic like machine gun fire……never able to quiet the mind….. I think that’s why Paul wrote in Philippians Chapter 4…. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. ( Holy Bible NIV)
Maybe that explains why residents become calmer as the great hymns are sung, or played on the piano. They sing -a- long, most recalling every word of “Amazing Grace”….” The Old Rugged Cross” or ” How Great Thou Art”. Being reminded through the music of the peace that only God can give, brings peace to the soul and the over-active, misfiring brain……..text_quotes_typography_brain_thoughts_word_m2221
I think we should all follow Paul’s advice and focus on things that are lovely and worthy of praise and not stress so much over the things we have no control over. We need more peace, more quietness of mind and more calmness in the soul to be at peace with ourselves…….I am going to start doing that more and more each day……….. and by doing so…..I bet I won’t forget the dog………

Get your signed copy of my new book, God’s Waiting Room today! Email me at jessijsteel@gmail to find out how to get your copy today!

The Worst Part….

Today I was talking to a friend I had not seen in a while. As soon as I expressed my delight in seeing him, he explained how things were not going so well for him.
” Well since I last talked to you, both of my parents passed away 24 days apart. Mom of pneumonia and dad of dementia.”

I offered my sympathy to him and he continued….. ” well that’s not the worst part.”

Worst part?? How could losing both of your parents so suddenly NOT be the worst part?????? I though to myself.

“Susan, Matthew and I are at major odds over things. Susan is determined to get dad’s Volvo but Matthew says he knows dad would have wanted him to have it. Get this part Jessi, Steve wants mom’s jewelry. He says his wife can wear most of her stuff. Don’t you think that we should sell the jewelry and split it three ways? How fair is it for Susan to get the car and for him to get the gold. What does that leave me with? The couch?”

I was speechless. I was concerned for the family, after suffering such a huge loss of not one, but both of their parents…… Thinking that maybe the loss had occurred months ago, I asked, ” When did you parent pass away?”

“Eight days ago.”

Again, I stood speechless. Eight days and these adult children are fighting over their parents belongings. Wow.
It’s certainly not my place to judge, but wow. Maybe I am the odd ball with my thought processes, but after my parents passed away, their few possessions were the least of my worries. I mourned them for weeks if not even months! But hey, to each their own.

I do see this type of behavior often in my line of work. When a hospice patient is nearing the end, I see relatives; fourth cousin on mother’s side by marriage,twice removed, coming out of the woodwork! I see sons, daughters, grandchildren and extended but yet related by blood, lining up at bedside, expressing their love and devotion to the dying patient. I always wonder where they were when the patient was functional, yet ill?

It is not my place to question anyone’s motives, but it sure looks fishy to me.

You know, death is a final act, a one man, stand alone process. Dying is something that we all hope to do with dignity, grace and peace…….I would like to think that at my time of death, someone will say……”The worst part is…..she is gone………”