The Road to Recovery - "Got Tools?"

“It’s going to be ok. I am here for you. You will be at peace. Hail Mary full of grace…” I’m examining her face. She has such a beautiful glow to her skin, as if she aged in reverse in a matter of hours. She appears at peace, but she has shallow breathing. Her mouth open; eyes open but focused on heaven. Although she has had dementia for several years, the coronavirus has chosen her. I wish her life didn’t have to end this way. I rub her hand with my plastic covered thumb as it’s cupped in hers. As she’s passing, there is nothing I can do, as these were her wishes. All of sudden, I wake up drenched in sweat, breathing heavy. Within a few seconds, I realized I was just dreaming, but was I really?

Working with individuals with dementia who have contracted COVID-19 has been rewarding yet incredibly challenging. After a few of these nightmares, I realized quite quickly, I don’t want to go down this road again. I experienced PTSD...

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Post-Traumatic Stress: This is My Story

I sit here holding your hand with my gloved hand, stroking it gently with my thumb back and forth and back and forth. I look into your eyes and give you a look to reassure you. We spend time together - me exchanging words with you, making sounds, or humming a song through my face mask and goggles. Your breaths become rapid. We call your family. They get to see you one last time. They cry, but you give them a look that everything will be alright. You are at peace. Your vitals are dropping and breaths become even more rapid. You look back at me and close your eyes. 

Working the frontlines over the last few months has been incredibly rewarding yet exhausting, touching yet sad, hopeful yet hopeless, all at the same time. I’m one of the many that sit with your loved ones or patients with dementia day in and day out as they struggle with COVID-19. I’m the one of many that help feed and take care of them. I’m the one of many that rush to grab the oxygen when they are...

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The Next Pandemic: Post-Traumatic Stress

From the beeping of machines to patients gasping for air, from seeing your loved one for the last time on FaceTime to making funeral arrangements, from working in your office at work to filling your full-time hours at home while homeschooling your children, from socializing in your community groups to being isolated at home, from working on the frontlines to then developing symptoms and isolating from your family, from going to regular Tuesday BINGO group to being in your room all the time in a nursing home  and watching through the window young kids playing in their pool across the street, this pandemic has affected all of us in some way. All of our experiences might be different but what is common is the realization that this has been a traumatic, trying time etched in all of our minds. 

I believe our next pandemic will be suffering from post-traumatic stress.

Trauma is experienced differently from one person to the next. Someone may be coping well while another may feel...

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