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Reposted from Daily Kos by GreyHawk Editor's Note: The continued prevalence of racism in our society today is cause for both concern & action. One of the most important, yet overlooked, areas of human life in a "civilized" society is when family serve as caregivers for family. For those who mitigate mitigate the impacts of racism throughout the caregiving process, the entire journey becomes exponentially more challenging. -- GreyHawk
Overpass Light Brigade with lights that read
Overpass Light Brigade, "Unlearn Racism"
When the Overpass Light Brigade brought the message of "Unlearn Racism" to Milwaukee, they held up lights on a subject that we are confronted with daily, but are not always sure how to address as individuals. We know that anthropologists and other scientists have made it clear for years that biological "race" exists as only a social construct, but that "racism" is alive and well and none of us are unaffected by the miasma from the racial swamp we breathe in daily.

So many of our efforts are focusing on protesting the more obvious deleterious effects of systemic racism—via protests and legislation—that we don't always have time to have a conversation about what to do about it, person by person. This is what Ricky Sherover-Marcuse called "attitudinal racism."

Because racism is both institutional and attitudinal, effective strategies against it must recognize this dual character. The undoing of institutionalized racism must be accompanied by the unlearning of racists attitudes and beliefs. The unlearning of racists patterns of thought and action must guide the practice of political and social change.

As a black person, I'm always interested in trying to figure out in conversations with my close friends who are not black—what makes them tick? How did they shake off the shackles of ostensible racial superiority and change? What was it in their upbringing, surrounds, faith, ethical teachings, incidents that took place along the road of life that allowed them to scour out racism or at least start the cleansing? Perhaps if more people would talk about how they unlearned racism, it would help direct others onto that path.

Follow me below the fold to begin that conversation.

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Sat May 09, 2015 at 06:14 AM PDT

Happy Mother's Day! (and a free gift)

by GreyHawk

Hi folks!

Periodically (and semi-regularly, somewhat randomly), the book that Kossack Shadan7 and I co-authored is available for free download from Amazon. It's available this weekend, in honor of Mother's Day.

*Important update from James Wells via comments:

A quick note on downloading it - intuitively you want to click on "Read for Free" but that's Kindle Unlimited and it leads you down the road to sign up for that (ultimately not free). What a reader wants to do is "Buy" at the cost of $0.
We encourage you to download it, and to share the link with anyone who may benefit from reading about our two care-giving journeys, whether they've already traveled that road or if it's a road not yet taken, but facing them or their loved ones in the near future.

The book, Her Final Year: A Care-Giving Memoir, is comprised of quite a bit of material first posted here on Daily Kos. The posts were made during our respective caregiving journeys - in fact, that's how we initially met: we stumbled across each other's posts, and realized there was another Kossack going through almost exactly the same type of journey that we were on.

We also found that the folks here were very receptive to reading about the journey.

We kept in touch, and after our loved ones passed on, while we were recuperating our own health, we discussed assembling our collective experiences and making them available for others.

The result was a work that has had an impact on several others - it's garnered 26 reviews on Amazon, consisting of 23 five-star reviews and 3 four-star reviews.

For us, the writing and sharing process was cathartic. The intent of the book was to share the combined experiences so that others may also benefit, possibly prepare, and - ultimately - heal. In terms of "success" with regard to our intent, it seems very much like we intended: sales of the book weren't spectacular, but the free downloads we've been providing of the electronic version have varied wildly - there are thousands of downloaded copies out there.

And that's fine with us. It's the story and the sharing that's important.

So, if you haven't seen or read it, feel free to grab a copy. Share the link with anyone who might appreciate or benefit from it. Let them know they don't need a Kindle, either - they can grab the free Kindle reader app for their computer or mobile device; they'll just have to sign up for an (also free) Amazon Kindle account.

And have a safe, warm, and happy Mother's Day.

Thank you.

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Thu May 07, 2015 at 08:12 AM PDT

What Changed? A Caregiver's Story

by michelewln

Reposted from michelewln by michelewln

I have written of the struggles my brother and I are having with his health and with a hostile management company. Last night  when I was doing a couple domestic things like running the dishwasher and making sure he was covered up since he goes to bed early I was struck by the thought "what changed?" What turned an apartment I loved into a nightmare. I was able to throw my imagination into its fullest and decorate the place the way I wanted. Everyone loves the way I decorated. Yet my ideal place to live has gradually turned into a nightmare. What changed? I became a caregiver.

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Wed May 06, 2015 at 08:35 AM PDT

Mama Do You Know Me ?

by Leah Sellers

Reposted from Leah Sellers by GreyHawk

After a series of almost undetectable mini-strokes, and an ongoing struggle with breast cancer, Mama developed a mild Dementia.  Some days were better than others.  But each and every day was a Life's Lesson.  A Life's Treasure.

Mama dies last June.  This our Family's First Mother's Day without our Beloved Mama.

Mama, Do You Know Me ?

Dementia is a cruel Dis-ease.
Gradually - day by day - memory by memory - your Loved One leaves you.
Slips away from you.
Mama, Do You Know Me ?
Mama is/was a Gentle, Sensitive Soul.
An Artist.  A Natural Teacher.
A wonderful and inviting Home-Maker.
She is/was the Comforting Hearth of Our Family’s Home.
Mama, Do You Know Me ?
Mama loves Being outside - out in Nature -
Working and Creating Life in her Flower and Vegetable Gardens.
Sunrises and Sunsets bring a Smile to her lips each and every day.
She always stops to say, “My, how Beautiful the World is -
How Wonderful !”
Mama, Do You Know Me ?
Mama did everything in Life for her Family - for her Four Girls
And their Children, and their Children’s Children
She raised them All with Love, Play, Art, Music, Adventure and Laughter.
Mama, Do You Know Me ?
Mama trained all of our Colts.  Even the Stallions.  She Gentled their Spirits.
She spent months building a Respectful Relationship with the young Horses.
Loving them - Working them - Training them, and eventually Riding them.
“Here Girls, this Horse is ready for y’all to Ride now.”
And then she’d firmly place the Horse’s reins in Our Hands.
“Be Thoughtful, Be Respectful, and Take Good Care of your Horse, and the Horse will Take Good Care of you.”
“And if for any reason you fall off, get right back up into your saddle and Ride your horse again.”
Mama, Do You Know Me ?
Mama is a Painter and a Singer.  The Blood of Artists and Musicians runs Through her Veins - through All of her People’s Veins.
“And that same Blood of Artists and Musicians was passed on to her Four Girls,” she often boasts.
Mama, Do You Know Me ?
Now, Mama Paints only on occasion, when her concentration holds out
Or can hold onto a Project.
She has created a Daily Regimen for herself.
Rigid Ritual is important when Memory is failing.
Every day, she rises at dawn, and after a cup of coffee and bowl of oatmeal,
She tends to and feeds her clucking Chickens, mischievous Goats, cavorting Pony, barking Dogs, napping Cats, chittering Hummingbirds, melodious Songbirds and Snorting Deer.  
Afterwards, she Gardens until it gets too hot outside.
Then she goes inside to take a brief nap, read, write letters and work on her Creative Projects.
When her Four Girls call to check on her she almost always says, “It sure is
Beautiful out here.  The Hill Country is so peaceful.  Sky as far as the Eyes
Can See.  I’m Blessed.”
Mama, Do You Know Me ?
These days Mama doesn’t want to go to any concerts, the opera, the Symphony, art shows, church or even out to visit with Friends.
“Its just too much of a bother.  Anyway, I can’t Re-Member People
Or Places from one minute to the next.  Sometimes, I repeat things I’ve
Already said two or more times.  Sometimes I get lost in buildings I used to Know like the back of my hand.”
When Mama admits these things to her Four Girls, she laughs with a glint of sadness - of something Lost in her soft green eyes.
Mama, Do You Know Me ?
“Girls, I’m worried about your Father.
He pulled his old Golf Clubs out of the hall closet
And tried to sell them to People on the Television playing The Price Is Right Again.  I cant get him to understand that the Television People are not real, And cannot hear a word he is saying to them.
I think he’s Losing his Mind.”
“I know Mama.  I know.  Did he get any fair offers for his Bag of Golf Clubs, Mama ?”
We looked at one another knowingly and laughed out loud.
Mama, Do You Know Me ?
“Where did you say we are going to, Baby ?”
“To the doctor’s office, Mama.
“That’s right.  That’s right.  I knew that.  I was just checking with you to Make sure that you knew what we were doing.”
“Is that right, Mama ?  Well, thank you for keeping me focused.”
“Sure is taking Bill a long tome to fix my little pick-up truck.  I miss
Driving myself around to get things done on my own.”
“Yes Ma’am, Bill’s still looking for all of the parts he needs.  I’m sure he’ll Call when he’s done.”
Mama, Do You Know Me ?
Mama, got lost for more three hours one day last year while driving into Town for a few groceries, and some chicken and goat feed.
She drove aimlessly around on the back roads just a few miles from home.
She had forgotten to carry her cell phone with her.
She had no idea where she was or how to get back home again.
By chance, her Artists Eye Re-Membered a pretty Horse Ranch she was
Always commenting on, and luckily, she was able to find her way home.
She put a scare into everyone.
When her truck ‘mysteriously’ would not start one morning, the Family
Had it towed away to Bill’s never to return.
Every time Mama asks about the truck, we tell her that Bill will call when It’s fixed.  Oddly, Bill never seems to have the time to fix it.
And Mama has no Concept of Time anymore.
She’s constantly looking at her Lighthouse Calender and her brass Clock.
But neither seem to help her much anymore.
Mama, Do You Know Me ?
“Betty, pass me that plate, please.”
“Yes Mama.  But I’m Cheyenne, your daughter.
Aunt Betty still lives in Arkansas with her Family.”
Mama smiles, “I know that Betty.”
I smile back and passing her the plate say, “I Love you Mama.”
Mama, Do You Know Me ?
“What’s that, dear ?”
“Nothing Mama.  The important thing is that I Know You.
And I Love you with All of my Heart - just as you taught me to Love.
Mama, I Know You.  And right now, that’s all that really matters.”
 

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Mon May 04, 2015 at 01:20 PM PDT

This Should Be Interesting

by michelewln

Reposted from michelewln by michelewln

I have Reid home from the hospital. The foot doesn't look as bad as I feared it would. He doesn't appear to be in pain and is glad to be home. Because of the long narrow shape of his foot I don't think the loss of the fourth and fifth toe is going to hamper him any.

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Sun May 03, 2015 at 07:12 PM PDT

Silence Won't Stop An Epidemic

by Besame

Reposted from KosAbility by GreyHawk

MAYDAY! Take A Bite Out of Lyme and Thunderclap for ME/CFS/ME are some of the campaigns occurring in May for NEID awareness. Also new, a major lupus study seeks participants.

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Reposted from Street Prophets by GreyHawk

This will be rather short as it has been the day from hell. Reid started feeling bad this afternoon. I dealt with diarrhea and vomiting. His blood sugar plummeted and he went into seizures.  The paramedics took him to the hospital. After a bunch of tests they have determined he has some pneumonia and an infection in the bones of the leg they operated on.

I have come on home because the stress is giving me a massive migraine and I needed to get home before it got too bad to drive. I don't know how long it will take to get him admitted but I left him in the hands of capable nurses who promised to take good care of him for me.

Again I'm asking for prayers, good wishes, and healing energy.

05/03/15 9:41 EDT - Just talked with the Doctor. They are going to have to amputate the fourth and fifth toe on the left foot as that is the source of the infection. They will be checking the other wounds at that time to see if something can be done to expedite their healing. They said for me to wait until this afternoon to come in and see him. He is in reasonably good spirits. I'm completely drained.

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Reposted from Community Fundraisers by GreyHawk
I last wrote in January about the troubles of long-time kossack aitchdee -- you can see that diary here.

Since that time, with the help of many people here, she's made significant progress, but she still needs some help. I won't repeat her whole backstory, since it's in the linked diary; there's plenty new to tell below the fold, mostly from aitchdee herself with a little editing from me.

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Reposted from michelewln by michelewln

I wrote yesterday of my problems with the landlords. We may be able to get the car out tomorrow. Today however we got a 30 day eviction notice. Reid is still in the hospital and ill. We don't have money to move or fight them. I'm desperate. Can you help?

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Reposted from weinenkel by GreyHawk
Duke University scientists have potentially discovered new avenues for Alzheimer's and dementia treatments.
They observed that in Alzheimer’s, immune cells that normally protect the brain instead begin to consume a vital nutrient called arginine.

By blocking this process with a drug, they were able to prevent the formation of ‘plaques’ in the brain that are characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease, and also halted memory loss in the mice.

What's more is that they were researching with a drug that has already begun human trials for cancer treatments—possibly paving the way for clinical trials in the near future.
While no technique that is tested in an animal can be guaranteed to work the same way in humans, the findings are particularly encouraging because, until now, the exact role of the immune system and arginine in Alzheimer’s was completely unknown.

The drug that was used to block the body’s immune response to arginine – known as difluoromethylornithine (DFMO) – is already being investigated in drug trials for certain types of cancer and may be suitable for testing as a potential Alzheimer’s therapy.

This follows on the heels of other recent breakthroughs in possible "plaque fighting" techniques for Alzheimer's patients.
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Reposted from KosAbility by michelewln
Because of a programming glitch this diary published the evening of April 4th rather than Sunday April 12th like it should. This is the regular scheduled KosAbility diary.
Caregiving by its very nature is stressful. As a caregiver you have the responsibility of the life of another person. I took my brother from being a noncompliant diabetic at death's door to being a controlled diabetic with multiple health problems caused by his initial noncompliance. I have taken him from 104 pounds to about 160 pounds. Unfortunately the years of not keeping his diabetes under control and 40 years of smoking has created lasting damage that we still have to deal with.

Caregiving is literal life and death sometimes. I have lost count of the number of times in the last year where I had to get his blood sugar up from dangerously low to normal. The worst time being last March when one of his doctor wanted a colonoscopy. What that doctor failed to understand is what a cleansing diet and no insulin could do to a patient. Reid's blood sugar dropped to 32, he collapsed on the floor with grand mal seizures. I thought of the Karo syrup in my kitchen and was feeding him that, listening with the door open for the paramedics, and trying to follow the instructions from 911 on my cell phone's speaker.

Caregiving is not for the squeamish. You have to be prepared to clean bedside commodes and urinals. You have to be prepared to clean the rugs when he can't get to the commode and has diarrhea. You have to work to get urine smells out of carpets when his hands don't work because of the neuropathy.

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Thu Apr 09, 2015 at 04:35 AM PDT

We Are The Rail...

by nicolemaschke

Reposted from The Final Chapter by GreyHawk

Mornings have always been magical times for me. When out in the woods, mornings are the times when Branfionn and the fairies come out, greeting the new day, as they then fade back into the mushroom circle.... away from the things of man....

And every morning brings with it, a new day ... of discoveries, failures, successes, new friends, old ones, confusion, growth, stress... breathing in... breathing out....

I've always loved the mornings. They always remind me that, no matter what, life will move on....

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