I am a member of an author group called AlzAuthors. This group is a compendium of authors who have personal experience on the Alzheimer’s caregiving path. To celebrate the group’s 3rd anniversary of existence as well as reaching out to those who might be looking for resources during June’s Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, many books are offered at a great discount and some are even free of charge!
This sale only runs from June 6th through June 12th so I encourage you to visit the site’s post that spotlights those books being discounted during this time. Click here to access the AlzAuthors post and grab yourselves a book or three for yourself or for someone you know who might benefit from the titles being offered. When you reach that site, clicking on each book’s cover takes you directly to the Amazon eBook purchasing discount.
I am privileged to be offering my own title at deep discounts during this sale. Requiem for the status quo is only $1.99 in eBook format on Amazon.com and if you’re craving the paperback version, my publisher, Black Rose Writing is offering that format at half-price. When you get to the checkout screen on my publisher’s website, be certain to put in the Promo Code ALZAUTHORS to receive the half-price discount.
Long distance relationships don’t always work out but the relationship I have with an Adelaide, Australia online magazine works to perfection. I’ve never wanted to be the selfish one in this relationship, but I feel I’ve received far more from it than they have.
A wee bit of history: I’ve been writing for this magazine off and on for some time and then late last year, Grandparents Day Magazine offered me my own column; my own byline. Now I’m guaranteed a page in every publication.
Then, just a couple weeks ago, the editors/founders of the magazine reached out to me wanting to promote a writers’ group to which I belong: AlzAuthors. AlzAuthors is made up of a compendium of authors who share their personal experiences with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias to benefit others. Their motto is: To make a difference. One can sing a lonely song, but we chose to form a choir and create harmony.
So today’s celebration of kindness is two-fold: one, Grandparents Day Magazine generously reached out to me and the author group to which I belong; and two, AlzAuthors members chose to share their difficult Alzheimer’s disease journeys so that others could benefit from their vast experience – much of it learn-as-you-go. As a member of the AlzAuthors group, I can testify to the fact that once I had been through a family caregiving experience – for me it was for my father – I hoped it wasn’t for naught. Being able to share my experience with others through my novel’s publication just seemed right. The same can be said for the more than 150 books written by the AlzAuthors members.
And that, my friends, is my Kindness Fridays for this week.
Over the years I’ve discovered that when we are part of a community of people, our quality of life increases. The support of others can’t be beat. For me, community is like-minded people with a common thread through their lives that provide meaning and purpose for one’s day to day existence.
I found community in a writer’s group called AlzAuthors, a compendium of authors who have all been affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia. All of us authors share our experiences through our non-fiction and fiction works to bring knowledge, comfort, and understanding to those on a similar journey to the one we have already completed. Trust me, we all wish such a group were not necessary; that the common thread we share didn’t involve the always fatal disease of Alzheimer’s and related dementia; but it is necessary and we’re filling a need that as of this writing doesn’t show any chance of abating.
I’ve never met any of these authors – I live in Washington State and the rest of the authors represent just about every state in our nation – but because of our common journeys, we are members of a community. Are we all politically aligned identically to each other? Probably not. What about religious practices, do we follow the same spiritual practices as every member of the group? Hardly, but it doesn’t matter. What we have in common does matter: we are dedicated to encouraging and helping families and individuals whose lives have been interrupted by Alzheimer’s disease. Speaking for myself, I am so glad that my novel, Requiem for the status quo, can reflect the good and the bad decisions I made and other individuals made, so that those who are still on the Alzheimer’s journey might do better because they know better. I hope you’ll get to know us AlzAuthors through our website and that you’ll become an AlzAuthors Reader Community once you’ve browsed through our bookstore. Click here to go directly to the AlzAuthors Bookstore to find a library of books – more than 140 as of today – that link directly to Amazon or other purchase outlets.
So that’s it. This week I celebrate the kindness I have found in the AlzAuthors Community. Sure beats going it alone.
Having surgery, regardless of how minor, is on the bottom of my list of enjoyable activities, but my recent cataract surgeries contained a huge kindness element for me that raised that procedure closer to the top.
Plain and simple, Pacific Cataract & Laser Institute located in Bellevue, WA, knows how to treat their patients. From initial consultation to post-surgery goodbyes, each staff member offered kindness of which many medical practices aren’t convinced is necessary. Keep in mind, PCLI is an extremely busy medical and surgical office. They perform approximately 50 cataract surgeries two days a week so the comings and goings of their patients make for an oftentimes full waiting room, an always busy front desk, and a maxed out medical staff that never gave the impression that you were just another business statistic for the books.
A separate element of kindness that existed while waiting in the pre-surgery area with other cataract surgery candidates was the camaraderie that existed amongst us. Some were there for their second eye, others, their first. For my first eye, I was extraordinarily nervous in that pre-surgery room, knowing what was coming next: numbing injections into the eyeball. After receiving said injections, I sat in the next surgery waiting area adjacent to and visible by the other candidates awaiting their injections. When the nurse came to usher me into the surgical suite, I waved to those patients and said, “Goodbye my wonderful fans!” drawing a laugh from everyone there that could be heard by my husband in the general waiting area of the medical practice. Perhaps that served as a kindness to those Nervous Nellies and Neds awaiting their next step, I certainly hope so.
And now some more kudos. My personal eye doctor, Susan Wynne of Eastside Vision Care, who referred me to PCLI, mirrors the same commitment to customer service and kindness. Dr. Wynne provides the day after, week after, and month after follow up care post surgery for me. After my first cataract surgery, I more or less got freaked out because of the vision anomalies experienced during my recovery. She compassionately provided a clear explanation for what I was experiencing; she talked me down from my immediate concerns that one could characterize as being somewhat anxious, to believing my vision going forward was forever ruined. Prior to becoming a patient of Dr. Wynne’s earlier this year, my husband and I had little satisfaction for the eyecare we received over the years. We would dread the yearly vision exams because the various doctors with whom we met a) seemed not to care, and b) didn’t provide the type of attention we felt our eyes demanded. Dr. Wynne is certainly the exception.
So, there you have it: two medically focused happy endings provide this week’s edition of Kindness Fridays.
SEE you next week!
My sister, Mary, is one of the kindest people I know. We are only eight months apart in age. You see, Mary was adopted by our parents after our mother suffered three miscarriages. Then, as oftentimes happens, once the adoption procedures commenced my mother got pregnant with me. Growing up, Mary and I always had each other as friends; we always had a playmate. People mistakenly thought we were twins; that’s how close we were, and still are.
So this wonderful, extraordinarily artistic sister of mine did something for me in response to my recent left eye cataract surgery. (See her website that spotlights some of her paintings.)
My siblings and I were raised as Roman Catholics. In our adulthood, we have followed different spiritual paths so that none of us follow the religion in which we were raised. With that said, however, Mary went to Mass the day after my eye surgery because she felt that our parents would also be there and would provide an added prayer boost to Mary’s intentions.
My sister feels very strongly about her connection with our long-deceased parents as prayer partners during Mass and has gone an additional time just this week with the intention that my left eye experiences 100% healing. She will also go next Wednesday so that my right cataract surgery that takes place the day before (April 17th) will be a complete success with no complications.
Mary has a very full and busy life with 5 children and 9 grandchildren. She volunteers every Tuesday morning to collect donated food from local grocery stores for her church’s lunch ministry. She is very attentive to her mother-in-law whose failing health requires a great deal of Mary’s and her husband’s time. She drives friends to doctor appointments, babysits her grandchildren…you get the idea. She’s busy, so adding yet another To Do to her growing list of responsibilities truly says a lot about her.
To be sure, we need more people like my sister who is the embodiment of kindness. Mary’s light shines in many places, near and far, a light that has landed on many over the years.
The best way to paint this picture is to assume you’re in the kitchen, you pull out a gallon of milk from the refrigerator, take it to the counter to pour yourself a glass of milk and the full glass of milk spills on the counter, over the edge of the counter, and onto the kitchen floor.
If another family member is in the near vicinity, that family member intervenes, tells the person who inadvertently spilled the milk to leave the kitchen, and the other family member cleans it up.
“But Mom, I spilled it, I should have to clean it up.”
“You didn’t do it on purpose, Irene. You already feel bad for spilling the milk, let me lessen your burden by cleaning it up for you.”
And that’s what happened throughout my childhood, and it’s what happens now in my adulthood. A little kindness goes a very long way…all the way from Grandma Conroy’s Edmonton, Alberta kitchen in the 1920s thru 1940s, all the way to mine in Redmond, Washington in the 21st-century.
My husband and I had the privilege of keeping the spouse of this family member company at the hospital during the day’s nail-biting, angst-filled four-hour surgery. All of us, family and strangers with a loved one in surgery, were gathered in the same neurosurgery waiting room, a room where the surgeon meets up with families immediately after the surgery to deliver the exploratory news that summarizes the surgery and its outcome.
Approximately fifteen minutes prior to our surgeon’s meeting with us, another neurosurgeon met with a family fifteen feet away from us in the waiting area. Their news was not at all good. The only words I heard were, “I know you hoped this surgery would be the end of it but that is not the case I’m sorry to say.” The four daughters and husband immediately started sobbing. I felt I was an unwelcome observer because of the grief I witnessed.
Then my family member’s surgeon met with us and declared that he had removed all of the massive tumor from my sister-in-law’s brain and it was not cancerous. We were relieved and felt exhilarated but tamped down our excitement.
How can it be that in the course of a quarter hour’s worth of time, one family’s extreme happiness could co-exist with the other family’s extreme devastation?
I guess the answer is that life happens to all of us; sometimes it is good, and other times it is not. Very sobering, to be sure.
I am ecstatic that our news was good but very much aggrieved that the other family’s was not.