The Wednesday HodgePodge (September 7, 2022)

Hi everyone. It’s Wednesday again, so it’s time for the Wednesday HodgePodge. Here are Joyce’s questions and my answers.

1. Tell us a little bit about the best birthday you’ve ever had.
I honestly can’t decide on any specific one. Birthdays were always stressful when I was a child, but they’ve gotten easier as I got older. Now that I think of it, I’m going to pick last year’s, my 35th, because it wasn’t as loaded as the ones before and I got some of the loveliest presents.

2. In what way(s) have you changed in the last five years?
Five years ago, I was struggling greatly living with my husband. I had already had my first major mental crisis, but not my second or third and I was still trying to uphold the image of myself as the successful psych survivor. As such, the most important way in which I’ve changed over the past five years, is having learned to embrace myself with all my limitations, rather than wanting to prove my capabilities to the world. It’s a delicate balancing act and sometimes I wonder if I’ve swung too far to the dependent side of things. I’m trying to reclaim some of my fierce self-reliance indeed, without losing the self-determination I didn’t have five years ago. For those who don’t know, living with my husband rather than in a care facility wasn’t my choice; instead, I had been kicked out of a psych hospital in May of 2017 for allegedly misusing care. I am so glad my community support team and I eventually came to the conclusion that I needed to be in long-term care after all. Now I need to find the balance between passive dependency and stubborn self-reliance.

3. What’s your favorite thing about the street on which you live?
The fact that the care facility is right at the end of the street, overseeing the meadow, so it’s relatively quiet.

4. The Hodgepodge lands on National Beer Day…are you a beer drinker? What’s a recipe you make that lists beer as one of the ingredients? If not beer, how about yeast?
I can’t stand beer, doesn’t matter whether it’s alcohol in it. I honestly don’t know any recipe with beer or yeast in it. That being said, my father used to make bread from scratch, including “waking” the yeast for the dough. That expression always made me laugh.

5. As I grow older I would like to be a woman (or man, if there are any men in the HP today) who…
Practises expressing gratitude everyday.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
Speaking of my answer to #2, I had an interesting conversation with the student staff today. I have as soon as I came here expressed that I’d prefer not to be helped with my personal care by male staff. When discussing this with this student staff a few days ago, I said that I could try to do my personal care myself if there’s no female staff available. This staff either understood this to mean that, if he works on my side of the home, I’ll do my personal care by myself, or I thought he understood it this way. Rather, I had meant it if no female staff are available at all.

It may seem weird that, if I can do my personal care by myself if absolutely necessary, I may want help with it sometimes or most times. The reason has to do with the fact that doing my personal care costs me a lot of energy without giving me much satisfaction at all. I don’t personally feel that self-reliance is an end goal in itself, so I get help with my personal care. Thankfully, my staff agree. Then again, I can’t expect there to always be a female staff in the home, so when there isn’t, I make the choice to invest the extra energy into my personal care in order to preserve my dignity as a married woman.

17 thoughts on “The Wednesday HodgePodge (September 7, 2022)

  1. Thank you for letting me know the link was missing. I don’t know what happened here today, but my answer to the random thought was also missing. I’m glad I saw your comment early! I have never acquired a taste for beer either. Have a great day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, not my mental health team necessarily – my original CPN at mental health was horribly independence-focused and didn’t care about my actual needs. I meant my community support staff from the care agency I now live at. I did eventually get a supportive responsible clinician at mental health, so he did help me apply for long-term care.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s good that you’ve been able to switch to a female doctor. I don’t mind male doctors as much, although they do make me feel a little uncomfortable obviously. Not to the point where I’d always request a female doctor though. It may be because medical care feels somehow different from help with personal care, because I can technically do my personal care by myself if absolutely necessary.

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  2. I’m actually kind of surprised that your care facility doesn’t have some rules on this by default, I mean it’s pretty common and quite natural for women to prefer to be helped with as intimate stuff as personal care by female staff, so it’s slightly weird to me that you not only have to specify that but also end up being misunderstood as if what you said was really unexpected or something. I sure think it can add more diversity and a different perspective when the staff in any institution like that are of both sexes, but I’d feel the same as you about being helped specifically with personal care by a male staff.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I guess there are policies on safeguarding clients when staff of the opposite sex help them with personal care, or at least that’s what I heard when I was at my first day center with this care agency. However, there also seems to be this logic that since the clients at my care home are profoundly intellectually disabled, like with infants and toddlers, it’s somehow okay for carers of both sexes to help them. I do however know at least one of the more intellectually capable clients, a man, does often indicate a preference for being cared for by male staff. Then again, it’s not always possible to have clients be helped with their personal care by staff of the same sex, so I am just happy I can do most of these things by myself if absolutely necessary, and that I can indicate my preference.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing your heart in this post. I come from a family with a mental illness. My mother suffered deeply. Our daughter has suffered since her teens. She is now 41. I actually met with a therapist on Wednesday and I’m seeing a psychiatrist on Monday. My heart feels for you. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. ((Hugs))

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so very much for the thoughts and prayers. I am so sorry to hear of your extensive family experience with mental illness. Mental illness isn’t my main disability, except if you count my trauma-related mental health conditions. However, because I couldn’t cope living on my own with multiple other disabilities (blindness, autism, mild cerebral palsy), I landed in a mental crisis and had to be hospitalized. The system unfortunately differentiates between autistic people (like me) with an IQ above 85 (who it says belong in the psych system and need endless treatment and training) and those with an IQ below 85 (who can get a place within long-term care for the developmentally disabled). I am “lucky” in that I am blind too, so I was allocated long-term care funding based on that (after appeal) after all.

      Liked by 1 person

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