Laguna Honda Hospital Resident

Laguna Honda Hospital Resident

Saturday, May 31, 2014


Simon the Cat
A ''Class Act''

---If you don’t know who Simon is…all I can say is that you don’t spend a lot of time at the Farm.  Simon is the Siamese cat that you will find lurking around the Farm Area ‘unofficially’ keeping his paw on the pulse of what’s REALLY happening at the hospital. He is the one who feels that anyone with a lap may possibly be his next ‘’friend.’’
---It is difficult to find a cat with a nicer demeanor than Simon. I’m sure that we have all had many experiences involving cats. We have actually owned a cat of our own or a cat has at onetime or other…been present while we have done something.

---Cats can be fiercely independent. You soon learn that the cat will run the show his way the less he may find the food you offer him…enticing. He may find something/anything more interesting at a moment’s notice…and be gone. (He may or may not leave many hair’s in his wake…depending on his breed.)

---The formula that Simon seems to use that I have experienced directly and/or observed from afar is that he finds a lap that appeals to him at a particular time, jumps up to it molds himself to it and begins licking. You are on Simon’s clock at this point. You must always be aware of the fact that Simon may go upon his way at any time. As he goes along, EVENTUALLY, as is his way…I can’t help but to think of the many people that have been ‘’touched’’ by this cat over the years and how much ‘’good’’ that he’s done. He may be just a cat to some…but, I think he is a CLASS ACT...all the way.
This is the article that appeared in the INSIDER a few years ago. 
---Simon died the other day. A very sad day for many. ''I'm going to miss you, Simon! RIP.''

Monday, May 26, 2014


I’ve Been Told It Is

Like, ‘’Of Mice + Men.’'


---I mentioned to one of the Zen Volunteers about the situation with my hands. I had a stroke that left me with a movement disorder on my right side. Most stroke survivors have a paralysis of sorts on one side or the other. My stroke hit on my right-side. 1% of the population that have a stroke follow with a movement disorder. Most have a paralysis.

---I was, also, born missing four fingers on my left-hand. This has left me in a bit of a quandary. I’d like to say that because of all the wonderful folks at Laguna Honda Hospital…life is very doable at the hospital, itself. There are a few things on my plate that I have an impossible time with, but with unwavering kindness…things get done at LHH.

---I would like to speak about my using utensils at mealtimes. This was difficult for me. It seemed I was at the end of enjoying anything I would take by mouth. At first, I was fed by a stomach tube bypassing the throat. I had a swallowing problem, and could easily swallow into the lungs causing aspiration and being unable to breathe, choking. As a matter-of-fact...I had a code blue at onetime.

---Eventually, I overcame this. I was listed as a feeder, meaning that the nurses would use the knife, spoon + fork for me and I’d be fed much like a baby is fed. The stroke is responsible for my being unable to walk and my double-vision (my balance is off)...and, NOW this! I will digress a bit…here.

---I will speak of my relationship with my own left-hand. There is a only a thumb there and I am unable to hold a knife, spoon or fork. I am NOT able to hold much of anything with my left-hand. There is NOTHING opposable and so I am unable to clasp things.

---My right-hand shakes and moves continuously with the fingers looking like a bug on its back when I hold it palm up. As I said, the nurses fill in any needs that may arise with my being in this condition.

---''Of Mice and Men'' - a story written by John Steinbeck chronicling a slow-witted man helping another man unable to go it alone. My right-hand had once been able to do many things and was quite good at most things I’ve tried. My left-hand seemed to be a real detriment and UNABLE to pull its weight in the scope of things. Psychologically…I was unable to accept the condition of my left-hand and kept it hidden as my way of dealing with it. I will not go into much more detail, here. My right-hand was very good and my good hand. My left-hand was my bad hand.

---It resembles Steinbeck’s book more in that my left-hand has come to the aid of my right-hand and they NOW work as a team. (The resemblance to Steinbeck begins and ends there, in my opinion.) It is more like a PBS special. The irony that my left-hand is now my GOOD hand is NOT lost on me.

---I am able to hold the utensils in my right-hand…due to the fingers that are there. Because of the movement disorder I am unable (and not advised) to try to put the utensil into my mouth due to spasmosdic movement increasing the chance of poking my eyes or nose or somewhere else it may not belong. But...with the guidance of the left the probability is near zero.

---My left-hand is able to guide my right-hand and (through the right amount of applied pressure) is able to make my right-hand be much more functional than it would otherwise be. I can’t eat with either hand, but together (teamwork) they can NOW do the job.

---The lesson to be learned, probably, is NOT much different than the lesson that John Steinbeck had in mind. Individually, we may not be able to pull all the strings, but, since we are ALL in this, together…working together and helping one another where necessary, we seem to produce more than we can alone.

---This is something that I learned in theory years ago, but, never really put into practice. I was too stubborn and self-reliant to cry ‘uncle’ at different times when I, probably, should have. I never thought when it finally happened…my left-hand would be the one to answer the call. It is one of those situations that wouldn’t have been predicted in a million years…at least by me, anyway. My left-hand HELPING my right. Go figure!

---It only resembles ''Of Mice and Men'' in the fact that it champions working together.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Quality of Life-Performance Improvement Team


(Performance Improvement Team)

---What we have been doing as of late is presenting data we have been collecting concerning the benefits of going outdoors. We have been trying to convince the leadership forum about these benefits. Our approach is to convince those who make the nursing assistant assignments to consciously include ‘’going outdoors’’ as part of the Care Plan for each resident (if possible.) We think that doing this is very therapeutic in accord with the studies…and, that many residents have requested this, anyway.

---The NEGATIVE SIDE: My feeling is that it has to be scheduled into the nursing assistant’s time…or it will NOT get done. I feel that a weeding of the garden may be necessary to be sure that the nursing assistant is not spending time doing other things that cause going outdoors to be anymore than a big hassle. The benefits will be downgraded if this activity becomes nothing but a problem. Something as therapeutic as this can easily be a ''headache'' to be avoided at ALL costs...if only added to the nursing assistant's already tight schedule.

---POSITIVES: This activity also causes communication that has the possibilities of expanding relationships and benefitting residents/patients beyond only ward/neighborhood activity. A reason to go outside is always welcome. Personally, I think a ‘’free throw’’ shooting contest at our basketball half-court. Having worthwhile prizes could work as an incentive for the shooters and a fun activity to watch for the patients. We could have the free throw shooter represent a neighborhood and the prize could be a pizza party for the winner’s neighborhood.

---Please let someone know if you have/hear of any good ideas that may be fitting.


Saturday, May 10, 2014


Counseling -
Why Folks DON’T Tell The Truth…

---I was thinking back to the days when I used to counsel. I don’t think I’m telling any tales (out-of-school) when I say that is when I first realized that folks DO NOT want to look bad.

---Folks would be fine telling a narrative of life that made friends and family look despicable. And, even if they, themselves, were the villain in the first go around of the story…it would eventually change enough to improve (the look of) their own role in the scenario. Depending on how serious they are about ‘’this counseling thing‘’…they would eventually avoid confessing anything about themselves that would show themselves in a negative light. Their friends/family were fair game…but, NOT THEMSELVES.

---They were setting the stage so as to NOT to look bad in the story. One realizes that it can be very difficult to expose ones vulnerabilities. At first, (according to their OWN viewpoint) it is invariably EVERYONE ELSES FAULT that they are in whatever situation they are found to be in. Saving Face is the first order of business…as they see it. Even if they tell you that it is all their fault.

---Taking personal responsibility for ourselves is not one of the easy things that we do…BUT, IT IS NECESSARY. And…IT IS A PROCESS TO LEARN + EMBODY. We much, more easily want anyone else to be on that chopping block…than ourselves. Think back in your own life and realize that there have been times that you made yourself look better at another’s expense. We have ALL done it I’ll bet. Maybe it is time, NOW, to forgive ourselves along these lines and to take back our personal power. We will find ourselves to be more well in the long run when we take responsibility for ourselves and tell the truth. Good luck with ALL of this. Be Well.

Saturday, May 3, 2014


''This includes patients...also!''