Am I a HANC or a Don Quixote Girl?

windmill     The Life of a Caregiver is not an easy one. Whether the caregiver is a health professional doing shift work in a facility or a family member, the demands placed on a caregiver can be overwhelming.

     I‘m fortunate to have been born into a large family and some aspects of my job as a live-in Housekeeper, Activities Director, Nutritionist and Companion (HANC) were in place before my husband and I made our life-altering decision to relocate.

      This site is my catharsis and my connection to other caregivers and families contemplating some of the hardest choices before them. It has also become a link to caregivers who have walked the path before me.

     Two such caregivers were recently introduced to me through a mutual friend and fellow writer, John J White, whose work reminds me of O.Henry crossed with Edgar Allen Poe.  His blog, Give it up, You’ll Never be Published provides a humorous look into the  life of one of the most prolific and talented writers I know.

     John and I met when I facilitated meetings for the Florida Writers Association in Melbourne, Florida. I abdicated my position with FWA after I became editor for Bluewater Creative Group and I realized I would burn out if I didn’t learn to say “no” and “I’ve had enough, thank you.”

     Now, I live more than 300 miles from John, but he and I still meet via Skype, with three other skillful writers: H.V. Rhodes, who has released the second edition of his Brain Dead Manager as an eBook; Athena Sasso, the editor of the Beachside Resident was recently highlighted in FLARE, a publication produced at Flagler College and A.M. Frakes, a young Sci-Fi/Fantasy novelist who evokes writer’s envy among his older peers.

iron keys

     John unlocked an invisible barrier when he forwarded an email from Karlene Conroy. Through Facebook, she discerned the friendship John and I have developed over nearly a decade. As the current co-leader of the same organization that propelled John into my life, she has come to know him as well, so she asked for an introduction, believing I could be instrumental in helping her publicize her book in Senior Life.

     Unfortunately for Karlene and her co-writer, Mia Crews, my largess with Bluewater Creative Group is extremely limited at this point. I did pass along some helpful information and within a few days, she had made contact with the office. Fortunately for me, Karlene and I made an immediate connection online.

famliy treasure

     One of the reasons for our quick connection is also the basis of Karlene and Mia’s book, The Don Quixote Girls, which is receiving rave reviews.

     Karlene and Mia both served as caregivers for their parents, which inspired their hilarious novel.

     Reflecting the humor in the book, The Don Quixote Girls website’s Join the Club button asks: Are you a Don Quixote Girl? and has an expanding list of suggestions, which prompted my own list.

 

sword

  

   I may be a Don Quixote Girl, who, like Cervante’s original Don Quixote, am battling my own windmills.

 

      You, too, may be a Don Quixote Girl, if:

  • Your mother calls to ask you to pick up milk, butter and eggs and insists she has no bread or cookies at home and when you deliver them, you find multiples of each. Every one has been opened and there are three opened jars of peanut butter and six boxes of expired cake mixes – all the same flavor.

 

  • You don’t know whether to be thrilled or worried when you see your mother working her crossword puzzle in ink, then she tells you the words don’t fit in the squares and you realize she thinks she is doing a find-a-word book.

 

  • Your mother announces that she isn’t hungry when you offer her a glass of freshly juiced fruit and vegetables at 11:00, but as soon as her game show ends at 11:30, she starts demanding lunch.

 

  • Your mother offers to help prepare dinner, so you hand her a knife and a tomato to slice. She presents them beautifully arranged on the unwashed cat dish.

 

  • When you move your mother’s toilet paper spindle to her bedroom so it is near her potty chair, you later find she has put fresh rolls on the handle of the plunger and placed it where the spindle had been and you see how fast you can move to set this right and buy a new spindle!

 

  • You reconnect with nature and take an unusual interest in yard work or gardening just so you have an excuse to go outside in the heat of the day, so you can be alone.

Now, just like Don Quixote, I am seeing windmills everywhere!

Cervantes Don Quixote

 

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