Just 116 days until Christmas... now, now, stop throwing things at me! I know many of you do your Christmas shopping throughout the fall as you've learned not to wait until the last minute. Now, we've all heard of Toys For Tots... as you do your shopping consider purchasing items that TEENS would enjoy. With donations full of Fisher Price, Thomas, Dora and more teenagers are frequently the forgotten hospital population. Keep an eye out for books, games, and other items that would be a great donation for Toys for "TEENS" and Take An Extra Bag as you start your winter holiday shopping! http://www.toysfortots.org/default.aspx
HUGE Take An Extra Bag shout out to Taylor Hospital in Ridley Park, PA. They partnered up with the elementary school right across the street from their hospital and set up a 2 month long collection drive. Each department from ER to med surg to telemetry to rehab had collection boxes set up to gather school supplies, school uniforms, personal hygiene items like toothpaste and soap, food items to have available for kids to take home if there may not be enough food over the weekend, back packs, Lice treatment kits, and financial donations to provide transportation tokens, money for laundry, and any additional supplies the kids needed. They collected so much hospital wide they have a surplus of supplies to hold the school over for potentially 2 years or more!!! Just Take An Extra Bag at your place of work and set up this simple but proven successful donation drive!
Have you been served with ice bucket challenge notifications from well meaning friends or family? What a simple idea to help raise awareness and funding for an underserved population of folks struggling with a horrible disease. Just remind them that the challenge includes accepting the ice bucket challenge AND donating $10 or refusing the challenge and donating $100! Either way a donation is meant to be made to ALS. Or perhaps you have a favorite charity that you believe could use the boost! Change it up and roll out your own! It's so simple! http://www.alsa.org/donate/
It's back to school time!!! We talked about helping students in need earlier in the year but I'm here to put the bug back in your ear. When you're out shopping for your own "students" pick up an extra item or two if you can manage it financially and leave it with the principal, school nurse, or school counselor or social worker if you're gifted with having one. They can easily pass those items along to families in need and it can be anonymous so as not to embarrass anyone while they face tough times. Back to school time is expensive even for folks WITH jobs so take a quick minute and Take An Extra Bag back to school to help those kids who are ready and willing to learn but may not have the proper tools. It's so simple and so enormous!
I woke up after my weekend of work to read all of your heartfelt postings about Robin Williams. I echo your sentiments and have been lost in thought for a while now. I would like to take a moment, a long moment, to tell you it's widely reported that he was actually BIPOLAR. He may have had bipolar depression but the fact is it wasn't just depression. Does that change anyones opinion? Did you just say, "oooohhhhh" as it enlightened your memories of his performances? We say no about him but what about the average person? As a society the stigma attached to bipolar and other mental illness is palpable. I've read postings of folks saying, "I wish he'd reached out for help". This is a beautiful thought but how do we know he didn't? We don't. At 63 i suspect he reached out for help much of his life.
I will never forget my inpatient psych rotation during nursing school which fell right on the heels of my rotation on the oncology unit. My impression was when one is diagnosed with cancer we all come running-we fill your fridge and freezer with casseroles, we walk in your honor, we raise funds for cancer organizations, we put those colored ribbons on our cars, we go get tested ourselves, we help in every way possible... When one is diagnosed with bipolar this never happens (this also includes schizo affective disorders and other more complex psych diagnoses). We are afraid, we are nervous, we may have already distanced ourselves from those people because of the difficult and complicated process that accompanies these diseases. They often stand alone as they face the life altering diagnosis of permanent mental illness.
Bipolar can frequently be successfully regulated with meds and therapy along with behavior modification but it takes a behemoth to fight it because it's a hell of a disease. But, it can be done. I am learning more and more about this as a dear friend is standing strong working their way through it. Courage doesn't even begin to touch the surface of the core of this person. Meds can work but bipolar can also take the life of the soul harnessed with the diagnosis because it is a manipulative disease that intoxicates their brains with thoughts and ideas that coax them away from the therapeutic path,that remove their hope, that jeopardize their self-talk into believing something different than what their professionals have told them....Much like that person who encouraged you to try your first drink, your first cigarette, maybe your first joint or more. As floor nurses we see bipolar patients frequently and ER nurses, EMTs, and paramedics see it in its most raw state when those folks stop or misuse their meds or self medicate to try to numb the extensive symptoms that partner with it.
We live in a society filled with undiagnosed psych issues but the world self medicates with alcohol, food, shopping, gambling, hoarding, online games, illicit drug use, sex addiction and more. Robin Williams self medicated and volunteered that information. I think it's fair to say we ALL have hit depression or anxiety at some point in our lives if it's not a chronic issue or a generalized but reasonably functional baseline.
We need to continue to open our minds and hearts to mental illness with each passing day. Our society has come a long way from the insane asylums and "crazy houses" of days gone by but I think we continue to struggle with staying consistent.
I am heartbroken that mental illness took the life of another but how many others died in a similar way today... They are nameless and they were alone, too. Please keep those amazing folks and especially those fighting the good fight in your thoughts, too. Let's continue to work together to de-stigmatize mental illness so these moments can be fewer.
Thanks for reading. I will be quiet now.
It's just that simple... see a need and try to fill it!
A police officer in South Carolina went above and beyond for a 13-year-old boy. The boy called police saying he was upset after fighting with his mother and that he didn't want to live there anymore. The officer who responded to the call went to the home and realized the boy didn't have a real bed. A few weeks later, the officer came back to the house with a truck full of gifts, including a TV, a Wii game system and a bed.
LIKE this post if this story touched your heart.
SEE STORY >> http://www.wsmv.com/story/25459694/police-officer-goes-above-and-beyond-for-sumter-teen
Do you have a passion for horses? Consider helping Cruzan Cowgirls as they work to save and rehab horses in St Croix, US Virgin Islands. In addition to offering horseback guided tours of the beautiful island they work to provide proper horse care education to their community and do everything within their power to rehabilitate abused, neglected or elderly horses. If you're heading to St Croix book a tour with Cruzan Cowgirls or go visit their facility and help some recovering horses learn to socialize. Or, you can donate to their admirable efforts through the link below. Help out these graceful animals! http://www.cruzancowgirls.com/
"**Please Read...I need your help!**
Tough times can hit a community following tragedy or life changing event. Often times communities rally together to help those most impacted. Deployment, birth of a baby, severe illness or surgery, hospitalization, death of a loved one, parent away for extended period of time for work, caring for a parent, and more. Folks might need help with meals, transporting children to and from school or activities, basic support with lawn care, transportation to doctors appointments, house cleaning, or laundry. Care Calendar was shared with me from my brother, Mark, as his neighborhood rallies together following a fatal and tragic car accident involved teens at the local high school as well as a dear family with a toddler diagnosed with stage 4 cancer currently undergoing chemo. Check out Care Calendar and keep it in mind should you or a loved one find yourselves trying to coordinate support for family or friends who've fallen on challenging times. It's brilliant and brings big hearts and helping hands together effortlessly and successfully! http://carecalendar.org/index.php?cid=188331
Kari Stiles, RN, BSN, WCCN, CRRN. Philadelphia Metro Area, Pennsylvania.