#HurricaneIrma Evacuation for Veterans

hurricanes

 

Hey Tampa friends-time to brace for impact.  The storm has shifted and it looks like you will be the first direct impact then she heads up to the Panhandle to us.  We got this.

Something to remember if you are an evacuee and you are a Veteran, you can go to your nearest VA for care.  More information on that is available HERE.

There is a list of Florida shelters by county HERE.

Middle Georgia has quite a few shelters and they are listed by county HERE.

A list of Alabama shelters is HERE and it includes livestock shelters.

Keep a running list of things to do and accomplish so that your Veteran can stay busy and hopefully avoid the triggers for a bit longer that this siuation will eventually irritate.

If you have not been able to locate something you are looking for, you are welcomed to email me at contact AT michellesimpson DOT net and let me know what it is.  I will work to find it for you.

REMEMBER:

Wash your laundry and dishes and keep this up-we don’t know when power will be back up and once your hot water tank runs out, that’s it.

Fill up your water bottles, ice tea pitchers and canning jars with tap water for drinking.  Fill your bathtub with water in the event they have to shut down the water system, this can be used to fill the toilet tank to flush.  If you have a green upright rolling recycle bin, you can also fill this for the same purpose.

Cook what you have in the freezer.  If you can’t eat it all, divide it into containers and bags and put it back in the freezer.  This can be used as cool packs for the ice chest and as it thaws you can use it for food.

If you have a grill, move it to your garage. You can cook on this with the garage door cracked after the storm is over.

Take care and check in when this is past!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What A Year

I have sat down a million times to write my thoughts down since the election.  Some how, I still can not find the words.

 

I spent much of the month of November crying and much of the time since has become a blur of lies, stress and concern for the direction of our nation.  My Veteran is increasingly resistant to even leaving the house for fear of an argument with a Nazi that results in him getting arrested.  No matter your political affiliation, if you don’t have serious reservations about the direction of this Administration, then I can’t help you because you are already that lost.

 

Once the symptoms had progressed for my Veteran so much that we were cancelling any public events or interactions for him, I was able to get him into another outpatient program.  Sadly, along with the current Administrations belief that privatization will solve everything, he was placed in a facility that had very few Veterans.  The bulk of the group were people with a variety of addictions that eventually caused a strain on the class and security issues.  He was unable to complete the program.

 

Since then, it has been varying scenarios of the same nature.  He can not watch the news, he doesn’t trust one single person in Congress to do what is right any more and he would rather not live here.  Since we haven’t won the lottery, what are our options?

 

I hope that each of you are finding better ways to cope.  Is there something that helps most?  Have you had to change your life radically?

 

I hope you are finding peace while we are looking for it too.

Resource Update: Soldiers’ Angels

Mother's Day cardsThere are so many organizations that do such great things.  Honestly, I could post something every day and not be able to catch up with everyone I want to mention.  Today I am posting this group, even if I have spoken about them in the past, because they are always there when I need them.

Soldiers’ Angels does so many amazing things.  Throughout the year, I get resources, supportive messages and connected to programs through them that are life altering.

This past week I had to have oral surgery.  I have put it off for over a year because my being down always presents problems in the house.  While everyone is capable enough to handle things, there inevitably is a freak out over the sheer VOLUME that I handle regularly.  An over-worked mom, imagine that?  My face is more bruised than I thought it would be, the pain isn’t completely quelled by the pain medications and I just wish I could help out more without feeling wobbly every time I stand up.  With an upcoming holiday, every one was even more stressed about how to modify the typical celebration because of what is happening for me right now.  My saying “no big deal” wasn’t being heard.

In the midst of the uproar, I started receiving a stack of cards.  It always slips my mind but when they start showing up, it is whole heartedly welcomed.  One of the outreach groups for Soldiers’ Angels is sending cards.  There are birthday, anniversary and Mother’s Day cards and even Father’s Day cards for my Veteran.  It is the sweetest gesture that means more than I could ever possibly explain to each of these sweet people.  It gives me a big hug and a chance to take a break for something that is just for me.

I urge you to check out Soldiers’ Angels.  If you are not in need of one of their services, they are an amazing organization to get involved with.

For now I am off to more ice packs and liquid diet.  YEAH me!

Resource update: Christmas

Greetings!

I hope everyone is well and fully in the preparation of a glorious holiday season!  Realistically, I know this is a stressful time for everyone.  Hang in there, reach out to someone to talk and take deep breaths and long walks.  This too shall pass.

As a reminder, I don’t know if any of you found this on the data base I posted previously but this is the link for Christmas related items HERE I am not 100% on the due dates for all of them but in case there is one in your area or one still open, apply!  You will not know what kind of help you can get if you are unwilling to  ask for it.  If nothing else, remember this for next year and start your applications early!

I hope you find some time for smiling this holiday.  I have done that by checking out of the typical family dramas and going my own way.  You are in charge of you, REMEMBER THAT!

I wish for your and yours peace, light and laughter in the remaining days of the year.  Soon we will be getting ready to wipe the slate clean and start all over.  What are your intentions for 2016?

I have a long list, I will post them soon!

 

 

 

Summer Round Up and Holiday Goings On

WOW.

I knew I would be busy this summer but I didn’t expect it to disappear in the blink of an eye!  There was a great deal of awesome sprinkle with a bit of not so great.  Isn’t that how life really is most days?

Our retreat to Boulder Crest was AH-MAZING!  We went for the Songwriting with Soldiers retreat mostly because this appealed to our youngest daughter and came away HUGE believers in music therapy.  Everyone was so kind and interested in helping in any way they could and I highly recommend retreats with either group that you may be able to do in the future.  What’s great about Boulder Crest is that you can also rent a cabin with them for a week!  YES, REALLY.  It’s beautiful, quiet and peaceful there.  To get up to date on all things Boulder Crest, you can check them out HERE.  For more information on Songwriting with Soldiers and their events, you can check them out HERE.  If you are interested in the songs we wrote that weekend, you can check them out HERE.  (YES, I am the lassie from Tallahassee who is all about the fun!)

Our girl on fire competed in the Outdoor Nationals which was held in tiny Decatur, Alabama.  The weather was quite disagreeable but it gave us the opportunity to take her to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville.  She very much is still on the “I am going to be a scientist and go to work for NASA” career path so she was blown away.  Sometimes life can really get you down but those are the kinds of moments that are my favorite, when we can watch our kid light up like a Christmas tree.  I don’t think she stopped smiling for days.  At that point, we made the resolution to no matter why we are traveling, fun or not so fun, that we take a break to have a little side trip.  So many amazing places in the country and sometimes we just drive right by them!  WELL STOP IT!

My father was moved to hospice home care shortly afterwards so I have made three unscheduled (read = EXPENSIVE) trips out of state to visit.  While I love my family, it is not fun to watch the drama that unfolds surrounding this.  My dad, a Vietnam Veteran, has had decades of substance abuse without seeking therapy or treatment, so while it is sad, it is certainly not expected.  It has been very hard living out of state and juggling the animosity that brings up for some people but the fact is, I am also primary caregiver to a Veteran that lives in my house.  I also have minor children to raise.  I also can’t do everything.  UGH.

Back to school started and it is always weird to see my youngest just a little bit older and closer to going to college.  She has set high standards for herself and we are mostly just trying to get out of the way!  We are hoping once she is there that there are more scholarship opportunities for children of disabled Veterans.  Currently there is a surprising lack of those I have found.

I finally got to head out on a caregivers retreat and I will write more about that in another post but that is something else that is critically important, yet not enough of them!  Right after that, I had my first experience with surgery at a VA facility, also another blog post, and that was interesting to say the least!

The holidays are coming up, are you guys doing anything fantastic?  We are going to attempt a family reunion of sorts in Orlando.  Since the way we handled things last Christmas went well and my Warrior loved it, we thought why not invite everyone?  In a way it also helps avoid more of that drama that keeps popping up and I am all about less drama.  Why waste time being miserable on any holiday?  It is okay to do something different and just order pizza.  No one will die and what if you end up having the time of your lives?  It’s possible, ya’ll know that right?

 

PEACE!

Summer is Coming

This is the time of year I both look forward to and simultaneously dread.

 

Am I the only one? 

 

It seems like my TO-DO list always has 10,000 things on it and some of it gets done but it never completely goes away.  When you pile no more school, nice weather, a teenagers social engagements and archery season it already feels overwhelming.

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For us, this is added on top of fighting with the Veterans Administration to complete a claim, trying to find a public servant that feels like taking up our cause, getting an advocate to shuffle us to the top of the every growing mound of cases and trying to navigate the VA healthcare system as a Caregiver, it’s downright maddening.

 

So how do you program in time for the good stuff?

 

I am trying to make a habit this month of carrying the magazines and books with them every where I go.  I put this stuff off but it’s truly on of my favorite escapes and who needs that more than me?  That’s right, ALL OF US.  In doing so, when appointments go from “real quick labs” to “waiting room hell for an hour” I have found that I am actually getting through some of them and it makes me happy!

 

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I started my seeds directly in the garden this year.  It is a bit more risky but it seemed like to me if it worked, it would be a lot easier in the long run.  While I still have mulch to put down and soaker hoses to run, I am on my way and oh yeah, I am getting some sun and fresh air along the way.  As difficult as it is to take time for anything, I finally figured out that I could do some of the work, a little at a time, when I take the dog out.  She has to go out any way so why not multi task? IMG_0186

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s next?

This summer we have archery trips, a teenager getting a learner’s permit, SAT classes, camp and maybe a fun trip.  There will be house projects to finish and new things to learn.  I am already tired.

 

What will you guys be doing this summer?  How do you program in stuff just for you?  What is your favorite escape?

Managed Chaos

Probably the best part of attending any training class is simply the fact that it validates the struggle. You are not alone as a caregiver and hopefully you have someone to support you in that.  I also learn about new stuff and that is never a bad thing.  I try to share new things when I find them and there have been a couple of things that have helped recently I wanted to let you guys know about.

CAREZONE – This is an awesome app that has allowed me to put my Warrior in control of more of what is happening. This sends messages for medication times and he has to swipe and check off which one he has taken. Before we were in a position of me following up three times a day, almost always there was one dose missed and then the after effects of the missed meds. Now, he actually is remembering because he knows he will get a prompt. How cool is that? I still check in every few days but for the most part he is taking it on time and sometimes before the alarm goes off.   Its super easy to load the meds in and I am sure it does more than what we are using it for at the moment. I will let you know about future uses of the app that I use!

CHOPRA CENTER MEDITATION – Meditation is a great way to relieve the stress that the day hands you. I know that there are tons of places to get meditations and music but this is where I come back to every quarter. Deepak teams up with Oprah every quarter to do a new series of guided meditations geared towards a specific goal. These are free and delivered to your email daily for 21 days. This way you can potentially create the habit of meditation that you return to even after the series is done. The next one up is Manifesting True Success and I am already signed up. I wish I could remember to sit down every day and meditate but that doesn’t always happen. This is a manageable commitment once a quarter that adds substantially to my life. What’s better than that?

WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT – If you aren’t signed up for WWP, you should be. The offer a great deal for Warriors and more now, things that spouses and/or kids can attend. Recently in our area they have been offering cooking classes. It doesn’t sound like that big a deal but my Warrior and I have really begun to enjoy a regular date night and these are activities that we wouldn’t normally be able to afford otherwise. Look them up, sign up, and attend! The more that you show up, the more that they will reach out to us. Time off to not worry about things for even a couple of hours is the most priceless therapy I could ever imagine.

I am sure that there are other things that I should be adding but this is what has come up for us this week. What are some useful tools you have? How do you manage stress? What do you do for date night?