Monday, February 24, 2014

Transition Rooms

I'm reposting this because it's near and dear to my heart.  It's something I feel is really important.  I know it will happen some day, but the sooner the better for all involved.

One of my "missions" in life is having Transition Rooms in all nursing homes. My mother transitioned in October of 2008. I learned a lot during her dying process. The facility she was at did the best they could, but it could have been done so much better.

The whole week before she crossed over, mom was in bed actively dying. She had a roommate who was mobile. Mom's bed was by the door so Rose and her visitors had to pass by her and us to get to their side of the room. Each time they went in and out, they felt the need to say something. When your loved one is dying, your focus is on them. You really don't care about pleasantries. Conversely, I'm sure it was uncomfortable for them to have to walk by us knowing that mom was dying. I'm sure they didn't know what they should or shouldn't do or say.

The night before she passed, my sister and I stayed with mom all night. The staff did the best they could to make us comfortable, but all we had were straight back chairs. We caught little naps by leaning forward and putting our heads on mom's bed. We couldn't talk, watch TV or move around because mom's roommate was trying to sleep. It was very cramped for Sharon, mom and me to be in that small space without disturbing Rose.

The next evening, my mom crossed over. It was at 9:10 PM. For the elderly in nursing homes, that might as well have been 2:00 AM. For them, even 9:10 PM is the middle of the night. My family all came to say their goodbyes. The staff got Rose out of bed and took her to the lounge. They did that to give us some private time which was much appreciated. But it was so unfair to Rose. That was her home after all and she had to leave it in "the middle of the night."

Her children came to my mother's funeral and said that Rose had a hard time going back to her room. She knew mom had died and she didn't want to go back there. They had to give her a sedative.

My goal is for all nursing homes to have Transition Rooms. It would be a private room to which they would transfer the actively dying. The room would either have large recliners or small sofa beds for the comfort of the family. The resident would have peace and quiet. The family would have comfortable private time with their loved one. And the former roommate wouldn't have to watch someone die and be reminded of their imminent fate. It's a win-win-win situation. It would be more compassionate to all involved and help make a difficult time just a little easier.

Nursing homes with all private rooms have a little to learn too. An aunt that I was very close to passed away in May of 2011. She was at a facility that had all private rooms. What they didn't have was a comfortable place for family to spend the night. Again, they did the best they could. But it could be done so much better. I realize that it would be an enormous expense to equip every room with either large recliners or small sofa beds. But they could purchase several, put them on casters, and wheel them into the room of an actively dying resident for the comfort of their family.

I want to believe that these facilities are run by and staffed with compassionate individuals. But maybe by not being on the receiving end of the situation, they don't even realize that there is an issue and how easy it would be to rectify.

I wish I had the opportunity to tell my story and share my ideas with nursing home associations or boards. But at least I can tell it here. Thank you for indulging me.

Love, Paula

Monday, February 17, 2014

Even In The Winter

I've been writing a lot of blogs about snow lately and with good reason.  Where I live - Erie, Pa - is the number one city for snowfall in the United States this year.  We have A LOT of snow.  To go along with that, we have an unusually COLD winter.  Many people are tired of winter, snow, and cold.  But as I've mentioned before, I'm usually a go-with-a-flow kind of person.  Things are what they are, I work around it.  Especially when it comes to things like weather.  I can't change it so I accept it and work with it.  My love of life continues no matter what the weather.

One of the wonderful gifts that comes with snow and cold is the beauty.  When it's very cold out, the snow crystalizes and it just sparkles... especially at night.  The other evening as I was walking to my car
after visiting a friend, the beauty stopped me in my tracks.  It literally took my breath away.  The snow was more beautiful than sparkling diamonds.  I felt like I was in the middle of a Norman Rockwell Christmas card.

Now, don't be a "hater".  Try looking at life with new eyes and a fresh perspective.  Yes, winter can be cold.  Yes, depending on where you live you can experience a lot of snow.  But if you just LOOK, you can and will see beauty all around you... even in snow... even in the winter.

Love, Paula

Monday, February 10, 2014


Worry is wasted energy.  That's what I always tell people and it's how I strive to live my life.  So often we stress about things we have no control over.  We waste precious moments, days or even weeks of our lives worrying.  While we're busy worrying, we don't actually LIVE these moments.  What a waste!  We've been given this wonderful life to live and experience, and we just let it waste away while we worry.

I read, "Worrying doesn't take away tomorrow's troubles, it takes away today's peace."  Also, "People sacrifice the present for the future.  But life is only available in the present."  These statements are so true.  That's what I often talk about.  It seems to be a recurring theme in my blogs because I believe it's such an important message.  I try to remember to live in the NOW moment.  That's all there really is anyway.  And if you live in the "NOW" moment, there's really no reason to worry, is there?  Think about it.  The past is over.  The future isn't here yet.  ALL THERE IS IS NOW!!!

Being human, sometimes I forget and I start to worry about things.  But as soon as I catch myself doing that, I JUST STOP IT!  It's a choice.  It's always a choice as to how you live your life.  Every moment of every day we make choices about our lives.  You can choose to be happy.  You can choose to live in the "NOW" moment.  You can choose to be worry free.  Oh... it takes practice, but it's worth the effort.   Give it a try.

Love,  Paula

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Seven Wonders Of The World

I'm sure we've all heard of the seven wonders of the world.  But here's something I didn't know.  While looking up "The Seven Wonders of the World" for this blog, I found out there are FOUR different sets of "Wonders":  The Original Seven Wonders, The Seven Wonders of the Modern World, Natural Wonders of the World, and The "New" Seven Wonders of the World.   I had no idea there were so many variations.  I truly thought there were only seven.

The Original are:  The Colossus of Rhodes, The Great Pyramids of Giza,  The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, The Lighthouse of Alexandria, The Mausoleum of Halicamassus, The Statue of Zeus at Olympia, and The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus.

The Modern are:  Channel Tunnel, CN Tower, Empire State Building, Golden Gate Bridge, Itaiper Dam, Netherlands North Sea Protection Works.

The Natural are:  The Grand Canyon, The Great Barrier Reef, The Harbor at Rio de Janeiro, Mt. Everest, Pariculin Volcano, Aurora Borealis, and Victoria Falls.

The New are:  Chichen Itza, Mexico - Mayan City, Christ the Redeemer Statue in Brazil, The Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu in Peru, Petra (ancient city), The Roman Colosseum, and The Taj Majal.

Now I'm going to offer another set of seven:  To see, to hear, to touch, to taste, to feel, to laugh and to love.  I don't know where I read this so I can't give credit.  But when I read this, it impacted me.  THESE, in my opinion, are the most important "wonders" that exist.  Without this set of wonders, you couldn't appreciate ANY of the others - or anything else for that matter.  Think about it.  We take so much for granted.

 We have been given much and we need to start noticing and appreciating what we have.  We can see the beauty around us.  We can hear the voices and laughter of our loved ones.  We can give and receive hugs and healing touch.  We can enjoy the taste of chocolate (or whatever your favorite taste is).  We can feel our emotions - good and bad.  We can laugh and love freely... and we should do that often.  These are the things that give meaning to our lives.  They give fullness to our lives.  We need to stop, notice, appreciate, and use these wonderful gifts.

When you give someone a gift, doesn't it make you feel good when you see them using it?  Doesn't it make you feel like giving them more because you know they appreciate your thoughtfulness?  Well, I believe God, Source, the Universe (or whatever you choose to call the all-that-is) would feel and do the same.  So use the gifts you've been given.  Appreciate them.  And just wait and see how many more blessings will come your way.

Love,  Paula