Words of the Day, er, Night: Vice Clamp, and Kaleidoscope

Aug 23, 2022 | Elder Care

I settled in today to create a video and polish up a blog. I’d had a couple of notions about caregiving and planning that I was hoping to share. One challenge was already present: how to best convey the written or spoken words?

Many of you may know me as or are sizing me up to be a visual person. Yep. Whenever I try to express situations and emotions, I begin to see objects representing the situations. I see material objects whose very function helps to paint a picture. 

As I go through caregiving with folks, or planning, decision-making, or even debacle, there are going to be emotions within every person in the scenario, and it is my job to see, acknowledge and respect them all. Fun-fun. 

One of my biggest challenges (and pleasures) is finding a way to creatively communicate all the emotions of healthcare in my writing, speaking, or conversation. I admit that I may go overboard here. Bear with me, there is a purpose and an end goal here.

Vice ClampThe most common thing I discuss and describe about caregiving or decision-making is the stress that sometimes seems to grow or compound. The object and picture that comes to my mind is a Vice Clamp: “Have you ever felt like your head -or your heart- was inside one, and it was tightening?!” 

The idea of a vice clamp has its place in describing what so many folks I work with are encountering. There’s the juggling of families and commitments. Planning (and sometimes with people who won’t plan with you). How about the stress of navigating a confounding healthcare system that’s not showing any signs of getting any easier?

It can be a lot of pressure when things are happening fast with you or the folks you care about. Just like it’s a lot of pressure at times for me, a small business healthcare professional who is behind the eight ball to work on her social media. I used my phone to record my vlog at night because my internet failed! 

A survival skill that I’ve learned as a caregiver and patient advocate is to be able to tack. Like sailing, we must adjust our sails. If the winds change then, we’ve got to change with them. 

If we can see change coming that’s great. However, if we find ourselves to be the lucky recipient of change we didn’t ask for then we need to be ready to roll with those punches. So here I am at night and in the vice clamp. I’ve got writing deadlines, clients to talk with, and case notes to write; there are many things going on in my business right now. All this is to say that I’ve got a big dose of that vice clamp today!  I know it when I see it, and I’m still smiling, and we’ll get through this, too.

I so appreciate your allowing me that little diversion. The other Word of the Day-turned-Night is actually a phrase that I wanted to relay. Try this one on with me. 

Being Inside the Kaleidoscope. Being Inside the Kaleidoscope to me goes like this: I will BET you’ve been here too. Kaleidoscope Toy

The kaleidoscope represents those rare times when things have finally come into focus. And just about the time that you think you have things in clear view when it’s all coming together… you think that it’s going to work out, or you see your path… the kaleidoscope brings changes. 

The colors are different, the view is different. The players are different, the situation is different, the timeline is different –  and all that can be very confounding in the world of healthcare navigation, eldercare or planning, and decision-making!

Whether you are the recipient or the caregiver, Being Inside the Kaleidoscope is very much part of our world, wouldn’t you agree? Thus the kaleidoscope itself seems a fitting image to try to convey what we are or have encountered. If you’ve been there, then we have that in common now. We recognize Being Inside the Kaleidoscope because we’ve been there. 

My sister and I were caring for our parents as they aged and passed.  We thought we were the two best daughters on the planet to provide for them, to care for them. We were to execute the plans they had laid out through their legal documents such as healthcare, financial power of attorney documents, and their Living Will and wills.  

We were pretty cocky, based on our previous work experience, and boy, were we way off! Turns out that when we started down that caregiving path, it seemed like the kaleidoscope was marching along with us!

Just when we thought things would come into focus, or calm down, or when we thought we had to lay the land, we finally understood…. When we had the Care Plan…. We knew who the players were, and maybe the plans would change. It all happened at once, and fast:  the players would change, my parents would change, my sister and I changed, and life showed up… you know, like the way my internet is out right now!

I mean, all the things that could possibly happen happened so I feel like I have a healthy taste of what Being inside the Kaleidoscope is like. Have you ever found yourself there? Do you remember the confusion or exasperation? 

I’m wondering if you’ll reflect for a moment on what that might feel like and if you’re amenable to learning some ideas that would help you get out of the kaleidoscope, or at least know that you can.

Riding alongside folks Inside the Kaleidoscope is a lot of what I do when I’m working with my clients. Those of you who know me will hear me say that “I can bring the 500 people that I’ve worked with before you”, so it’s likely that we can draw from the experiences of that 500. Il’’ bring the experiences of others as well as my own, so let’s use that to our benefit.   

I have to say: Ain’t nothing wrong with Being inside the Kaleidoscope. Finding ourselves inside and adjusting to change teaches us valuable lessons and coping skills. I’ll say that because I’m there often and I think maybe some of you have been there, too.

So Vice clamp and Kaleidoscope are my words of the day, er, night. As I stand here with an internet outage to create and get this video and blog out on time, juggling all that there is to be done and finding workarounds… I’m still smiling, and I hope you are also.

I hope everybody has a good NIGHT 😊  I hope you got something out of this that you might find useful as you move forward. I help people loosen the vice clamp and climb out of kaleidoscopes. Whether your challenge may be eldercare, aging successfully, or making sound decisions I can help you in your journey. Offering Complimentary Consultations. Review packages and contact me today. nancyruffner.com 919.628.4428