Empowerment at Sea

Empowerment:  Marilyn Tate

Written by Kate O’Neill

-As long as you have a choice, you have control.

Marilyn is speaking of empowerment-The more you move, the better you will be.

-I care about the disease, but not so much.  I care more about what the illness does to you. A lot of people look to you.  Who has a sense of worth?  WHO HAS A SENSE of WORTH?  Lie to me, raise your hands.

A few hands rise.

-The best thing I can do for you is to lighten you up.  I can lower the bar, so you can get over it.  The world is a better place because you are in it.  So what have you done for the world?

After lunch, the session begins at 1:30.  The ship rolls more than it did this morning.  Behind me, the wood paneling creaks.

Upstairs a patient browsed through the selection of t-shirts marked 50% off.  Marilyn’s talk might have benefited her.  -The challenges in life are what make you great.  Everything you need is inside of you.. maintain the honor, respect in your relationship and you’ll be fine.  The Parkinson Research Foundation has a website to reach you…

Marilyn speaks about her history caring for cancer patients.  Fifteen years ago she began working in Neurology.  She tells the crowd care-giving is a selfless endeavor, done from love.  There are no manuals.  Without time off, or pay, loved one’s jump in, without much thought.  The timing of the illness is never right. The illness arrives without invitation, like a mother-in-law.  There is no indication of when she will leave.

You can’t control much in life, but you can decide on how you will respond to the disease.  No matter how you cut it, there are two sides, you must give up the past.  Engage in the present, hold on to what is precious.  Never waste a day worrying about tomorrow- that you won’t be able to tell your wife you love her, or walk.

How does PD make you feel?

Audience- angry.

Anger can overwhelm you.  There are three of you- you, your caregiver and the disease.  You have to accept the disease- you can have the illness, but the disease doesn’t have you.  Anger needs to be contended with, and it’s OK for a while but you need to get passed it.

Hope- hang on to it- it may be all the person has.

Gratitude- What are you grateful for?  Your caregiver.  Your life.  Get your hands up!  You have blessings. Sit down and make a list of what you are grateful for.  Caregivers must take care of themselves, first.  What is the number one mission for the caregiver?  In Marilyn’s laws- this is to maintain the esteem, the self-respect and dignity of the competent adult- not to jump in and treat them as a child.

Communication is huge.  Silence is the worst enemy.  Don’t miss an opportunity to convey your appreciation for that person.  If you have nothing positive to say, then keep the mouth shut. Marilyn’s favorite type of communication is non-verbal: a smile, a pat, a kiss.  Communication- conveying material needn’t use words.  Sometimes words are inadequate, and a pat or a touch gives more.  Why is it so important to put on a positive face?

There is caregiver’s book to conduct- you need not be a shrew.  Your job is to empower, not to perform every task.  Empowerment is yours alone.  What does quality of life mean to you?  Does it mean free of disease?  No, it certainly does not.  For Marilyn it means the ability to do what she  can for those she  loves the most.



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