The story of a Bell on a String
A few days ago a resident gave me a small bell tied to a string. She said that I should ring the bell to know what I mean to her.
This is what that bell tells me every time it rings: “I may not remember your name but thank you for being here for me, keeping me safe. I may not know exactly what you do for me but I do know that when I see you I smile and I laugh. You may fade from my thoughts when you walk away but you are always in my heart guiding me to experience joy in my every day. And when you leave here after a long shift feeling as though you may never recover from the exhaustion of being a nurse, ring this bell and know that you made a difference in one life today.”
I keep this tiny bell on a string in my car so that every time I leave the office I am reminded of making a difference in at least one life every day.
Nurses are supposed to be the unsung heroes providing care, quietly doing whatever is necessary. Nurses have always kept the secrets of our society, keeping level heads in crisis.
One of the biggest secrets is that Alzheimer’s is not tragic all the time. There is laughter, there is love. And I’m tired of being an unsung hero. I want to be a loud, boisterous, unconventional hero that sings terribly and off-key. I want you to hear my voice about Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
If you have Alzheimer’s, you have permission to be happy. If you are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s you have permission and a right to feel joy. Quit letting society tell us we are unsung. Raise your voice with Nurse Bitterpill in shattering the stigma of Dementia. There will be tragic moments. But the joy can easily outweigh them if you stay open to allowing them in.
I have a plan. I will be making a lot of noise. Make noise with me.
Nurse Bitterpill is in the process of publishing a book, Every Minute is a New Day. It is a long process (longer and more involved than I had anticipated). And an avenue to be vocal on behalf of my beautiful and joyous Alzheimer’s patients. It will not happen instantly. I do not have the luxury of cloistering myself away for six months without distraction to focus fully on writing. I am elbow deep in the real world of dementia every single day. In the trenches making life better for those suffering and have the audacity to be happy about it.
I don’t want to stop at just writing a book. I want to keep raising my voice with film, education, mentorships, and other forms of media to get the word out that we can still smile, laugh, and live after a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. With a new business on the horizon, I plan on making everyone hear what I have to say even if means standing on street corners shouting to passersby that people with Alzheimer’s have a right to be happy. I am not fearless, I am determined. But if we all join together, we will be heard.
The launch of the new Kickstarter campaign for Every Minute is a New Day is approaching. Help me raise awareness and remove the tragic stigma of a Dementia diagnosis. Stay tuned for details.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
My book Every Minute is a New Day has a crowdfunding page on Kickstarter. Please help spread the word and/or help fund this project. You all have my deepest appreciation. Visit https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/fuzzylizzard/every-minute-is-a-new-day and read about the project
Dear Beautiful Readers,
I would like to take a moment to announce that Nurse Bitterpill is in the process of publishing a book based on this blog. It will focus on the language of Dementia. Stay tuned for more information as this process unfolds.
Thank you all so much for the constant love and support you have given over the years. My hope is that this book will help families, friends, nurses, caregivers, doctors, and everyone better communicate with those affected by the many forms of Dementia.
Please feel free to submit quotes and/or stories about Dementia to NurseBitterpill@gmail.com and I will submit them on the blog.
He is keeping vigil over a woman at the end of her journey. Animals know.
It’s a beautiful thing to witness. It shows the connectivity of all living things.
This is a reminder of why I love what I do. This work blesses me with insight every day.