Working with the homeless population in Philadelphia PA was a most enlightening and enriching experience. I met some remarkable individuals who touched my heart and taught me some valuable life lessons.
I would like to tell you a little bit about Joyce (name changed for confidentiality.)
When I met Joyce, she was 28 years of age and her history was heartbreaking. However, due to active psychosis and unwillingness to accept psychotropic medication for stabilization, the team was understandably frightened of her volatile, assaultive behavior.
With a childhood rife with physical and sexual abuse, Joyce was fiercely distrustful of people in general, especially men. Her family system was dysfunctional, as her Mother was frequently incarcerated for drug-related issues.
Joyce had somehow kept it together marginally through her childhood years, joining the military, right out of high school to escape a nightmare. She actually discovered another as she had her first of many psychotic breaks, witnessing the death of her friend, a shooting.
Hearing these details in report, I could feel my mind wandering... I wondered how I would deal with this client. While the circumstances were different, the events mirrored an experience, where I helplessly watched a friend die. I could not understand psychosis, but I could understand her anger. I had lived it. I wanted to help her.
As nurses, there is a paradox where distance and holding close both have distinct advantages. This was how I chose to handle my care with Joyce, very, very slowly...
I am comfortable with appropriate humor and the infusion of music as therapeutic strategies. I can take the looks I get from co-workers!
My attitude is, whatever works!
Joyce came to the office with a hairdo that reminded me of my current soundtrack at the time: Sade's 'Soldier of Love' . Well, I started belting it out, and before you knew it, Joyce started grinning and joined right in, as she loved Sade too! The entire office paused to listen and clapped-- so cool!
It wasn't too long before Joyce accepted a 2-week injection from me of Risperidal Consta. This is a long acting psychotropic medicine that really helped even out her mood. The change in her behavior was dramatic and she looked happier. She said she felt better, even though the shots themselves always scared her.
Joyce looked like a little girl when I gave her these injections. She had to close her eyes 'real tight' and together we would sing a song. I would let her pick!
After several months, vocational services worked with Joyce. She practiced her job interviewing skills, including what to wear to a job interview. I gave her a pair of good luck earrings for her interviews. She did get hired part time at a small restaurant as a hostess, where she is very sweet to the customers.
Realistically, life will always be challenging for Joyce in some areas. I believe this is true for us all though. Joyce taught me to keep fighting for what you want! It's worth it...
Joyce, this dedicated to you.
Thank you for teaching me that it is good to keep singing through the storms of life. We can get through our storms together.
"Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn't people feel as free to delight in whatever remains to them?"
Working in the community with Joyce and many other remarkable people who were also Veterans, has left an eternal imprint on my heart.
When my friend Angelia Phillips (femmeflashpointt) asked me to help in the Mysterious and Miraculous project, there was no hesitation in my response. We share many of the same passions, including our love of Veterans and our despair with the homelessness situation in our country.
I hope you have had an opportunity to check out Volume I, published last month and containing 15 unique and powerful real - life stories of the paranormal and supernatural. Available through Amazon, you will be richer, in fact, for having purchased.
The book is a mere $4.99.
70% of the monies earned through sales will be directly donated to the K9s for Wounded Warriors Program. The remaining 30% will be used to eventually get some hard copies printed, as some readers will always love the feel of a book in their hands.
Angelia and I work with a team of altruistic angels, including the talents and time of Mike Friedman (mckbirdbks);
Gail Sobotkin (Happyboomernurse) and Vicki Warner (Grief Can Heal).
Other Legacy Scribes, including Shauna Bowling (bravewarrior); Pamela Oglesby (Pamela99) and Theresa Davis (Faith Reaper) have shared stories for Volume I and / or Volume II...
Oh yeah, there is a Volume II...how cool is that?! And in this collection of stories, 70% of the profits will be donated to the Support Homeless Veterans organization. This e-book is scheduled to be published in early December. I cannot think of a better holiday gift for you and those you love.
Please check out the Legacy Archives Foundation website. We give fabulous updates on our progress, creative marketing strategies, even monthly sales' reports.
Hoping you will consider sharing your story with us, if you haven't already. We are thrilled to keep our series going into next year.
In the meantime, have a wonderful Veteran's Day.
To quote a very dear femme, " ... please don't forget to thank a Veteran today!"
Peace and hugs,
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