Tuesday, March 27, 2007


He has heart failure, diabetes, and dementia.

She has multiple morbidities of her own. She has a history of abandonment (not picking him up after a respite stay – staff finally drive him home).

He has no short term memory (but he “can remember back to when he was in diapers”) and makes multiple calls home. Sometimes he’s accusatory, sometimes he just sounds desperate. Sometimes all he wants to do is say “I love you.”

She can’t take it anymore. Now, he gets one or two calls a day.

He is on hospice, but he’s not really that close to dying (damn those uncertain trajectories!)

Sometimes he thinks she’s dead. Sometimes he thinks (rightly so?) that she’s abandoned him. “After 67 years, I’ll never see her again.”

He was on a high dose of pych meds for his "behavior" at home. He's been being weaned down.

Sometimes he gets angry, sometimes he just sobs.

But give him some attention: a back rub, some comforting words a milkshake made specially for him, and often you can distract him from his pains, physical and mental.

At least for a while.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Procrastination, Conciseness and Celebration

Well I started this blog with great intentions and somehow it got lost in the usual slog of procrastination and coursework.

At this point, I have several partly written pieces that I just haven’t gotten back to. Part of my problem, I realize is that I have a hard time writing short, pithy pieces—succinct has never been my middle name (is that why I have such a hard time spelling it? Thank the goddess for spell-check).

But learning to write tighter and shorter is not only an admirable, but a necessary goal. An F31 (NIH predoctoral training grant) is limited to 10 pages. I think an R03 gives you 20. Many journals have page and/or word limits. And my Hartford application was limited to a 2-page letter and a 3-5 five page “professional development plan.”

Which brings me to the third word in my title.

The John A. Hartford foundation through the Hartford Geriatric Nursing Initiative supports the Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity (BAGNC) program, which has, among other things, the BAGNC Predoctoral Scholarship (are you still with me?). If you go to the site, you’ll see that this scholarship is very generous. And very competitive – check out who is on the advisory committee here and the selection committee here. I mean, the directors of NINR, NIA, AACN and GSA? (among others). You don’t get much bigger in terms of Names in Nursing.

So, last year, I applied. And didn’t get funded. This year I applied. And got selected! I am so stoked, amazed, honored, thrilled….you get the idea. The timing is also perfect. Next quarter is my last quarter of coursework. The funding, which will start after this school year, is for two years. That means I have two years to work on my dissertation without financial worries. It also means I have Very Good Incentive to finish in two years.

So, hopefully (if anyone is still with me after my long silence) you’ll be willing to raise a glass with me in celebration.