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March 5, 2021 3:30 am
On a whim, Kate Washington took an online survey about her status as a caregiver. The results revealed she was "Already Toast." Digging deeper, Kate learned her plight mirrored that of so many other caregivers. Sharing her story against the backdrop of where America's vast number of caregivers are heading, Kate offers insights and a path she feels can be of great service to so many.
Hope you this is Peter Rosenberg, a wife or CD resilient and loveless nursing glad to have her as my bumper. Is this a good thing, but having your own show to wife is a world-class leader, you get to have her for your bumper music so hope for the caregiver.com.
If you will see more about her CD.
I would let have you with us. This is the show for caregivers about caregivers hosted by caregiver bringing you 35 years of experience as a caregiver to help you stay strong and healthy as you take care of someone who is not John. I've got a guest of the line here that I saw her column in the New York Times opinion piece in the New York Times and I don't. It is a fabulous piece. She's written and you can tell she's a very good writer and she's a wonderful profession does is for living, John oh okay and she she is the she's the food carving restaurant critic Kate that I get the right you restaurant critic who critic what what what kind critic Ari Kamal California is it about amateur restaurant critic Kate but it's usually it's usually things like Taco Bell or something you took on this topic of unpaid family caregivers in the New York Times and in this is part of an overall arching focus that you have through your new book. It's called already toast already toast John and it's cared about things is correct.
Well yes edits sees this book comes out. This I believe in March and it's called already toast, caregiving, and burnout in America and welcoming Kate Washington from the great state of California and is Kate, thank you for taking the time to call the show and and just share your thoughts in your heart and your journey. When I read your article.
I got it to you. Kate the first lady came upon was a one of the calling of just make sure you're okay because you had a better journey there have achieved it really had an attorney and I'm really fortunate and thinking I should pay for having me on. I really appreciate your sure has been a journey here now than it was at that time that I cover in that article I may have been Brad. I like diagnosed about six years ago and looking. And his need for caregiving blades over the following couple of years and nine need to plan a chance that he had chronic illness is an alternate treatment by, and he's doing much better now down here were very fortunate that that is the case, will you. You are clearly in this article it in your book of just how dark this place to keep you when you went down some very, very, very painful places that a lot of people don't necessarily share in their journeys, caregivers, and you did it and you know what I think because you're such a wonderful writer. You you did it in a way that had it I don't I don't. I'm not say this right because my language are still smiling Christmas and skills are still developing delegates to the way you describe the dissent. If that means if that if up say that correctly. Dissent does that resonate very high compliment. I really appreciate it on a very, very accounting. And how when his life was in danger for an extended period of time, and I was really fortunate to have family and community support and but when I found along the way you even not being at the level of the part that I was really fortunate to receive no intermediate, and the challenges that can conflict with the intent to caregiving and their I really firmly believe and I cannot journey really believing that we have a strong need for more structural support and more systemic support to help really important work at the support that it deserved will what the last figures I looked it.
We use family caregivers provide about $500 billion of unpaid care every year. That's a figure looked at it. That is a less of this astronomical amount of of labor and unpaid care and those looking to some of the things that your you're laying out in your article. The you open the conversation up and more in your book, but it's if you're basically pushing on the bond administration to look at this thing and $5000. Your tax credits that kind of thing for family caregivers, which I think would be really wonderful and look at my 35 years of this of the guy jealous that would be helpful to you that all retroactive or retroactive takers of this is not with people out of the workforce to reduce their work hours getting caught like losing out on contribution to Social Security and other like lifetime costs that accrue over a long caregiving journey touches such as yours. You know where we are huge population and the value of that work and I think I figured that you quoted with a show how radically undervalued care of all I'll take that as I think it also really need to start simply with paid leave for people that that's not guaranteed really to anyone in the last and were one of the very few countries where that's the good and I don't know how that will work at it and I wanted to have had people talk about this on the show for it. And you know is is Congress which moves at half the speed of smell. Anyway you is a debate this we gotta live today in and we know there were caregiver today your caregiver today so we gotta deal with what the reality is that hope that we can use our voices to kind of form a pretty good choir that would hopefully resound with these folks and and and and change the way they look at this vast army of invisible army, often of unpaid people that do not. I have performed it and I know you have two because of the nature of your husband's illness. I perform complex medical tacit of the had no formal training for and you just 10 years ago would be done by it are yet another getting together set a music degree to do it so I don't know what they taught you, what would you or did you did you do you have your doctorate that I understand that doctorate in English literature. So when a confident doctor and explain I'm only good if you like you. This is so will Dr. you're describing. And I think that more and more common for caregivers and at the really hard the puzzle for people you know that that can work frequently. It just kind of assumed that it will take over fairly complex care and I think it can be really frightening.
You know when will people people write to the occasion and if anything had planted it.
It's a hard thing to think like me will throw something out you will rehearse the show clearly clearly know we were caregiver so we did. We know the topic, but I rose to the occasion and really threw myself into learning a lot of things that that were way beyond my skill set and in II was I was able to do some things that I was given able to give the appearance of being able to do some things but in reality I should have been cautioned more I should had trained professionals looking at me and saying slowdown.
This is not really yours and think it's okay for you to push back and let them come up with a solution. Let the doctor come up with a solution for this and that that doesn't involve you. Just give it willy-nilly abandoning your life or throwing yourself into this how you responded that doesn't resonate with you at all interesting point. I think you know authority. If you are wrapping major care situations where now I think if you're one person faced with in our panel Dr. Dick starting you love more than you love anybody else that you're willing to do anything to try to help it. It's pretty hard to push back and I can't do that I can't do that for this person now and their allotted expectation very challenging and tricky issue because of course we all want to do our back for the people we love. And you know for me.
II wanted to compare for my husband and I was surprised by how hard it was on me and I'm tempted like to admit that and I you know try to look competent.
Be trustworthy at the doctor's office, like somebody taking out together. It was going to do a great job in part to get that respect and collegial relationship that I think is really the court and there's a lot of there's a lot of pitfalls and challenges there, but what you're saying. It does resonate. I think there's a need for the medical profession as a whole to kind of like what are we asking people to do and interest not just of the caregiver but of our patient that that would've been very helpful to me in many cases, just because I could do something doesn't mean I should do something and and I I've wrestled in all the member for arrest me one time. What is the what is the single most difficult thing you face as a caregiver memo I sent 80 surgeries in both relations with his orthopedic trauma reckless with lots of pain hundred doctors will different hospitals. This a bit and it's all going on hundred 50 small procedures that's Morris is a caregiver.
That's was part of. And yet, the hardest thing for me, Kate was learning what is mine and what is not mine to carry to do and I overstepped many times did you struggle with that. Did you struggle with overstepping or do you struggle something that I think you can come up between you know or care situations where there is a question around the patient questions that carry the caregiver the one situation I'm jumping in and trying to take on too much or having a hard time accepting accepting help, I would say I struggled with all of the issued and in part that's why I wrote the book is to shine some light on how hard all of those elements of caregiving can be an how people feel like they're not alone and Mike may have permission to be in that struggle. Take the health engine. The community and and through the entire time. Despite the struggle will and you know your form will person them in your highly educated, your incredibly articulate, you've got a verbal authority that you have about you and it's you know I found and I was a strong personality throughout the city.
Still am. What John tells me, and you know you with your last lesson was Rosenberger and you show up at a hospital you speak the jargon on you wearing a suit.
You could call Dr. Rosenberg a lot and it always tell about the cranial proctologist of the euro Rosenberger cranial proctologist, but I I assumed more than I should have and I had to learn to sometimes bite my tongue and learn to like the taste of blood and because there are some things that I needed to stay out of. I used to insert myself into conversations in the doctor said it much easier to deal with me sometimes do with Gracie but they really need to deal with Gracie and she needed to have an agency overall life that I stole some of that from her. I didn't mean to be a jerk about it. I just did it because it was expedient I was and I was in problem-solving mode, and sometimes it's important for me to insert myself and sometimes it's important for me to just hang back and that is what there so much tension with that with me that conflict in him, announced 35 years into this and I'm still struggling with that and so as I was reading your book of thinking we hear somebody else who gets that level of high pressure high intensity of okay where's my place in this and in fighting sure footing. That was a hard place for you was that the fund sure footing. I difficult. Around that place and then months following my head and Cal transplant.
When he went hospitalized at length and adventure here you had experience that he was on a lot of medications he was in a lot of pain and there were often judgment calls everything he felt very strongly about that. I wasn't so sure and I really struggled with the line between Mike, how do I treat him. You know like my partner and and this man who had his own consciousness while also acknowledging that he may not be in his best make a judgment because you know LOL and that was a hard hard to chat back and then as he's gotten on fire and had an easier time stepping back again and knocking him in the patient anymore. And even when he is sometimes a patient is continued to be a challenge. I get I get you you know you and I both speak fluent caregiver here watching Facebook people of right now there were comments on Facebook you want to just give you one from a lady for the varsity say I hear!
I hear so love that were talking with Kate Washington.
Her new book is called already toast and it talks about caregiving in America and she's just a wonderful individual whose understood the journey in ways that I hope others never have to run by Google when Kate Washington is with us are already toast 24 seven emergency support increasing safety, reducing isolation, these things are more important than ever. As we deal with the challenges of cobra 19.
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It felt so much like a foot one more burden on me. Okay, now I gotta figure out a plan for me and I love the way you said that. I love the way you brought that up because I think so many caregivers do that you will yeah thanks for the obvious thing there. I got to care about somebody know what that looks like you didn't know what that looked like did you know I am doing the things that are often recommended United able to take a break family department. My husband's parents were incredibly supportive and during the worst of it on the particular Frank, I was able to you know the Jan met a few times that weekend and outlets that are often recommended. I felt like I was doing nothing and when burnt out anyway and that the title of my book comes from going to take quiz about caregiver burnout online. After that Dr. told me you can't take care of him. If you're not taking care of yourself and I took the quiz and it kind of popped up that little result like you're already very challenging to get out of that once your winter in it and now in a complex answer many many of your listeners there are in complex difficult ongoing caregiving situation and that your experience shows contractor for years and decades and it's really challenging to me when I feel like we need to shift our thinking away from the model of healthcare and toward community care and privileging care care network email mobilizing our communities to lift us up when you when were at our our low point and thinking about Karen Alaska and Skyler nuclear family kind of model and more and more as a community model fate and I do think all of the healthcare are valuable and indispensable, but it can be really hard to hear that. Another thing to your to do list when you're already collapsed on caring for other people. There's there's really nothing left but to collapse into bed and in bed at night when all the applications are done, you know, I really proceeded to say that the love that that the visual Seattle to John. She discussed this way with words just want to slam the silo because if you use the word silo on the Sean John show just as I grew up in the country, succulent, and I think the use that you know I just said say I I am one of the passions. I have Kate on the show is to have conversations like this with people we could just don't have a real conversation.
This is what I wanted to say he would offering your article and look at the book I wanted to say to you, you know, I see you see the magnitude of what you carry with you and and that's the first thing that came to my mind when I was reading your your New York Times piece is because us all the pain that you are caring and I understand that level of pain and trauma and in it and I think it's important we others, honest conversations with each other.
Of of recognizing the magnitude of what a family caregiver carries so thank you for being a part of this with me.
I want to give it real quick. Just the last minute or two would have you're still writing you're still doing that that the column you have the second little be just what is it a lack of restaurant with a strip of gray.
Should I just watch the movie the other night, the one with Sandra Bullock and she was the crossword writer at the sacrament of the surely see that movie all about Steve. Not all you gotta see this movie. It's it's your paper but but the thing is is is is Sandra Bullock plays his character whose it's so smart.
She writes a crossword but she talks incessantly and I know a person who does that.
And I will let you her name Mary to her and I looked and I said I love this movie graces looking at me sideways. He said don't say a word as if I would dream of it but this is a sinner but enjoy it. This is this is Oscar with its it's a really cute movie that became a couple years. Several years ago, but I think you'd like it when it suits your paper, but I'm sorry that you not able to do that. What are you doing this to be like that part of you written a book you do more columns to we had in our dining and shut down.
Here we need to get back about you but I am doing some writing for them and working on for another time in our continuing to write out the have two daughters to regain her school at home and say my husband Bob more independent. Certainly, then he was. I wrote about ongoing care if you file you managed to keep pretty busy with everything I would say so will your your wonderful writer, you've taken on a topic that is so needed in your becoming a powerful voice for those still like to have one. So that is. That's about the highest compliment I can pay you and I thank you for what you're doing, Kate. The book is called already toast and it's available this in March right available to preorder everywhere now and I really think you will. You are quite welcome, already toast, caregiving, and burnout America KA Washington.com KA Washington truck.com and take thank you very much and have you back on okay great. This Peter Rosenberger hopefully caregiver.com was this is John Butler and I produce hope for the caregiver with Peter Rosenberger.
Some of you know the remarkable story of Peter's wife Gracie and recently Peter talk to Gracie about all the wonderful things that have emerged from her difficult journey. Take a listen Gracie.
When you envision doing a prosthetic limb outreach. Did you ever think that inmates would help you do that, not in a million years. When you go to the facility run by core civic and you see the faces of these inmates that are working on prosthetic limbs that you have helped collect from all of the country that you put out the plea for and their disassembly sell these legs like what you have your own prosody and arms and orange everything when you see all this. What do you make me cry because I see the smiles on their faces and I know I know what it is to be locked someplace where you can't get out without somebody else allowing you to get out course, being in the hospital so much and so long and so that these men are so glad that they get to be doing as as one man said something good family with my hands.
Did you know before you became an amputee that parts of prosthetic limbs could be recycled now had no idea and I thought a peg leg. I thought of wooden legs.
I never thought of titanium and carbon legs and flex fate sea legs and all that. I never thought about that as you watch these inmates participate in something like this, knowing that there there helping other people to walk there, providing the means for the supplies to get over there.
What is it do to you. Just on the heart level. I wish I could explain to the world. What I see in here and I wish that I could be able to go and say the this guy right here Denise go to Africa with us and never not feel that way out every time you know you always make me have to leave. I don't want to leave them. II feel like I'm at home with them and I feel like that we have a common bond that would've never expected that only God could put together. Now that you've had experience with it what you think of the faith-based programs. The core civic offers. I think they're just absolutely awesome and I think every prison out there should have faith-based programs like this because the return rate of the men that are involved in this particular faith-based program and other ones like it, but I know about this one are.
It is just an amazingly low rate compared to those who don't happen and I think that that says so much that doesn't have anything to do with me just has something to do with God using somebody broken to help other broken people. If people want to donate or use prosthetic limbs, whether from a loved one who passed away or you know somebody well groomed. You've donated some of your own for them to have it out of the do that please go to standing with hope.com/recycle staining with hope.com/recycle backspace