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"Caregiving Brought Me to The Well."

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger
The Truth Network Radio
April 23, 2021 4:00 am

"Caregiving Brought Me to The Well."

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger

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April 23, 2021 4:00 am

Veteran Journalist, Richard Lui (MSNBC, NBC) shares how his journey as a caregiver for his father with Alzheimer's opened a door to understand more of the human condition. 
The award-winning news anchor decided to set aside his growing career to care for family. Selflessness, however, did not come easily. So, Richard set out to explore why he struggled. From a journalist's point of view, he digs into and shares stories from his seven-year "selfless" exploration.
In this book, "Enough About Me - The Unexpected Power of Selflessness," Richard shares how small choices toward selflessness are not a compromise, but instead a way to a more satisfying life. 
www.richardlui.com

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trainaposter.com. Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver. This is Peter Rosenberger. This is the show for you as a family caregiver.

Hope for the caregiver, that conviction that we as caregivers can live a calmer, healthier, and dare I say it, a more joyful life. And we're glad you're with us. As always, I'm joined by himself, the Baron of the Board, the Sultan of the Sound, the Earl of Engineering, the man who is just a delight to millions, John Butler, the Count of Mighty Disco. John Butler, the Count of Mighty Disco. He's tall.

Man, I tell people I'm not but like five foot 17. I don't know what the big deal is. John, I got a, I got a book in the mail this week, and I've been, I've been consumed with it. It is, I get a lot of books I get I get a lot of books that people want me to read and come on the show and so forth. But this hardcover paperback or digital.

This is hardcover, which I like best. And it's Richard Louie, he is a lot of people got to know who he is he's an anchor over MSNBC and NBC been there for he's been in journalism for 30 years. And while I get a lot of books because of the nature of what we do for caregivers, this one just stood out. And it's called enough about me, which is something I've never said.

But it's the unexpected power of selflessness. And, and so I wanted to Richard I'm so thank you for being a part of the show today Richard and welcome to the show and we're glad to have you with us. Ah, Peter, thanks for having me and good chatting with you.

This has been a real delight for me to read this Richards father of john is like mine a Presbyterian minister, we're both okay pressure ministers kids and. But as I as I read this book, Richard, I first off the way you write is spectacular. And, and let me let me let me explain.

You write as, as a journalist that is connecting dots, seeing drama and stories that other people may miss, and then taking the time to just kind of unpack on why is this important. And it's, it's so it's, it just flows. It is such a good book and I can't recommend this enough. And so, but but it's all framed in a very difficult event that happened with you and your father so just, just jump into that and just unfold that for us on how this came about.

Yeah, it was one of those things and I know that a lot of your conversations around this space. And for me, the book which is enough about me the unexpected power selflessness was really I think, seven or eight years in the making, when my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, we lost Richard but we'll get him back here in a minute. And I will fill in the gaps there, Richard's father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and Richard thought he was going to have to quit work, stop being a journalist, and he went to his boss to have that conversation. And he said, Look, I gotta take a step back. And then his boss said, Hey, guess what I'm dealing with the same thing with my family. And I understand it, we've got a different plan here so did we get him back in.

I think we got him back. That's okay we filled in the gaps because I told him that you went to your boss and say hey look I gotta step back because of this unexpected event with my father, and your boss's response was was not what you expected. No sir, I thought she was gonna say to me.

We like you a lot, Richard. We're good friends but square peg round hole. You know you have an eight day a week job so let's figure out how we can do this maybe at another time in our lives. But instead, she event Miley's her name she said guess what I am a long distance caregiver too. And I want to figure out how we can make this work for you. So she we came up with four solutions and now six years in.

I've been flying from New York to San Francisco, maybe two or three times except during covert two or three times a month to help with my mom caring for my father. And now, caring for my mother so it's it was. It was really a surprising thing that happened, the beginning of trying to understand I guess the big idea behind the book. Well it is and and one of the things I like about where you go with this and you start introducing this concept to people. There's some people that think okay in order for me to be selfless I've got to be like Mother Teresa, I've got to be this way, but I'm not.

And if I'm not like Mother Teresa that I'm going to be this way and you refer to as just being binary, it's either this or that. And you say no, no there's, I love what you said there's, there's a lot more recipes are a lot more meals in this particular potluck or what, how did you phrase that phrase. That's a great way you phrased it.

That's exactly what I said. There's a lot more than two dishes at this cook off. Yeah. That was great.

I said potluck because I'm from the south so I can't help it. But that is a great way of saying that there's more flavor here going on than what we think. And so, talk about that a little bit. You know, growing up it was for me, my father being a pastor, I saw things as you know you were either all the way in or you weren't. And it's also growing up you know we all kind of lived through that and in our younger years where we think it absolutes. And so when I was thinking of this idea of, you know what selflessness might be or taking care of other people. I had already reached a stage where I had understood things can't be we can't be absolutely 100% so we can't be Mother Teresa we can't be Desmond Tutu, just like Desmond Tutu and Mother Teresa probably weren't even those ideals themselves.

And so what they were is at certain parts of their lives, really amazing. And so the idea is, even though like us talking right now, Peter, John and myself. And I'm going to push because I'm actually talking about myself an awful lot. And what I came to terms with earlier and in process and trying to understand how to talk about the topic of selflessness, is that it's okay if so long as I'm 51% or above in the good side, because I'm never going to be perfect. I'm never going to be the 100, but if I'm 51% on the good side. I'm pushing the ball forward, and it makes me make more decisions that are constructive and I by making more decisions I'm doing more and by doing more muscle sets so my 51s become 53s and then 60s, hopefully, and more frequently do that and I get muscle tone which I say in the book, so that when the big thing happens that potential, you know, Desmond Tutu, Mother Teresa moment, I've got the muscle set to jump to be able to do better at it.

Well, Michael J Fox has it. Yeah, that is wonderful Michael J Fox has a great quote that he said it, you know, perfection is God's business excellence is ours. And, and I've always kind of held on to I thought that that is a really good quote in and Salvador Dali said have no fear of perfection for you shall never achieve it. It's a, so, and I look at that for fellow caregivers and this is what it of course this conversation came to you in a caregiving frame. And, and so I look at my fellow caregivers myself. And there's some days that we are extraordinarily selfless. And then there are other days when we're struggling like we're, we're a drowning victim and we got to survive at all costs no matter who we take down with us, you know, kind of, you know, try to save ourselves, and that tension is so real for so many of us as caregivers and you references that I'm going to actually quote this from this is about your mother. And you said, when I got to put my glasses on this getting old really is not for everything it says in the brochure there. When we support others to the detriment of our own well being.

Researchers call this behavior unmitigated selflessness. That's what happened to my mom, though she is far from alone in this regard yet and I would agree with all of that. Talk about that with your mother if you don't mind. I recall the screen, because we were trying to support my mother and her caregiving of my father, and I'm in New York my sisters in LA my mother and father in San Francisco, and you know you when, when you, you have these situations of bumps in the night or a fall or a slip or a noise near there you can immediately ascertain what is that, what does it mean. And that's why when I would come to San Francisco to help care for my father, I'd stay overnight on their couch and I had done so for five years. And so that I could know and hear what was happening. And when I couldn't be there you know it's the concern that all caregivers have so what we did is we installed some cloud cameras. And so we would look on the cameras to support the caregiving like I right now.

Watch my mother twice a week if I can, as she recovers from falling recently herself. And so that's kind of, as you know, in the community as you've talked about it for so long, is that that's very helpful but I saw my mom screen. And at one point my father, and it wasn't a scream, only a frustration. It was a scream of help.

It was a scream of pain. And I knew she was calling out for help. And that is when I realized okay we got to really get in there, because mom is never going to tell us this, but she is going through it she doesn't know I'm listening, I let her know later on in fact that that chapter was carved out and I showed it to her, because the publishers were saying Richard. We just want to make sure that you know, we obviously think everything is copacetic between your mom, but just for legal reasons, can you show it your mom get the A Okay.

Right. Just for private privacy reasons, private lawyer, the lawyer said yeah, that's right. So, so I told my show it to my mom said that's fine. And the reason being she understands that mom I'm trying to tell other people, they can they can give too much there that unmitigated selflessness is a real pasta in the caregiving space, but we can do that in relationships, we can do that with with friends. And we can do that in in helping people at the charities we were involved in. And that's why in the in that chapter as you as you see there Peter there is a, there's a test a quiz that you can score yourself to see if you are on that line, because there's a lot of people we got to, as you know, we got to, we got to take care of ourselves, that doesn't mean you're being selfish in a bad way, you're being selfish in a good way. So you can help the other person just like the videos are the plane that popped down and say, put your oxygen mask on for yourself so you can help somebody else.

That's the same idea. The word of that is stewardship, which is a word you know, both of us being Presbyterian minister sons we understand that word. But that's a word that is a lot, it's lost on so many in our country the word stewardship it's almost an archaic word, but it's an important word to us as caregivers, and there is a stewardship of this idea that you've as you open this book up to people and this is what caught my eye on this is because you're not writing this as a caregiving book and so many of the books that are sent out are about caregiving task.

And I am just convinced that the real issue is the caregivers heart. And how do we settle that down a little bit and and then one of the things that I've also helped been helped by is learning the vocabulary I speak forever now after 35 years, and I want to help as many people learn to speak that language, because that's how we can actually address these needs. And so I want to pivot just a hair and a few more minutes I have with you to talk about the three lunches, because I think this this principle then takes it from being dealing with Alzheimer's or dealing with trauma or disease or whatever, and then goes directly to the soul level, and I wanted you to spend as much time with as you need to on this concept that you did.

Yeah, caregiving is what brought me to the well to understand the idea in that well of what it means to think of others right and to care for others and I did not know I think my dad's laughing all the way to the bank if you will be as a pastor he could be sitting there, because he can't talk right now, but he could be smiling and laughing saying I got you to write that book Richard say, say, I'm doing that. But, you know, being at that, that, that, that that well if you will show that I needed to think about how I can think of others better than people even the ones that I think I would never ever hang out with. And the three lunches, and we, we look at a lot of science behind behind all of the efforts and statements we make we we did treat it like a self help book. We were looking at some of the science before under it.

We wanted that to prove the anti self self help book mantra. And one of those things of the studies we looked at was at Stanford they had done a study of those who did not get along because of racial prejudice. They had prejudice against other people of different backgrounds, and what they did is they looked at hundreds of pairings of people. I don't like you because you are of Asian descent I don't like you because you are Latino or you are white whatever the case may be, or you're black, whatever the case may be, and they paired them up, and then they had them meet three times want your lunch or coffee, you know discussion, an event, but more than just hello. So, before that they measure the cortisol level which is the stress hormone they measure the dopamine and the oxytocin which are the happiness chemicals in the body, and that along with qualitative measures show that, you know, they really were showing that they were balancing each other.

After the three lunches, the three coffees that measurement went to just above zero, just above. And so, we got to think that chapter is called three lunches is the reality of what we can do once we understand the need for ourselves is to stretch a little push ourselves be uncomfortable to and being uncomfortable is about is about being a bit selfless, because it's selfish as I'm always comfortable I'm not going to get outside my comfort zone. And that study out of Stanford shows it pays off.

It pays off. It pays off big time, and I, I really have appreciated the way you've gone about this and it all again came to you through the, the packaging of caregiving. I have on my, my Saturday show I do a live call in show and it's, it's very much call or driven and they, the first thing I ask is every caregivers, how are you feeling. Yeah, I want to, I want them to learn to speak in their own voice, and in a place where they feel comfortable, just sharing how they're feeling, and I thought, wow, Richard's taking this into a whole nother level here of building bridges, you know what, can you hang on to the break.

Yeah, you bet. All right, we're gonna take a quick break here we're talking with Richard Louie. He is well known 30 years in journalism NBC and MSNBC anchor worldwide he's done and the stuff he's done in his life is just extraordinary and I hope you go out and take a look at it his website richard louie.com lui.com and his book I've got it right here it is enough about me the unexpected power of selflessness wherever books are sold.

We're going to talk a little bit more when we come back. This is Peter Rosenberger This is hope for the caregiver don't go away. Have you ever struggled to trust God when lousy things happen to you. I'm Gracie Rosenberger, and in 1983, I experienced a horrific car accident, leading to at surgeries and both legs amputated. I questioned why God allowed something so brutal to happen to me, but over time, my questions changed, and I discovered courage to trust God, that understanding, along with an appreciation for quality prosthetic limbs led me to establish standing with hope for more than a dozen years, we've been working with the government of Ghana and West Africa, equipping and training local workers to build and maintain quality prosthetic limbs for their own people on a regular basis we purchase and ship equipment and supplies, and with the help of inmates in a Tennessee prison.

We also recycle parts from donated limbs, all of this is to point others to Christ, the source of my hope and strength, please visit standing with hope.com to learn more and participate in lifting others up that standing with hope.com I'm Gracie, and I am standing with hope. This is Peter Rosenberger, this is the show for caregivers about caregivers hosted by a caregiver and that by the way is my wife Gracie with rust half off of her CD resilient. And you can get a copy of that if you want to go out to hope for the caregiver.com just follow the prompts there whatever you want to do to help push this show forward, we'll send you a copy of her CD, and I think you'll love it tremendously we're talking with Richard Louie. He is the author of this new book, and it is a, I cannot recommend this book enough.

This is called enough about me. The unexpected power of selflessness. And you know and I know it seems like it's a little bit of a paradox that he's out here, promoting a book about selflessness. But this is, this is, this is one of those messages that come from the soul level, where there was a moment of discovery of the beauty and joy of life in the midst of whatever.

And I think sometimes we are so consumed with making sure that everything fits and looks nice and tidy around us and then we can be okay. And Richard discovered what what so many heroes of ours along the way discovered that there is beauty and joy in the midst of whatever. And some of the most wonderful moments that Gracie and I've ever had as a couple have been in the hospital room. And so I just could not wait to get him. I couldn't wait to get the show today and I was so excited and I was so glad to have him come in so Richard, when you, when you, when the reader finishes this book.

What are your hopes that that reader will will be able to do and feel and experience and think, what are some of the things that you'd like to see the impact on that reader. You know period you so well articulated that joy, despite difficulty, that an opportunity to to learn something new and really energize you and you talked about you and Gracie being in places that people might think are always not so so uplifting. And, you know, for me, I have a similar example of my father when he could no longer walk or talk or eat, and yet he's a, you know, now has to use a stomach tube is that I wondered whether he was still there and there I am in his care community.

And I took out the amplifier which is just basically a headphones with a microphone on it. And I said hey Dad Are you there and if you are can you blink once. Of course my heart and brain was hoping he would blink, but knew that he hadn't spoken, and he had walked and he hadn't eaten through his mouth orally and in months, and two seconds went by and then he blinked along intentional once. And then I was like, Oh my, what, what happened. Wait, what is this, and I said okay I hate to be that that vein selfie guy but I'm pulling out my phone because I'm asking him again, and I'm going to share this with my siblings, and my mom. And then I said again I said hey Dad This is your son Richard. If you recognize me blink once and paused.

And he gave me a long blink again. And I gotta tell you, Peter, when you can find those moments that you learn it's not only that they are good moments. They're low, there are moments that are so educational. So, I see a lot more behind what is folks forehead now.

Right. And, and I'm every time we find that join that difficulty, we become better empathetic beings, we, we see more, we ask better questions we listen better, like you were asking how you feeling about your typical question I when people ask me that I stopped and I really try to answer when I asked that question I really try to listen. And so, if folks were to read the book is to find that joy, despite the difficulty and see what, what can be taken home and can be used at home more often.

Well that's it and you know, it would not surprise you Richard that a lot of the times when I asked that question to folks, they start rattling off their loved ones chart they start speaking in third person singular first person plural. And I have to stop them and go back and say now tell me how I asked about you and and and that's when the stuttering and the stammering and the tears come, because they're not used to speaking in their own voice but I have found such richness and beauty and joy and meaning and hearing people learn to speak in their own voice. And I had to learn this. I had to learn it painfully, and I mean we lose our identity and somebody else's journey and and and I love the way you've written this because you've written this like a like a trusted journalist like you pulled out all the journalism school techniques and education and everything that you had and you said I'm going to write a book, and I'm going to tell a story. And you bring in all these different stories and the one particular one down at the parkland shooting and so forth with that young man Peter.

It was his name. And, and, and you really bring it to, to, to a powerful place and and you've done a great job. When, where's the best way for people john by the way john jump in real quick because we only got a couple minutes and john said he wanted to say something the flow is too good I didn't want to interrupt I just, I really enjoyed the way you spoke about having the muscle tone for for this and the idea of muscle memory is is just an amazing thing to me but to apply it to, like an, like an ethical framework an empathetic framework like we have to have that that muscle tone for empathy or for our own ethical choices. So right when the big thing comes up, we're, we're in for it, you know, and that was asked. Yeah, yeah, just good way of putting it that's the first in the mind but yeah. The thing is to look at our healthcare workers and what they did, why was I talking to them on TV and they were in their cars and they were scared and they were angry and frustrated and crying and what do they do after they finished that interview they went right back inside the hospital to help people. And I had to always ask myself, they're running into the fire every day and it's because before coven, they did that every day so there was no doubt that they want to come in to help me and other people if we were to get coven to do that.

That's a really great example of muscle tone because they they're built to help people in our sickness. Well, in our, in our self absorbed the me ism as you refer to it in the book culture that we have empathy is is not accidental, it's intentional. And, and it's something that it's going to be awkward at first but it starts with listening and that's why I love the whole point about the three lunches just if you will sit down and listen to people and spend time with them. And you'll find that, you know what, we really don't have that much different, there's not that many different things about us in, and I've learned about caregivers, you know, yeah and and caregivers there's it's caregivers no respecter of race, religion, ethnicity, anything, you either are a caregiver or you're going to be a caregiver, or you need a caregiver.

And, and it is just one of those things that it unites us all in that journey of putting ourselves between a vulnerable loved one and even worse disaster. Richard if people want to find out more about you. What's the best place to go to, you know, they can check, check out my Instagram or social platforms and they can also check out the book at the places you indicated.

And we'd love to hear from them. Yeah, he's got a place to connect with them and please do richard louie.com l u i richard louie.com, and the book is called enough about me, the unexpected power of selflessness. This is a powerful book, it will make a great gift after you've read it, did you get it for somebody else.

You know what a teacher, a pastor, a counselor, somebody in your life that you know that's doing this, they will benefit greatly from this book. Richard, Richard's blessed me with it's been a great I've really enjoyed it Richard so thank you and thank you for being a part of the show. Thank you, Peter. Thank you. I will see you next week. This is hope for the caregiver hope for the caregiver.com.

Thanks so much for joining us. This is john Butler, and I produce hope for the caregiver with Peter Rosenberger. Some of you know the remarkable story of peers wife Gracie, and recently Peter talked 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 over the country that you put out the plea for. And they're disassembling you see all these legs like what you have your own prosthetic arms and arms.

When you see all this. What does that do to you. Makes 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, of course, being in the hospital so much and so long. And so, um, these men are so glad that they get to be doing as one band said something good finally with my hands. Did you know before you became an amputee that parts of prosthetic limbs could be recycled.

No, I had no idea. You know, I thought a peg leg I thought of wooden legs I never thought of titanium and carbon legs and flex feet and see legs and all that I never thought about that. As you watch these inmates participate in something like this, knowing that they're helping other people now walk, they're providing the means for the supplies to get over there. What does that do to you just on a heart level. I wish I could explain to the world. What I see in there, and I wish that I could be able to go and say the this guy right here, he needs to go to Africa with us. I never not feel that way out every time you know you always make me have to leave, I don't want to leave them. I feel like I'm at home with them. And I feel like that we have a common bond that I would have never expected that only God could put together. Now that you've had an experience with it, what do you think of the faith based programs that CoreCivic 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 the other ones like it, but I know about this one, is just an amazingly low rate compared to those who don't have them. And I think that that says so much.

That doesn't have anything to do with me. It just has something to do with God using somebody broken to help other broken people. If people want to donate a used prosthetic limbs, whether from a loved one who passed away or you know somebody who outgrew them, you've donated some of your own for them to do. How do they do that? Oh, please go to StandingWithHope.com slash recycle. StandingWithHope.com slash recycle. Thanks, Gracie.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-26 03:15:20 / 2023-11-26 03:27:13 / 12

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