Monday, July 6, 2020

Caregivers 2020

I know 2020 has been a challenge for many, me included.  Every now and then during a lifetime there are moments when things change the course of a life forever.  Sometimes subtly, sometimes like an earthquake shaking the base of everything that is.   That's how I feel about Covid.  It has taken a grip on the world and continues to shake and shape the way we live our lives.  We are now at a high daily count and the health care workers have an unbelievable task of not only protecting those that are ill and must be cared for but also providing the link to the loved ones who can not be with those that are ill.   This is a story of a caregiver who provided care, compassion and all she could give to her patient.   Halleh Akbarnia, thank you for your compassionate approach to a providing care to those in need.  You helped not only the patient, your co-workers but anyone that reads your story and gave us hope.  It warms my heart to know my daughter works with people who care so deeply and so selflessly.  I hope you can wrap yourself in this quilt made by Kim Rogers and feel the gratitude and love from those who were touched by your actions.

Here is Halleh's story from Facebook
- it is a story for all of us:

I have been an Emergency Medicine Physician for almost 20 years. I have worked through numerous disasters, and I’m used to the daily grind of heart attacks, gunshots, strokes, flu, traumas, and more. It’s par for the course in my field. Yet nothing has made me feel the way I do about my “job” as this pandemic has—that knot-in-the-pit–of-your-stomach sensation while heading into work, comforted only by the empathetic faces of my colleagues who are going through the same. I am grateful for their presence, knowing they are both literally and figuratively with me, that they understand and accept so profoundly the risks we take each day. I also hope that my friends and family forgive me for my lack of presence during this time—precisely when we need each other most—and that they realize that their words, their encouragement, and their small gestures that come my way daily are the fuel that gets me through each day. This is a story for all of us.

I met my patient, Mr. C., on my first real “pandemic” shift, when what we were seeing that day was what we had been preparing for. He was classic in his presentation, his X-ray findings, his low oxygen levels… we just knew. And he was the nicest man I had met in a long time. Gasping for breath, he kept asking if we needed anything, and that it would all be okay. He told us he was a teacher but that he was learning so much from us, and how much he respected what we were doing. The opposite could not be more true.

We had to decide how long we would try to let him work through this low oxygen state before needing to intubate him. His levels kept falling and despite all our best efforts it was time to put him on the ventilator. He told us he didn’t feel great about this, “but Doc, I trust you and am putting myself in your hands.” That uneasy feeling in my stomach grew even more in that moment. But he, with his teacher's steady voice, kept me grounded, where I was supposed to be. I saw his eyes looking at me, seeing the kindness in them, even as we pushed the medications to put him to sleep. To say this was an “easy” intubation is an understatement. It was not. He nearly left us a few times during those first minutes, but he kept coming back. We fought hard to keep him with us. The patience and strength of my team that day, truly remarkable.

I handed him over to my friend and colleague, Dr. Beth Ginsburg, and her team in the ICU, and her calming voice reassured me that they had it from here. And then for the next twelve days, I waited and watched his progress, knowing the statistics, and how sick he was when he got to us. They did their magic, and just yesterday my new friend Mr. C was extubated. I decided to go “meet” him again.

Mr C. was in the COVID stepdown unit, recovering, without family. Nobody was allowed to visit him; even worse, his wife had been home alone in isolation for the past fourteen days, too. My heart broke thinking of how that must have been for her. I cautiously went into his room, donned in my PPE, and when he saw me, he stopped for a second. A moment of recognition.

I introduced myself. “I’m Dr. Akbarnia, Mr. C. I was the last person you saw in the ER. You told me you trusted us to get you to this side. Looks like you did just fine.” He started to cry. He said, “I remember your eyes.” And I started to cry. What he didn’t know is that, at that moment, I realized that we do what we do exactly for people like him, for moments like these. His strength, his kindness, his calming words to me meant everything. At that moment, my heart (which had been beating over 100 bpm since this pandemic began) finally slowed down.

I sat down and we talked. I told him that while he is here, we are his family. He will always have a place in my heart. And whether he knows it or not, he will be my silent warrior and guide as I take care of every patient, COVID or not. He will fuel me until the day I hang up my stethoscope.

(Picture and story posted with full permission from patient)

ETA: I was asked if this can be shared. Please do.

#covidsurvivor #hope #covid19 #advocatehealth #condell #frontliners #inthistogether #heartofaphysician


What a heart warming story from an incredible care giver.  I hope this quilt provides some well deserved self care when needed. This story came at the beginning of pandemic in the Chicago Area, but the message and the hope that was provided is still greatly appreciated.

Quilt made by Kim Rogers and quilted by Kathleen Brown









Sunday, August 25, 2019

I'd like to introduce 3 more care givers

I have 3 special caregivers to introduce, one of which is the inspiration for the care givers drive.  They are all so special and dear to me.  I'd like to introduce Amy, Steve and Allison.

Amy is a nurse and works in the emergency room at a local hospital.  Her job is caregiving in critical circumstances. But that's not why I nominated her.  I nominated her for the work that is above and beyond her job.  For the last two years her and a co-worker run a program for high-school students at the hospital.  The students come to the hospital for a semester and learn all the different areas of healthcare.  These kids want to be there, less than 10% that apply actually get in.  The work that she does to not only show them the field of nursing but making sure all other aspects of career opportunities are exposed. This provides a wealth of  knowledge as these Junior and Seniors make very critical choices that will be with them for the rest of their lives.  Some come and solidify their choice, some see new doors open that they weren't aware of and some learn the health care profession may not be for them. All very important learning no matter which way it steers you.  For this caring for the youth and the generation that will someday lead this nation, I thank Amy.  Keep doing what you're doing it's wonderful impact on the world.

Simple but with a big impact, that's Steve
Next is Steve, a physicist.  Steve has always cared for my dad in ways that none of the other kids do or can.  It's just in his heart.  He does this from the East Coast when my dad lives in the MidWest.  He makes sure he gets to his Dr appointments, he makes sure his Gym membership is up to date.  He talks to him weekly and visits multiple times a years.  He's helped to make sure that dad stays connected and finds good things on the internet from time to time.  Words just can't describe what he's done for him and at times I"m not even certain my Dad knows or appreciates it. But that doesn't stop Steve.  He's driven from deep within to care and there is nothing that can stop him.  I have felt that care myself many times.  Thanks Steve for all you do, you make a difference in this world.  Well I didn't have anyone taking pictures as it was a bit of a surprise that they actually came out and I was able to give to him personally.  You can see which one he got. Thanks to Arlene for grabbing some pictures.
It was so nice to deliver n person in Georgia,

The inspiration for the Caregivers Quilt Drive
And finally Allison. The inspiration for the caregivers.  Allison is away studying to be a clinical psychologist in FL.  As part of her PHD program, she does counseling.  Her areas of speciality are suicide, alcoholism and substance abuse.  She works at one of one of the state  psychiatric hospitals.  One day I called her and she was a bit down. When I asked, she had a hard day with one of the patients.  It was then that it just hit me. Yes, all the cancer patients and those that need quilts for health issues or reasons we may not know, bless them they are valid. But what about those that care for the people with Cancer?  With Mental Illness?  They do this day in and day out.  They need a bit of self care. They need to understand how to recharge, rejuvenate from the thing that they can't help but do - care.  So one third of our quilts this year went to caregivers.  As a small and simple way to say thank you, you are making the world a better place.  And to provide just a tiny bit of self care when it's' needed.

To all the caregivers, not all are in the healthcare profession, thank you for all you do.  The world is a better place because of you!! If there is a special care giver in you life, just let them know you notice, you see it and you appreciate it.  That goes a long way!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Blue Dot, Blue Dot, Where Are You? - Denniele's Quilt

I posted a block of this one, but now I"ve gotten permission to post the full quilt and all it's wonderful blooms.  Denniele Bohannan from Louanna Mary Quilt Design made this incredible Blue Dot, Blue Dot Where are you,  quilt designed by Barbara Brackman who has a free BOM - Hospital Sketches  which you can find on facebook.  This one is super sweet.  Two layers of batting, Hobbs 80/20 and Hobbs Wool, I used a 60 wt Glide thread that just blended wonderfully with everything.  Yep only one color of thread on this beauty. And Denniele won a Blue Ribbon at the Missouri State Fair, congrats Denniele!! Get cozy and get ready for some wonderful pics of this work of art.  Thanks Denniele for letting me quilt for you!
















Make sure to stop by the linky parties on the side bar, there is so much inspiration out there.   Next week I hope to share more stories of the care givers.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Kim Boone's Homegrown Quilt

Oh my, has it been six weeks since I've had a blog post? Well, this is worth the wait.  Kim made this amazing Homegrown Quilt. Sue Spargo's design - the book will be out shortly, it's going to be dosey!  I think I have pictures of all the houses. The detail on each is out of this world.  There's really not much I could do for quilting, just pushing that background away and giving a little texture so those wonderful houses could shine.  I can't tell you how much I enjoyed working on this, I've never seen anything like it before.  I know, I'm gushing!!! If you could see me, there would be little heart eyed emojis coming from my head!  But hey, this is a quilt to gush over.  Two layers of batting, one 80/20 the other wool.  I used Wonderfil 80 wt thread, I didn't want anything to compete with her incredible hand work.  With that I'll leave with some incredible pictures.  Grab a cup of your favorite beverage and enjoy!!




the tree, the garden, the dirt is stitched on!



the detail, look at that stem!




the bees!  They really look like they are flying over the flower


the tree! The roof!

THe curtain, and the roof, oh boy 
the bunny and the carrot in the garden


The tiki hut!


The flowers


I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did.  Thank you Kim for letting me quilt for you, this was really something!

Monday, June 24, 2019

Meet two more caregivers

This week I'd like to introduce another two caregivers. Caregivers are those that care and often time put the needs of others ahead of their own.   They are driven to insure that others are comforted, loved and their needs are met.  They do this without expectation of reward or recognition. They simply can't themselves, it's just how they are with every fiber of their being.  Even caregivers need some care and that's what Helping Hands is about, trying to provide a little self-care when they need it.  I hope each of the caregivers will wrap themselves in the quilt when needed and feel all the love and care that was stitched into each of the quilts.  This year we made 11 (I snuck in one more for a very special care giver).  I'll be introducing them over the weeks to come.  Here's two for this week.  First up is Kathleen.  She has on of the most caring hearts I've witnessed in my life. Cari nominated her and here's what she had to say "Not only is she a full time caregiver for her failing husband, she takes care of all aspects of running her household.  She devotes her time and resources to our guild, maintaining our website, instagram and facebook pages, serving on the board of directors, handling publicity and opens her home to us for workshops and sew-ins.  She makes herself available for almost anything that is asked of her; she is a caring friend.  And she does it all so lovingly, always with a smile on her face and joy in her heart.  She is truly selfless, a real hero in my eyes, someone we call all aspire to be like."  Very well said!  Kathleen joined our group this year, she wasn't able to join when we got together but that didn't stop her from helping.  She made a quilt, she quilted and bound two quilts, and binding on another. Wow!!! It was a very special presentation at our Guild meeting to Kathleen.  She is so humble that I don't think she realized it was being given to her.  Thank you Kathleen for all you do, the world is a better place because you are in it.
Kathleen was very surprised to receive her quilt
This is the beautiful quilt that Kathleen made for your group, custom quilted an all!!
The next nomination was for Cathy.  She was nominated by a co-worker of my neighbor Nancy (thanks Nancy for spreading the word).   Cathy has an adult son with cerebral palsy and is blind.  Not only does she provide care and love for her son, but she also works as a special education paraprofessional at a local school.  The heart of a true caregiver.  The quilt was delivered by Jennifer last week.  When she presented the quilt she found out that Cathy was recently diagnosed with cancer.   My heart aches for her.  The amount of love, care and tenderness that she provides to her son and those at work, and now she has to deal with cancer.  I hope this quilt wraps you in love, helps to heal.  My heart goes out to you Cathy, thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time.  I hope the treatment is swift, as painless as possible and completely eradicates the cancer.  Thank you Cathy, for all you do.   You have touched many hearts and this world is better because of you.


Next week I'll share the story of two more caregivers.  Check out the linky parties in the sidebar, have a great week!