Perseverance: Icing on Cake for Pastry Chef

Meet Bruce Dodds

Bruce early in his cake manufacturing career
Early Career

Bruce admits he was a poor student at North Dakota’s Fargo North High School. Book learning was not his thing. The social part was. Hands-on learning trumped books, always.

Yet, he found unconditional love and support from his parents who weren’t deterred by his poor attitude and poor grades.

They understood with time and finding his passion, Bruce would thrive. And, how right they were.

At age 50, Bruce retired as Vice President of Research and Development in a business he helped build. Then sold.

Here’s Bruce’s Story.

Share It.

Rich Texas Life

Bruce is completely content with his life’s path. “I’ve been blessed beyond my wildest dreams. I couldn’t possibly wish for anything else.”

He and his wife of 39 years, Teresa (Wickenheiser), a registered nurse, are both retired and living in  Texas. They’re the proud parents of two adult children and five grandchildren.

Most days Bruce awakens early and takes his two Labradors out to train for field trials. “It’s stress-free fun that gives me a reason to get out of the bed in the morning.  My dogs just love it.”

Hunting in North Dakota

Afternoons are spent in his pottery studio “throwing clay on the wheel or hand building pieces.” He doesn’t sell any of his many works. “One day my kids will have to figure out how to get rid of it all.”

He does get the parallel between cake baking and clay. Cake baking and pottery design both require immense amounts of creativity. Each begins with raw ingredients eventually shaped into a finished product-a cake and a beautiful functional art piece.

When not creating, he’s planning repeat trips to remote parts of the world, like Africa, to see wildlife and scenery not found in the USA. Or, he’s hunting in his home state of North Dakota and polishing up his photography skills.

Path to Texas Via New York


Bruce’s NDSU West Dining Center boss is to thank for his career path. As a high school student, he worked there after school and during the summer. Early in his senior year, work peers asked about post-graduation plans. “I shrugged my shoulders and said I didn’t have a clue.” The thought of that question made him sick. “I knew I didn’t want to go to college.”

His boss suggested culinary school because he seemed to enjoy his job there so much.

Bruce sought direction from his high school guidance counselor who steered him to The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York.

“One look at the brochure and immediately I knew I wanted to go there, without even stepping foot in the school.” He applied and was accepted.

He started in January 1978 after quitting his NDSU job and working in a restaurant for a few months (a pre-requisite for admission).

Despite feeling lost and homesick, Bruce “loved school.” He even landed on the Dean’s List-a cause for family celebration on a school break.

He graduated in August 1979 with an Associate’s Degree taking classes ranging from Beginning Bake Shop (3 weeks) to Classical Pastry and Showpieces (3 weeks) to meat cutting to table service.

Lesson #1

It doesn’t take a four-year college degree to be successful. “If one finds what they love to do and are willing to work hard, anything is possible.”

Jobs to Lay-Off to Career

Bruce held many jobs before landing a career in the food industry.

  • Baker for 4 months at a Monticello, NY hotel
  • Pastry Chef at a hotel in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands for a year
  • Pastry Chef at a country club in The Woodlands, Texas for a year
  • Pastry Chef at the University Club in Houston, Texas for six years

Like many, he contemplated a career switch, going so far as applying to become a Houston police officer. He decided to remain in the food industry after just one interview with the department.

He found himself with “walking papers” when the oil economy and real estate market tanked in Houston. “A pastry chef is a luxury for most clubs. There are outside sources for cakes and pastry without having to pay a salary.”

On his last day of work at the Club, he grabbed the classified ads on his way out and saw an ad for a pastry chef at a dessert and coffee bar.

Dessert Manufacturing

Product Line

Bruce went to work for the owners of the dessert and coffee bar and a year later owned a small percentage of the business. It had 4-hourly employees and a 600 square foot bakery.

As the business grew, the bakery moved into a 7000 square foot building and within another year it moved into a 30,000 square foot facility. One year later, they doubled their square footage to 60,000 square feet.

Eventually, they built their own 160,000 square foot place.

When the business was sold in 2006, it had 350 hourly employees.

Bruce was the Owner, Pastry Chef + Vice President of Research and Development for 21 years.

He learned large volume production on the job and initially leaned heavily on his food scientist ingredient suppliers. “It was very stressful for me as the entire business relied and counted on my being able to formulate recipes that:

  • Mixed and baked well in large volume production
  • Tasted good
  • Could be produced efficiently and cost effectively.”

250,000 Cakes

Overnight the company grew from 5-6 hourly employees to 75 employees to fulfill their first large volume club store company order: 250,000 9-inch, 3-layer black forest cakes.

“We were so naïve. We really didn’t know what we could or couldn’t do in production. We may not have had a darn clue but we needed the business and figured it out.” Most of the time, things worked out fine. “It was stressful at the time but quite humorous today.”

Lesson #2

A strong work ethic is huge in achieving success.

“Don’t be afraid to work hard. In fact, if you don’t, you likely won’t succeed.”

Lesson #3

“If you fail at something, pick yourself up, shake off the dust, learn from the mistake and keep pounding away. Sooner or later, it’ll all work out. You’ll be richer for it.”

Family Matters

The food industry is physically demanding and can be all consuming, thus taxing on the home life. “We eat and sleep the business. A supportive family sure does help.”

Teresa, his wife, “held down the fort at home” and was supportive of Bruce’s work. “She was, and is, my rock. Without her it would all have been for nothing.”

Lesson #4

Those who succeed in this industry, like most, “work hard and grind it out, daily.”

Work Life Balance

Bruce thinks a work life balance is important but easily admits “I found it to be pretty difficult.” Work consumed him both at the office and at home. Test kitchen and production deadlines were always looming and the phone rang constantly, even during the middle of the night.

“I’d say, if one is able to close the office door and go home to enjoy his or her family without thinking of the work sitting on the desk, you are better for it.”

Accolades + Awards

Bruce’s proudest achievement to date is his family.

Forced to cite professional awards, he lists being able to retire at age 50 as his greatest professional achievement. “The sale of our company was the ‘award’ my partners and I strove for and fought for all those years.”

Along the way, he

  • Survived in a household with two older academic and athletic brothers. One a dentist. The other an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor.
  • Won a Bailey’s Irish Crème food competition in Houston
  • Appeared on the cover American Airlines’ American Way magazine behind a 5-tiered wedding cake prepared for his final project at CIA.

3 Principles + Values

What always guided Bruce toward these achievements were the three principles and values learned at a young age.

Lesson #5

Timeliness is important in business and everyday life. Be on time for meetings and appointments. “Being late is rude and shows you think your time is more valuable than the people you are to meet.”

Lesson #6

Preparedness. Always show up well prepared and knowledgeable. “Nothing bothered me more than having folks show up ill prepared and clearly not ready for the meeting.” This is inconsiderate and shows laziness.

Lesson #7

Exceed Expectations. Learn all you can about your customer’s business, including their customer base. Knowing this makes it possible to meet or exceed expectations. Bruce made many trips to see grocery store bakery buyers from all over the country. “If I was asked to bring a certain product, I did. But I also brought variations of it as well.” Many times, customers don’t quite know what they want. Offering options shows you did your homework and went the extra mile. “This was always appreciated.”


“I can’t think of a thing I’d like to accomplish yet in my life. I am content and happy.”

Finding what he was meant to do and fulling that calling were hallmarks of Bruce’s success and path in life.

Not surprising, his go-to song today is Lauren Daigle’s, “You Say.”


“When we think we are worthless and don’t recognize our strengths. God sees them.”

And many thank God for helping Bruce discover + understand his greater purpose.

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©Copyright. May 2019. Linda Leier Thomason
All Rights Reserved. This means seek permission prior to using any images or copy on this site. All are copyright protected and images are available for sale.

Linda Leier Thomason writes freelance business and travel stories, along with feature articles. Her work experiences include a Fortune 500 corporation, federal government, entrepreneurship and small business.
Read more about her background and qualifications by clicking on the “Meet Linda” tab above.

Contact her using the form above.

Website Turns 1: Top 10 + New Addition

card Linda Leier Thomason’s website is celebrating 1 year in business on the Internet.

Thank you for following, reading, sharing, commenting, letting me tell your stories, and allowing me do what I love each and every day.

Some of you I’ve known since childhood, others I met along the way, and some I only know online. However you came into my life, know you’ve enriched mine with your presence.

I’m grateful you’re here.

Wisconsin Sept 2015 inc Haley wedding 037I named my website and blog,Hauling Rocks from Prairie to Shore™for a very specific reason. I was reared on a North Dakota (ND) farm where hauling rocks improved crop efficiency. As the second oldest child in a family of 11, I was a rock hauler. I cleared land. Therefore, I use rocks as a symbol for barriers in life-things that challenge us and things we need to overcome to reach our full potential. I’ve also been fortunate enough to live on the prairie and on the shore. Eight states later, I’m back in the Midwest.

I have never believed I cannot achieve what I set out to do. I’ve always had the mindset that “I can!” I envision what I want, and go for it. That, quite simply, is my lifelong mantra. If I’m stuck in life, I own it and change it. Some see me as a restless gypsy. I see myself as a curious adventurer.

This whole website/blog thing has been a growth-filled adventure.

Here are my TOP 10 highlights of the past year:

Thank you for sharing this year with me.

  1. One month after getting on the Internet and creating a website and blog with no formal training, my family relocated to Omaha, NE where we lived in a hotel for 7 weeks while house searching. I created categories, posted articles and pretended I knew what I was doing. The technical aspects of this venture were stretching me.
  2. While living in the hotel and looking for a house, I enrolled in an on-line course to learn more about writing for the Internet. It required discipline to complete homework and pass tests. It’d been a long time since I was a student; I learned a whole lot.
  3. Bonnie Schantz was my first guest contributor. She wrote about her life as a mother and grandmother on their North Dakota farm. Readers responded favorably and since then many others have contributed their stories, with much acclaim.
  4. I found a website consultant 12 time zones away to reduce some of the many technical challenges I faced with a growing website.
  5. Courtney was my 1st niece to marry. Returning from Fargo ND, I published my 1st undercover piece. It earned nearly 500 Facebook shares. I understood readers like objective travel posts. I also became active on Twitter.
  6. Readers wanted to purchase my photographs; thus, Alex and his girlfriend, Brittany, created “Linda’s Store” allowing all to use my photography on a whole selection of products. Check it out on the above link.
  7. The Kearney, Nebraska Visitors Bureau and I cooperated on an undercover visit to their outstanding community. To date, it’s the most widely read page on my site. Thank you Kearney!
  8.  Alan Jackson and the Sioux City, IA Convention & Visitor’s Bureau deemed my website worthy of donating two concert tickets for me to give away to readers & followers. Thank you Alan Jackson & Sioux City!
  9. I am consistently humbled with the stories readers are willing to share and allow me to publish. There is a piece of me in each of these postings. Some days I literally weep at my desk while writing. I struggle to honor their journeys and to inform, educate and inspire all.
  10. welcome riccoWorking as a freelance writer is a tad lonely. I sit at my desk communicating online with people all day, but rarely in person. I visited a fabulous Marshall, Minnesota antique store when attending the 1st nephew’s wedding on April 2, 2016. I bought this monkey, since named, Rico. All joked he’s my new office companion. He is! Succeeding as a freelance writer and blogger takes not only discipline but also a sense of humor. I’m thankful I have that, and Rico-my mascot?

Talk to me.

Here’s your chance to tell me what you’ve liked & how to improve.

  •  What stories had the greatest impact on you?
  • What recipes have you tried?
  • What category of stories would you like to see more of?
  • Are you following my Facebook blogger page? It’s separate from my personal page. The blogger page is where I post photos and other life happenings. Have you subscribed to the website by leaving your email on the homepage? Occasionally, I’ll share “secrets,” but only with email subscribers.
  • I also post on Instagram and Twitter.

Let’s have another growth-filled 365 days. Let’s haul rocks together.

Leave your comments below, or feel free to message me on Facebook or send me an email.

I’ll respond.

 © Copyright. April 2016. Linda Leier Thomason

All Rights Reserved.



Police Wives Cry Too

officer down imagePolice Officer Jason Moszer died Thursday, February 11, 2016 after being shot while on duty. He started with the Fargo, North Dakota (ND) Police Department in November 2009, where he protected, served, and gave the ultimate sacrifice. His death is the first of a Fargo officer in more than 130 years. Sadly, he is one of 10 officers killed in the line of duty in the United States in the first month and a half of 2016.
Our sympathy and condolences to his family and fellow officers.

Jason’s family requests that donations in his memory be directed to Lifesource, 2225 West River Road North, Minneapolis, MN 55411.

At times like this our hearts, thoughts and prayers rightfully go out to all affected. But do you ever stop to think of police officer spouses and families on a daily basis? Do you wonder what their thoughts and fears are? Do you consider how they cope with the ever-changing culture of public servants? Maybe you should.

Two police wives-both married 30+ years and from the adjoining states of North and South Dakota-share their stories. Much gratitude to them, their officer spouses, and their respective families for decades of service and sacrifice.
To protect their identity and for their safety, they are referred to as Wife A and B.
Feel free to leave your words of appreciation and comments below.
Wife A
Early Days
I’ve been married to a law enforcement officer for 33 years. In 1982 he joined the Air Force and began his career as part of the Security Police. During his 10 years of service, he held multiple positions in different locales from Colorado Springs, Colorado to Turkey, where he secured a small base in Ankara. I remained stateside pregnant with our first child. During his 15 months in Turkey our first son was born and it literally took 6 months for him to meet his son through photographs-cell phones, video conferencing and texting didn’t exist then.
Family Threatened
August of 1985 we moved to Ellsworth Air Force Base (AFB), South Dakota. He had many changes at Ellsworth, as did our family. Our daughter was born. He was selected to work a special drug task force with OSI (Office of Special Investigation). Of course he was thrilled and I was apprehensive. Our son was 3 years old and our daughter was an infant. Much of the drug task force was undercover work so his appearance had to change-full beard, long hair. He certainly didn’t look military anymore. I think he was enjoying the uncivil look after spending several years in the Air Force. This was dangerous work and took him to the underworld of drug dealings on the Indian Reservations as well as motorcycle gangs. The hours were terrible. As you can imagine, it was not an 8-5 job. He continued this work for about 2 years until our family was threatened and he decided it was time to move on. Our next assignment took us to Hawaii. He spent about a year at Wheeler AFB as a Sergeant in charge of patrol units and then spent another year on Hickam AFB in the Investigation Unit, which would be similar to a detective in the civilian police departments. We left the Air Force in 1992 since our son passed away in 1991 and we made the decision to move closer to family.
Joined City Force
He started with a metropolitan police department in 1994, the same year our second son was born. Of course, being the new guy meant lousy hours and days off but by now we were used to it. Being a police officer means you sometimes give up family time and miss events like school concerts, sports, church with family, and birthdays and holidays. I’d done it for 10 years and learned to adjust to being alone, getting the kids to school/daycare, helping them with the homework, or maybe just trying to keep them quiet since dad was asleep during the day because he worked at night.
He has worked mostly patrol with a 5 year stint as a traffic investigator where he investigated hit and run accidents, serious and fatal crashes. This again meant call outs in the middle of the night and he itched to return to patrol. He’s been doing that ever since.
Changing Police Culture
Over the years there have been changes to police departments and to the public’s perception of them. New recruits are taught to be softer and kinder, which is a much different attitude from when my husband became a police officer. I remember when people had a healthy fear of the police, but they also respected the police. Sadly, I do not see that anymore. I also feel that getting a little too close or personal could put the officer at more risk. As a spouse, it makes me angry when I see people chant “death to the police” or spit on them, or when they are criticized for their actions. The general hatred for police is very disturbing and honestly, at times, keeps me awake at night. Police officers should be able to protect themselves without question. Now we have police officers being killed for hesitating and others being charged with murder. This makes no sense to me.
Worrying & Understanding
I learned early on that I couldn’t sit and worry while he was at work. We talk about the dangers of the job together as a family and we all understand the reality that something bad could happen. He has been hurt on the job, bit by humans (which included HIV testing) and dogs and while in the process of arresting a kid high on drugs almost lost his thumb in the ratchet of his handcuff. He was hit while in his police car by a drunk driver and now has a permanent back injury. Of course, there are many more bumps and bruises from fights and arrests. It upsets me even when I think of how some of the general public feels about our officers. They risk their life to protect us and this is how we treat them.
Time Numbs
Obviously, in this changing world, his safety is always on my mind. The sheer thought that police are targeted just because they are police officers makes me angry and hurt. Offenders and protesters have no idea what these officers go through each day and what they see. They have witnessed violence at the level some of us can’t even imagine- murders, rapes, suicides, mentally ill, and domestic abuse. They also might sit with any lonely, elderly person just to visit. The list is too long.
Overtime, I believe he’s become numb to the things he’s witnessed. Very little bothers him anymore. I believe if he became emotionally attached, the job would’ve eaten him up. Coping with the stress of the job becomes a family affair. He needs to be able to come home and talk about his days and, as a wife, I need to listen, even if it is unpleasant. Sharing his job with family helps all of us cope.
Children Affected
As the kids grew through different stages of their life, their attitude toward their dad’s job somewhat changed. In grade school they thought having a police officer as their dad was cool. In junior high and high school they were more appalled. He would always tell the kids, “I always know what you are doing.” They felt they couldn’t get away with anything. Now that they’re adults, they have more respect for their dad and for what he does. They understand the dangers; especially in today’s society, but they also know their dad is an experienced police officer and he is ready for all situations that arise. It gives me comfort and peace as well, knowing that even in a deadly situation he will always do the right thing. Our son has also considered a career in law enforcement. Advice from his veteran office dad is to get some real life experience first and then consider a law enforcement career. At 21, he’s much too immature for this very important community role.
Coping Skills & Friendships
Developing coping skills is an important part of being the spouse of a police officer. Friendships with other law enforcement families and spouses are important as these individuals know what we deal with on a daily basis. It is important to have the network.
Wife B
Educator to Officer
I married an educator 30 years ago who was offered a full time law enforcement officer job when teaching jobs were scarce. We were excited and naively never considered how dangerous the profession is. He soon loved his detention officer job; however, the shift work was a huge adjustment. We had a very active young son and together he and I had many outings to the park and zoo and visits to family members as my husband slept during the day so he could work safely at night.
Work opportunities came along and he became a patrol officer and earned various training certificates. Along with the change came more stress and fear for me. Will he get injured? Will he be safe? Will he be able to train new officers? Will the new officers be safe from his training?
Despite Variety, No Painless Law Enforcement Jobs
Thereafter, he was thrilled about an opportunity to join the dive rescue team. He loved the water and was excited to become a certified diver. All I could think of was that his job now entailed locating drowned individuals. Our sons loved the idea of him being on the dive rescue team and had to have their own snorkel and mask just like their dad. It certainly was not exciting for me to help him recover from the experience of finding a boy close to our son’s age. The drowning victim’s family was grateful that their son’s body was recovered but I was not grateful for having to help him deal with his own personal recovery.
It was exciting when he was offered a full time training officer opportunity. We were back to a Monday thru Friday schedule with an eight hour work day. Honestly, it was an adjustment for the boys and me to have their father around after 5pm and on weekends, but I had no more worrying about him taking calls in his patrol car.
I got to relax my fears and worries for a few years. Though he loved being a law enforcement instructor at a technical college, he missed the excitement and challenge of hands-on law enforcement. And now that our sons graduated and there was less activity in the household, once again, he was back on the road as a patrol officer.
We are older and hopefully wiser, but that does not make it easier to adjust to 12 hour shifts. We see how our city has grown and changed over the years; however, the changes became very real when he went back to being a patrol officer dealing with the activities that go on in the community. My worries, stress and fears greatly escalated as he began patrolling again.
As the grandchildren appear and the activities and events start up again, it’s not as easy to miss out on the special occasions. We are fortunate that another advancement opportunity appeared and he is back to Monday thru Friday with 8 hour a day.

Changing Times
Things have changed throughout my husband’s law enforcement career but a spouse’s worry for her husband and co-workers and their families never ends. I’ve had the stress of attending my husband’s co-worker’s funeral. Dealing with the reality that it could’ve been him never leaves my mind. As my husband starts his job as a supervisor in the detention center, my stress and worries don’t go away. They only change in the direction of inmates not cooperating.
Gory Details
When he came home from a long 12 hour shift, I would ask if it was busy and his usual response was, “No not really.” We rarely spoke details about the calls he answered. I really didn’t want to know the details as it would make me have to realize how dangerous his job really was. Sometimes I would overhear him talking to his friends about the exciting and interesting things (at least they thought they were) he had to deal with.
It’s not exciting to help him recover from finding a family that was murdered by their son. It’s not exciting to hear him toss and turn as he tries to sleep from a long day of stressful work. It’s not exciting to help him heal his sore body because of diving into a snow bank so he wasn’t run over by a car sliding on the ice.
Retirement Near, Can I Breathe?
It’s pretty clear that my husband’s law enforcement job won’t get less stressful; it seems to only increase as the years go on. My worries now come from seeing his aging body trying to make it through an 8 hour stressful day. It has me looking forward to his retirement. We deserve to enjoy some stress free years. I need to breathe.

All those in law enforcement deserve to breathe. Remember to thank those who serve and those who stand by them.

©Copyright. February 2016. Linda Leier Thomason

All Rights Reserved.

For more information and support log on to:

National Police Wives Association

Wives Behind the Badge

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Breast Cancer Survivor Pleads-Get Checked!

October: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

The 5-year relative survival rate is 100 percent when breast cancer is detected early in the localized stage (American Cancer Society). Please schedule your mammogram today.

(Guest Contributor- Deanne Leier)deanne

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I’m urging readers to schedule their mammogram and to encourage loved ones to do the same. For some it may be a matter of life and death. The earlier the cancer is found, the better the outcome.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 39. Doing a breast self-exam, I found something I questioned and at my scheduled mammogram, it was confirmed-I had breast cancer. Most people think age 39 is too young to receive a cancer diagnosis. However, in my family it appears that the magic number, or should I say the “unlucky” number, is age 39! My grandmother and mother were both 39 when they were diagnosed. Understanding my family history and being very diligent about having a yearly mammogram saved my life.

I cannot stress enough to all women out there-Let the month of October-Breast Cancer Awareness Month- be your reminder to schedule a mammogram, sooner rather than later. Some women may think it’s not worth the pain to get this done. From my experience I can share that the minimal pain from a mammogram is nothing compared to the surgery and 8 rounds of chemotherapy treatments that I had to endure. Minimal pain for peace of mind or immediate treatment is worth it. Schedule your mammogram today.

pink logoAll too familiar with breast cancer, 4 of us founded Pink It Forward. Two cousins and I have fought and beaten breast cancer and my daughter, Kayla, has witnessed it. We all have a passion for raising awareness and are dedicated to helping those in need. When we learn of someone fighting breast cancer, we assemble a care package and mail it, hoping it provides comfort during the fight. If you, or someone you know, is going through treatments, please visit and submit a request. We will take care of the rest from Fargo, North Dakota!

Wondering how these care packages and programs are funded? Pink It Forward currently receives funds via free-will donations, Pink It Forward merchandise sales and Pink It Forward sponsored events.

We are thankful to many communities that invite our organization in and allow us to share our mission. This has allowed Pink It Forward to visit with those who have received our packages and learn about their journeys.

Click Pink It Forward and then “Donate” to make a donation.

Thank you for scheduling your mammogram and encouraging others to do the same. Thank you for visiting our website and for supporting our work of caring for others with breast cancer.

If you’d like to leave a message for Deanne or her non-profit (501c3) organization, you may do so in the comment box below. Donations are accepted through their website.

Aging Parents: Six Daily Reminders

By guest contributor -Karen (Dutt) Horan.

“I’ve become a burden,” sighed my 87-year-old father Jack from his Fargo, North Dakota hospital bed. “You’re missing work and being with your family.” He was right. I’d missed 4 days of work, sitting beside him after he was airlifted from Bismarck. And my daughter and grandson, who’d flown to Bismarck for an extended weekend, were waiting for us to get back home. But Dad was wrong about being a burden. To our family Dad always has been a shining example of how to live one’s life.
He is one of those guys from the “greatest generation” who’s always been fiercely independent Uncle Jackand responsible. He spent his life being a good son, brother, husband, dad, grandpa and great-grandpa. He was the neighbor who minded his own business, but was always  there to help. He was a loyal employee, showing up every day and working hard to provide well for his family. He continues to work part-time for the local school system, managing sporting event parking lots and taking tickets at games because he loves the energy of the student athletes and spectators. He lives independently, drives, gardens, cleans, cooks, pays his bills and, until three weeks ago, avoided going to the doctor like the plague.
In an instant an episode of dizziness and a frantic phone call changed everything. It brought me face-to-face with a father depending on me for health care assistance and decisions.

Now we’re traveling a new road, balancing dignity with care. I know more about Dad’s health than he’s comfortable with. I’m trying to help him understand medical information, procedures, plans and options, while continuing to respect him as the man who raised me. Dad doesn’t feel the need to know his blood pressure is high, but I freak out because of my Mom’s history of strokes. Dad doesn’t want to hear the arterial bleed he has can cause him to bleed out or stroke out, but I need to remind him why he can’t lift or strain in any way. Dad doesn’t want to give himself shots in the stomach, so I do it and tease him that he fusses like a girl. I don’t want to remind and check up on whether or not he’s taken his medicine twice a day, but I can’t relax until I know it’s been done. He doesn’t want to call and report to me when he’s going somewhere, but I need to know he’s safe.

To navigate this new frontier with Dad, I’ve created a list of 6 reminders for myself.

These 6 Reminders Are:

  • Allow Dad to experience his life and comfortable routines. His current medical situation shouldn’t change his life any more than absolutely necessary.
  •  Slow down and process information and situations at Dad’s pace, not mine.
  •  Include Dad in all decisions. As an only child there is no one else to include. Even if there was, he should be included.
  •  Preserve Dad’s privacy and modesty in all situations.
  •  Reinforce who the patient is when medical personnel talk about Dad as if he isn’t present.
  •  Allow myself to be imperfect. Dad and Mom didn’t get everything right when they raised me and I’m not likely to get everything right in this matter with Dad’s health. Always keeping the love I have for him first, I know things will be all right.

May his soul rest in peace. (Deceased 12.17.18.)

Reis Girls July 2014 129 - CopyKaren (Dutt) Horan (Mike) is an energetic Bismarck, ND professional. She is the mother of two and grandmother of two, with another grandchild expected in 2015. She is the daughter of Jack and the former Teresa (Reis) Dutt. Karen is an avid reader who enjoys gardening and spending time on the Missouri River aboard her pontoon. The most  precious hours of her day are the ones she spends with her family. Karen has discovered that respect and love are the guiding forces for dealing with an aging parent’s health.

If you would like to be considered a guest blogger, contact me below.

If you have a message for Karen or her Dad, leave a comment below. Thanks!

Copyright. September 2015. Linda Leier Thomason

All Rights Reserved.