Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Lack of inhibitions

"Don't you laugh at my titties, 'cuz I ain't got none!"

My initial reaction to this was to reassure the resident that we would keep her covered while we changed her. But she was laughing, so maybe she was trying to be funny.

Amazing to me how they can just say the first thing that comes to their heads. No filter, at all. I'm not sure if I'm looking forward to that time of my life or not. Oh, how I would love to just let loose and say what I think. On the other hand, do they suffer from guilt knowing they've hurt another person's feelings? I don't need any more guilt, thank you very much.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I don't even know where to start

I think I might have PMS.

Assuming I make it to old age, I hope that my son lets me do what I want as long as I'm not endangering anyone else. So many of these kids want to control what their parents do. What is this? Revenge for when the kids were teenagers and their parents were trying to raise them right?

I have a resident whose daughter doesn't want her to smoke. I'm not allowed to take her out into the courtyard, because she might see someone smoking and want one. So yesterday, I take her outside out front and sit with her for 20 minutes, because I can't leave here there since it's not fenced in.

So, who drives up, but someone smoking a cigarette? Now she's thinking about wanting to smoke and I am probably going to get an earful from someone about it.

I say, let them smoke if they want to smoke. Jeez, at 85, don't you think they should be able to have a damn cigarette if they want one? Or a shot of whiskey? I'm not talking about anything illegal. I'm talking about enjoying what few years they have left.


Monday, June 23, 2008

Stories from other nurses

This is from the "you get as good as you give" file:

A CNA is in caring for a resident. Unfortunately, this resident is no longer able to communicate verbally, so does a lot of moaning. On this day, the resident is babbling so the CNA tells the charge nurse that the resident is "speaking in tongues". (Nice, huh?)

The CNA returns to the room to care for the resident and thinks they're going to be funny.

"Christ compels you," says the CNA.

The resident looks the CNA straight in the eye and says, "So, what?"

Scared the daylights out of the CNA. The only thing the CNA did right (in my opinion) was report the incident to the charge nurse.

This is another one of those things that was funny when I initially heard the story, but now that I've had time to think about it, it just seems stupid. On the other hand, I'll bet the resident's soul got some satisfaction from knowing that they got back at that CNA.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Stuff they don't teach you in school

Lessons learned:
  • Be kind to everyone. You don't know if you'll ever get another chance to talk to them.
  • Dementia makes every couple of minutes a new day for the sufferer.
  • Good health is a gift we should always be thankful for while we have it.
  • Beer works better than water for flushing out the beginnings of a bladder infection.
  • Sometimes, no matter how efficient you are, you still can't get it all done.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Pedicure Party and other stuff

So, at 9:30 last night, I'm sitting on a resident's bed painting her toenails. It took all of 10 minutes, but she sure got a charge out of it.

I cajoled another resident into doing what I wanted by invoking her daughter.

"My daughter gets on my nerves!" she said.

The other CNA in the room said, "We'll keep that between me and you, OK?"

I remember thinking that my parents were constantly trying to keep me down and not let me be me. I imagine that's how this woman feels now about her daughter. Funny how we get to a certain point in our development and then start to shift backwards.

It also never fails to amaze me how passing gas is so amusing. I guess if you can't control it, you might as well laugh at it.

My brain is all over the place today. I'll try reining it in tomorrow. Maybe.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

O2 Sat

I made use of the O2 sat machine last night. One of my residents was acting very out of character (trying to get out of her chair and talking to herself). She kept taking her cannula out, so I thought maybe she wasn't getting enough oxygen. After reporting to the charge nurse, I went and tested her.

99%. That was not the problem. And her blood sugar was fine, too.

Wanna know what it was? Double whammy: wild storms all around us and two days out from the full moon. I tried looking at it scientifically, but that obviously wasn't the right angle. We're coming up on the Solstice, too. Maybe it was a triple whammy.

Man, I can not wait to get to work tonight.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Yoga after work.

I've been (sporadically) doing a little yoga after work before going to bed:

I didn't do it last night. We had been short-staffed, I didn't even have time to take a lunch, and I was worn out. So, I just got in my jammies and went to bed.

Bad, bad idea.

This morning I feel like a bunch of rocks and nerve endings being jostled around in a leather bag.

Anyway, this is a nice, short little routine. Honestly, I don't do the last two moves. I don't have room to do the spine twist in my tiny little bedroom and the last time I did the corpse pose, I fell asleep on the floor. But, I believe it has helped me get up relatively pain-free on the mornings when I have done it the night before.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Your life can change in one second.

Yesterday afternoon I was called in to work on my day off. Two of our CNA's got in a wreck while driving in to work. Fortunately, the injuries were minimal and only one will miss a few days of work to recuperate an injured shoulder.

Now, everything changes, for them and us. They have to struggle around getting to and from work and we have to fill in the hole made by the absent employee.

Here's the ironic thing: They were broadsided by a woman who was elderly and (as admitted by her children) probably shouldn't be driving any longer. It would be even more ironic if she ended up staying with us.

Ultimately, it makes me think that there's no point in worrying about tomorrow. You only have this minute. Live in it. The previous minute is gone forever and you may not get to experience the next one.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

"Drinking, smoking, thinking...

trying to free my mind." Wasting Time, Kid Rock

Based on my limited experience, folks in health care seem to do more than their share of drinking and smoking. Of the CNA's that I regularly work with, I'm the only one who doesn't smoke. And drinking stories abound, especially after payday.

It is a stressful job, no doubt about it. The chance for physical injury is far higher than it would be if we worked sitting behind a desk. (Unless you call getting fat and out of shape a physical injury.) Like any "customer service" job, you have to take flak from both the customers and the bosses. But the ratio of smokers to non smokers in the rest of the world is not 7:1 like it is amongst my peers.

I'm not holding myself above the rest. I do my share of drinking. It just seems to me that if our job is caring for people, we ought to care for ourselves. While someone will replace us if we can't work anymore because we've smoked and drank ourselves into oblivion, the level of care diminishes while the newbies get their feet wet.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Bizarro Day

It was not a full moon last night, but you'd have thought it was if you'd worked with me.


We had snarly cat fights between bed-ridden roommates, residents, who wouldn't say "shit" if they had a mouthful, dropping f-bombs and people asking for pain medication all over the place.

When it gets like that, it makes me wonder if they put something in the water. Or maybe the solution would be to put something in the water.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Words to live by

Speak only if it improves upon the silence.

Before saying anything, consider this: Is it kind? Is it necessary? Is it true?

I'm paraphrasing, because I can't remember the exact quotes, but the first is attributed to Gandhi, the second to the first Buddha.

Is it necessary to tell a person they they are on the "Do Not Rehire" list? Is it necessary to discuss how much money you make? Is it necessary to talk about bonuses that you choose to give one shift over another?

When we communicate, it should be with the intent to help and inform. The paragraph above lists things that do not need to be communicated. While they may be informative, they're certainly not helpful.

Here's a couple more words to live by:

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Jesus
"Harm none." from the Wiccan Rede.

Actually, that last one covers it all.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Health Advice for Nursing-Type Folks

It amazes me that there is almost no information on the Web about healthy living for nursing-type folks. I'd love to see information about how to eat during a shift without resorting to the pop and candy machine. I'd like a list of herbal supplements that help with energy and immune system issues. I'd like to see suggested exercises that offset the bending and lifting we do. Funny how there's nothing out there about how the person in health care can care for their own health.

I guess all this stuff is really common sense. I could do the research myself if I broke it down into smaller subjects (eating when there's no time to sit down, herbals supplements for energy and immune function, exercises to offset bending and lifting), but I think it'd be nice to see it all in one place.

Maybe I'll start collecting information and do an occasional post that has real information. You know, just to offset the posts about farting and other lovely body functions.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Oh, What a Night!

Wow. That's all I can really say. I never sat down once last night. There were tornado watches and no electricity for the last 4 hours of my shift. What a nightmare. Everything takes twice as long when you're working by flashlight. I couldn't even punch out last night. Rumor was that there were 30 power lines down in the area. Everyone had their hands full dealing with Mother Nature.

I hope all is back to normal today.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Hey Doctors! Pay attention to real life.

Without an "order" we can't even give a patient a cough drop. You'd be stunned and amazed at how many residents catch a cold who can't get any relief because there's not an order for cold medication.


There's one making the rounds at the nursing home now. I've got it, several residents have it and the staff is passing it around, too. All orders for nursing home residents should include medication that can be taken in case of: head/chest colds, nausea/vomiting, indigestion, diarrhea and constipation. Sometimes, a couple doses of cough medicine is all a person needs to get through a cold. It shouldn't require a call or a trip to the doctor to get something that they could pick up at Wal-Mart if they were able to go themselves.

I hope when I get old, I have a doctor with a little foresight. I also hope my doctor will prescribe Jack Daniels when I need it. We have some residents with an order for medicinal alcohol. I need to find out who their physicians are. Someday, this could become very important.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


I hate that word. I don't mind being the float aide, because it means I get to help everyone, not just one set of folks. I like having my finger in all the pies. However, it also brings to mind gassy poop and I just don't want to be associated with that visual, thanks.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

On staying healthy... or not.

On a busy day, I'll bet I clean my hands 5-10 times an hour. Either by washing with soap and water or using hand sanitizer. The other two things I need to do to keep from catching colds from my residents (and yes, I have one now) are to stop breathing and stop touching my face.

Since breathing is necessary if I'm going to continue to help folks today, I need to learn not to touch my face. I worked with a girl years and years ago who said that she stopped touching her face and her complexion cleared up and she thought it had been a couple years since she'd had a cold. Sounds wonderful, but we touch our faces all the time. To rub our eyes or noses, to cover a cough or sneeze (actually, I use the crook of my arm for this now, but still) to cover a yawn, to rub a headache. And every time we do it, we expose ourselves to other people's little nasties.

I have tried to stop touching my face. I truly have. But usually by the time I realize what I'm doing, I'm in mid-rub. And then, it's too late, so I might as well just keep doing it, right?

Yeah, right. That's the same logic that gets us in trouble with food, alcohol and other things that are not good for us.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Down with a migraine...

... I expect to be back at it tomorrow.