Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"Smell the poot?"

I hope I never stop being amused and amazed by the words that come out of my resident's mouths.

Last night while I was cleaning up a resident, they broke wind. Now, I rarely if ever comment on this. Burps, yes; farts, no. But the resident asked me, "Smell the poot?" and I had to laugh.

Some people say we become more like children as we age. I'm not sure we ever really grow up.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Money for services rendered

My work involves many nasty little jobs that the average person would not want to be around for, much less actually do. Cleaning up urine, feces and vomit grosses most people out and it's embarrassing for the resident, too. However, I am getting paid and hourly wage to do it. I do it every day that I am on shift. Why residents offer me "tips" is beyond me. And I have one resident who won't take no for an answer.

So, my solution has been to inform this resident's family what's going on, advise my charge nurse and just take the money. Then, I put it back while the resident's in the bathroom or dining room or I hand it over to a family member if they come in that day. I don't have time to argue and if I don't take it, the resident is on the call-light every ten minutes until I do.

I have discovered that there's no explaining to some folks that I do this because I love it. I can guarantee you it's not about the money. If I wanted to make more money, the Flying J is hiring at $10.00 an hour and probably offering overtime at time and a half. When my resident's are warm, dry, comfortable and satisfied, it's worth a winning lottery ticket to me. Payment enough.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ten in a row

This has been a wild month. I'm just past the middle of working ten days in a row. By the end of the month, between those 7 days of classes (eight hours a day) and work, I will have worked twenty-seven of the 31 days. One of my days off this month will be the thirty-first.

I'm not really complaining. The money has been helpful and that class will allow me to become a CMA come September, but I am tired and I think the early migraine this month is due to me pushing it too hard.

Next month, I'm not applying for any extra shifts. They'll have to call me in to get me to work. Fortunately, most of the extra shifts are on 6-2 and I can't work that shift without some serious finagling of my life and the purchase of a second vehicle. What I might be able to do is go in a couple hours early to help get folks back from lunch and settled for the afternoon. Frankly, it would work to my advantage because I'd know that everyone was clean and dry at the start of my shift.

Friday, July 25, 2008

O/T: Down with a migraine.

This one started yesterday morning. Next post from me may not be until Sunday or Monday.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Meeeeeeoooooow! Fffffft! Fffffffft!

Oh, Jealousy. That green-eyed monster will make a fool out of you every time.

"So, when was the last time you had two women fighting over you?" I had to ask. He just shrugged and said that they were both his friends and he didn't know why they were fighting.

Contrary to most of my experiences, this is funnier this morning than it was last night when it happened. Ever seen two senior citizen women bowing up at each other? It's a sight not to be missed.

We separated them before either one of them hurt themselves and got the "prize" back to his room without further incident.

I am never, ever bored at work. Tired, frustrated, hungry, but never bored.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

What's in your pockets...

...besides lint, anyway?

I carry:
  • A roll of little trash bags that I use for relining the resident's trash cans as well as carrying dirty clothes to the soiled linen room.
  • Hand sanitizer that I try to remember to use every time I leave a resident's room.
  • Notepad, pens (three or four).
  • Wallet.
  • Stuff to take care of me (any meds I might need, "feminine products", etc.")

This does not begin to fill all the pockets I have, surprisingly. I usually have one or two pockets that don't have anything in them at all. Except lint.

You can't tie 'em down.

Well, I could restrain them with all the little trash bags I carry in my pocket, but it wouldn't be socially acceptable.

What do you do with a demented, non-compliant resident? They're not supposed to lie on their back for any length of time, not supposed to try to walk on their own and yet I can't get them to lie on their side or stay in bed until they call me. They have an alarm, but by the time I get down the hall, they're off.

I'm pretty sure I'm working in a Nursing Center and not a prison, but sometimes it's hard not to feel like I'm their jailer.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

"I just got a sideshow!"

We are decidedly feeling the effects of a full moon. Last night one of the residents thought it would be a good idea to walk down the hallway without any pants. At the time, I was in the room across the hall helping one of the other residents get ready for bed. I heard the flasher's door open and I knew what was probably going to happen, but I was in the middle of a transfer and it was not possible to leave the room.

I had two residents comment on it. One was a resident known for letting it all hang out. (The pot calling the kettle black, as it were.) The other resident had just gotten back from church. Living in a nursing center, you'd think that nothing would surprise them, but apparently this was an amazing event. What could I say? I apologized and explained that the flasher was confused.

I used to say that when I got old, I hoped my mind went before my body. I have decidedly changed my mind.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Remembering what to blog about

I'm going to have to start taking notes at work. Yesterday, on two different occasions I thought, "I need to put that in my blog."

Today, I can't think of what either situation was. Not even a guess.

Well, whatever they were, both were funny and added enjoyment to my day. I'm sorry I can't remember what they were to tell you so you could enjoy them, too.

On a separate note, tonight should be fun. The weather is edgy and we're dealing with the effect of the full-moon, too. I'd better bring a notebook so I can share.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Eating at work

My grandma was an RN. Her rule was: when you're at work, eat dessert first. Then, if you only have time to eat one thing off your plate, it's the thing with the most calories. She taught me this when I was about seven years old as we sat eating lunch at Andy's diner.

It seems funny to me that now that advice is still true and we haven't gotten any better staffed as an industry in all those years.

But anyway, I thought of this because last night I ate half my dinner while standing up and watching the clock. I think I downed it in less than 3 minutes. The other half of my dinner went back to the kitchen. Dessert was cookies and they were dipped in my Arnie Palmer and inhaled first. Then I ate the bread and chicken tenders and ran my tray to the dining room.

I wonder how many meals my grandma ate the same way as I ate mine last night?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Rambling, random thoughts

Oh, I got bunches 'o stuff on my mind tonight. Are you ready?

I am taking a class to get my CMA (Certified Medication Aide) license this week and the beginning of next week. I can't take my test until August 27, but the class will be out of the way.

So, since I love being a CNA so much, why am I going for my CMA?

Two reasons:
First, we need CMA's on my shift. So, I am filling a need.
Second, I am concerned that at the ripe old age of 40, my body may not be able to take the stress of being a CNA for very long. I don't want to get hurt so that I'm no use to anyone.

At my facility, the CMA's and LPN's are not afraid to do CNA work. I will still be able to help my residents, but I won't have to subject myself to the constant lifting. I think in the long run this will be best for me.

New subject. Sexual harassment.

One of our male CNA's was subjected to an almost hickey from an 89 year old woman last week. I'm not sure if I'm horrified or amused. I don't think he's sure either. One of our other male CNA's has been subjected to invitations to the bed of one of our severely demented residents. Apparently, he gets gibed about it all the time. I don't know if either one of them feels harassed or not but when I heard the stories (one from the horse's mouth, the other through the grapevine) I had to laugh. I, fortunately, work mostly with the ladies, and so far none of them has shown lesbian tendencies, so I'm all good.

New subject, again. Where do I go from here?

I am contracted to the nursing center until March of next year since they are paying for my CMA classes and tests. Currently, the plan is to work there for at least 4 more years. After that, I may consider getting my RMA (Registered Medical Assistant). This would allow me to work in a doctor's office. Half the coursework is medical, including phlebotomy (I vant to suck your blood), and half is billing and other computer work. At this point, I don't have any interest in being an LPN. I don't want to be in charge of anything. I've been in management and I don't like it. I just want to work and make suggestions for improvements.

One more subject, off topic. The weather this year.

Usually by this time, Oklahoma has gone from green to gold. Normally, we are very dry from May to October. Spring and Fall are our big growing seasons with a fair amount of rain. Winter and Summer are dry and dormant. Not this year. We've had rain at least every 10 days and it is as green as green can be out here. Unfortunately, this is encouraging the fleas and ticks also and my dogs are not happy. I will be buying some more flea/tick drops this weekend. We just did them three weeks ago, but they are scratching again and I am picking fleas off of me on a regular basis.

That's where I'm at. Where are you?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Short-handed is as short-handed does.

There's a very large difference between being short-handed with a crew that works well together and being short-handed with a crew that doesn't. If you're short-handed with a good bunch, things are tough, but you make it through without too many scratches. Working with folks who can't even be civil, much less work together, makes everyone, workers and residents alike, suffer more than necessary.

I say, why not just pitch in and go the extra mile? Someday it might be your fault that the crew is short. We'll forgive you more if you actually make your presence felt in a positive way on the days you do show up.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

I hesitated for a moment...

... and then I said it anyway. I imagine I'll hear about my inappropriate choice of words today, but last night it was definitely the right thing to say.

I was doing rounds last night and settling folks down for sleep. One of my residents, who occasionally uses salty language, needed a full bed change due to spilled juice. They usually do, so this was no change from normal and I had already brought the clean linen with me. However, tonight they had also been incontinent of both urine and feces. When they realized it, they were very upset and proceeded to swear. I reassured them and proceeded to get them all cleaned up.

As I was gathering up the dirty linen bag and swapping out the trash bags, the resident said, "Ugh! There's a fly!"

As I shooed it away, I really did think about what I was about to say. I know the resident in the other bed could hear me, but I thought the one I was working on needed a little levity.

"Rude son of a bitch," I said.

"Yeah!" my resident said and started laughing.

Should I have said it? Nope. But I'm glad I did.

Friday, July 4, 2008

How quickly things change

I know that 48 hours can be long or short depending on what you're doing during that time. But, honestly, after 2 days off of work, I am amazed at how many things have changed. New admits, folks who have gone to the hospital or gone home, folks who have gone from sick to well or vice versa, folks who have passed on.

The essentials never change: still have to get them to and from meals, give baths and put folks to bed at the end of the night. But the dynamic of my nights change depending on who's there and how they're feeling. I may get baths done earlier if I don't have to spend 20 minutes convincing Ms. Ma'am that she needs a shower or it may take all night to get through 5 residents vital signs if I am taking care of someone who needs to go to the bathroom every 15 minutes. It's all about being flexible and not getting upset with myself if I don't get it all done.

Never a dull moment.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Unplanned hiatus


There are many things I enjoy about living in a rural setting. The amount of time it takes to get anything accomplished is not one of them.

Two and a half weeks ago we started having trouble with our Internet. We called the place who services our connection and was told he would "be out in the morning". Two weeks later, we called to find out where he was. He comes out, looks at it, says we need a new whatsit and that he'll "be right back". Two days later, we tracked him down and got a string of excuses including that the tower we feed off of suffered a lightning strike.

It's up today, but it's slow. I didn't see him come out, so I don't know if this is a result of him fixing it or if it's a fluke.

In any event, sorry about the hiatus. I'll be back on schedule tomorrow or the next day.