Thursday, January 29, 2009

"I don't know if I can sleep in there."

We had a resident pass away in their room recently. For the first couple nights after the death, the resident's roommate was fine. Then they told me they were worried about sleeping in the room.

I agreed with them that it was a little strange knowing that someone had died in their room. I didn't really know what else to do besides sympathize. Honestly, I found it kind of odd since all of our residents are Christians and I didn't think they worried about these kinds of things. I mean, don't they believe that the person is "with Jesus" and therefore can't bother them?

Frankly, we should have moved the sick resident to the Hospice Room when we knew they were going to pass. That would have alleviated the problem altogether. Still, I wonder what I could have said to make the roommate feel better.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

O/T Four Dog Night

Brad is out of town for his birthday. Our bedroom is on the north side of the house. Now, we've had a really mild winter so far. A couple cold days followed by four or five warm days. (This is Oklahoma, though, so what I call winter doesn't generally start until January and it ends on March first. Everything else is spring or fall until it's summer which lasts from April through most of October.)

Anyway, the wind switched yesterday and by the time I got home, the wind chill was 11 and it felt like it was about 45 degrees in my bedroom, even with the heater on. So, I took ALL the blankets (6 total) and piled them on me. That's about when the canines started wandering in. By the time I woke up this morning, I was toasty and had three boxers and a doolah on the bed with me. They must have liked it, because after the morning potty break, they all went back to the bed.

From the weather reports, it looks like winter is finally officially here. No more 65 degree days to spoil us. We may even get an ice storm on Monday depending on how feisty Mother Nature is feeling. And then some rain later in the week. We need the precipitation since it's been pretty dry this year. I'm sure the farmers growing winter wheat are stressing about the lack of moisture. Hopefully we'll get enough rain this week to give their crops a boost.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Time for a time out.

We've had an influx of residents recently. One of them calls out for their family and cries at the drop of a hat. And they won't always take the dozen pills or so that they've been prescribed three times a day, plus PRN's. It doesn't matter to them that the pills might make them feel calmer and more comfortable, they just say no as a matter of course.

This resident is at the end of my med pass on that hall. During my entire pass, I could hear them "Joe... Donna...Joe...Joe...Donna." I'm surprised that they're not hoarse by the end of the day. My brain was grated raw by the time I got to their room. I went looking for my charge nurse so I could add some Tylenol to their bedtime cocktail. When I couldn't find the charge, I went outside and took a break. It's one thing to get frustrated with my coworkers. It's another thing to get frustrated with my residents.

When I went back in and found my charge nurse and got permission for the Tylenol, I felt calmer and my resident took their meds with almost no argument. I guarantee it wouldn't have gone so smoothly if I'd have gone in with raw nerves standing out all over. I'm glad I put myself in time out first.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Paying it forward.

It doesn't matter what your job is, where you live or what your name is, ultimately every action you take affects your future and ripples out to the futures of those around you.

When we're working with the residents, our attitudes need to be kind, respectful and helpful. Not only because they deserve it. (After all, they've lost everything, all they have is our kindness, respect and help.) But because we're all just a car crash away from laying in one of those beds ourselves.

From Christianity:
"Do onto others as you would wish them do onto you."

From the Baha'i Faith:
"Ascribe not to any soul that which thou wouldst not have ascribed to thee, and say not that which thou doest not." "Blessed is he who preferreth his brother before himself." Baha'u'llah

From Buddhism:
Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful." Udana-Varga 5:18

From Hinduism:
This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you. Mahabharata 5:1517

From Islam:
None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself." Number 13 of Imam "Al-Nawawi's Forty Hadiths."

From Judaism:
"What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man. This is the law: all the rest is commentary." Talmud, Shabbat 31a.

From Native American Spirituality:
"All things are our relatives; what we do to everything, we do to ourselves. All is really One." Black Elk

From Wicca:
"An it harm no one, do what thou wilt"

There's a reason that all the world's religions have a "Golden Rule". (There's obviously more religions than listed here. I pulled these from if you want to read more.) It's because we're all just paying it forward.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

"We must all hang together...

...or most assuredly we shall all hang separately." Ben Franklin

Teamwork is crucial in a Nursing Center. If there's strife among the crew, it adversely affects the resident's. They don't get the care they deserve and they're upset because we're upset.

We should always make the residents number one. If we remember that our wants are secondary, then we'll keep our frustrations to ourselves and do our jobs to the best of our abilities and beyond. The residents deserve no less.

On the other hand, if we choose to fight against one another and management, we may find ourselves out of a job. Or worse, trying to work with frustrated residents who are fighting against us. Either way, life is more difficult all around.

Personally, I prefer hanging with a group to being hung out to dry.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

There's more to it than that.

So, it's not just the full moon and the wild weather that makes people more demented than usual. Last night we had several folks request their "nerve pills". We had folks refusing their meds that they normally take. I had one woman standing out in the hallway in her brassiere. I don't know what the deal was, but I was glad to get home.

Senior citizens are a lot like children under the age of six. They are more sensitive to the world around them than I am. I'm so busy thinking of what I have to do next and next and next that I don't sense the little changes in atmosphere that they do. And I don't just mean weather and the position of the planets. Even the combination of staff working during a shift can make a difference in the resident's moods. If the crew is working well together, it seems to keep the residents calm and more pain free.

I imagine there are other factors that contribute to a wild night. It's a bummer that we can't just look up the weather and moon phase for an indication of what the shift will be like.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Yeah, it really can happen that fast.

Yesterday at supper time we sent a resident to the ER for ridiculously high blood sugar. I had given the resident their normal evening medications at around five pm. This resident suffers from dementia, so they seemed "normal" to me. For a change, they didn't try to chew their pills and I considered this a good thing.

When we got the call from the hospital, the resident "may have had a heart attack and a stroke" and were being admitted. Yeah, it really can happen that fast and without any real warning. The high blood sugar was telling us something was out of whack, but no one thought it was pointing to a stroke and heart-attack.

The resident is in the "old-old" age group and has not been with us for very long. Assuming that until they moved into the facility, they had been living a relatively healthy life (and I would say this is the case based on the relatively small amount of medication they are on), this is the way to go. When you start to go downhill, take the extra slippery slope so you don't spend years and years being miserable before you cross over.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It's not about YOU.

Reasons NOT to become a CNA
  • You want to make a lot of money.
  • You think the world should revolve around your wants and needs.
  • You need constant reassurance that you're "the best".
  • You expect to get your full breaks and lunches when you want them.
  • You think every management decision should be to your advantage.

Being a CNA is about the residents. It's not about you. If you're not willing to put the residents above yourself, please go find another job where you can be the center of attention. If you can find one.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

This 'n that

Well, I've already managed to upset one of my coworkers because of my Frankenstein Finger. I asked to be left on the med cart instead of working the floor. In the 10 months I've been there, I've never asked for a specific assignment. I've always worked wherever they've put me, sometimes switching multiple times or floating during my shift. Yet, somehow I'm the bad guy and I was asked if I went to the doctor. If they ask me again, I'm just going to rip off the bandage and show it to them. I ended up helping lift some of the resident's anyway and had to put a third layer of bandages on so I wouldn't become a walking bio hazard.


On another front, I was given information and asked specifically to keep it quiet. So, I did. Two days ago, another aide comes up to me and said, "I heard so and so is changing shifts."

"Really?" I asked, playing dumb.

"Yep. That's what JoJo the idiot circus boy told me."

"Well, we need better help on that shift anyway. It might be a good thing." I said.

If it's a secret, how come people who shouldn't know about it are filling me in?


Resident comment:

"Well, with those ear bobs he wears, it's not a girlfriend you should be looking for, it's a boyfriend."

"Really?" (I say "really?" a whole, whole lot. It allows me to agree to disagree without offending anyone.)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What's best

Shouldn't the goal always be what's best for the resident?

One of our aide's yesterday suggested to a resident's daughter that a Wound Center in the city might be able to help her parent. But she told the daughter not to say anything to the management at our Nursing Center because she "might get in trouble".

I'd like to think that we're above all that. The primary goal should be to get the resident's well that can get well and comfort the ones that can't.

This wasn't a case where the aide told the daughter to take her parent away and never bring them back. Just a suggestion on where they could go for more specific help for their particular problem.

I am starting to think some of my co-workers are paranoid. I speak my mind. If that gets me fired, so be it.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Working injured

In the epitome of stupidity, I slammed the middle finger on my right hand in the car door last night. I'm going to lose the nail and every time I move, the darn thing starts to bleed again.

So, I'll be working injured for a while.

I'm hoping to be scheduled on the med cart until I'm healed. If so, I'll be fine, but slow. If not, I've got some negotiating to do.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Pie in the Sky

At full capacity, I think our Nursing Center can hold around ninety residents. Two days ago, I actually heard this come out of our DON's mouth.

"I'd like to have 4 CNA's on 3, 4 CNA's on 4, and 2 CNA's on 2, 3 CMA's and 3 Nurses per shift."

Wow. We'd have the happiest resident's in the state with that amount of help. And no excuses about why something didn't get done or someone didn't get the care they needed or wanted.

If that's the goal, I'm for it. The real issue is attracting employees. What we need to do, is find out when career day is at the high schools and start talking up our jobs. Surely there are kids out there who want to do the kind of work we do. Granted, it's not a job that will make you rich, but it does give you a lot of joy and personal satisfaction. It's all about what's important to you.

Well, there's the pie in the sky. I wonder if we'll ever get a taste of it.