Thursday, August 26, 2010

That's how I want to go.

One of my ladies lost a friend this week. She showed me the memorial from the woman's funeral.

The lady was 95 years old. She had lost her only child when it was a baby and her husband passed away in 1970-something.

Since then she has worked and also been an active member in her church and the community.

One of the things she liked to do was play piano. She would volunteer to play for the "old folks at the nursing home" as she liked to call them.

She was seated at the piano and had raised her hands to play when she passed away.

Traumatic for the people around her, but what a gift for her.

I hope when my time comes, I'm doing something I love to do so my last memory will be a good one.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sometimes I forget... keep my opinions to myself.

Politics is not something I usually discuss. At all. My knowledge of what is going on in the world is pretty much limited to whatever is blaring over the screens on my resident's televisions and whatever headlines I see on the 'net when I don't get where I want to go fast enough.

Frankly, I'm happy this way.

But the hullabaloo over the Mosque at Ground Zero isn't something I could miss. Everyone from Fox News to Trinity Broadcasting Network had something to say about it.

Personally, I don't care. They can worship wherever they want to as long as they're not hurting themselves or anyone else while doing it.

I made the mistake of saying this in front of a resident's family. A bunch of opinionated Baptists at that, who only watch Fox News and Trinity Broadcasting Network.

Whoops. Won't do that again. I got an earful.

I backpedaled out of it saying I didn't really know what's going on because I didn't watch the news.

Whatever. I still don't care. My primary objective is to take care of their family member to the best of my ability. Nothing else really matters. As long as Mrs. A is comfortable, clean and as healthy as she can be, the rest is just dust in the wind.

Still, I'll be chewing the life out of my tongue the next time something incendiary makes its way to every television station on the planet.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Alzheimer's Patient's Bill of Rights

I found this today on Nursing Assistants dot net (I have a link to them under my "Good Stuff" column.)

Alzheimer's Disease Bill of Rights
  • To be informed of one's diagnosis.
  • To have appropriate, ongoing medical care.
  • To be productive in work and play as long as possible.
  • To be treated like an adult, not a child.
  • To have expressed feelings taken seriously.
  • To be free from psychotropic medications if at all possible.
  • To live in a safe, structured, and predictable environment.
  • To enjoy meaningful activities to fill each day.
  • To be out of doors on a regular basis.
  • To have physical contact, including hugging, caressing, and hand holding.
  • To be with persons who know one's life story, including cultural and religious traditions.
  • To be cared for by persons well trained in dementia care.

Source: "The Best Friends Approach to Alzheimer's Care", Virginia Bell and David Troxel, Health Profession Press, 1997

I'll be looking for this book at my library. If I really like it, I'll buy myself a copy.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

New Acronym: DN

We have a few hot headed residents right now. Some are long term care, some are just in for physical therapy so we can get them on their feet and back to their regularly scheduled lives. In any event, we now have a new acronym: DN. That's "Damn Nurse" to you. As in, "I want to see the Damn Nurse". I'm not sure where that falls in the hierarchy of LPN and RN, but it's definitely in there somewhere.

I think it's kind of like a choice between being the windshield or the bug. Sometimes you get to be the Nurse, sometimes you get to be the Damn Nurse. Sometimes neither one is a good choice.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


So, aside from the high I get from making the Ladies and Gents happy (I was told that I give one man a "warm fuzzy feeling" just by being in the building) the other thing I love about this job is that I get to learn new stuff every day.

When Mr. A told me he had RSD, I thought it was something he had made up. (He calls his Dilaudid "Bin Laden". Which may be an apt name, for all I know.) When I looked it up online, however, I found out that it is a real thing. And it's a doozy.

Here's a link to the website:

Symptoms are:
  • Severe burning pain
  • Pathological changes in bone and skin
  • Excessive sweating
  • Tissue swelling
  • Extreme sensitivity to touch

Here are three more things from the website that I found interesting:

  • It is a chronic pain syndrome characterized by severe and relentless pain that affects between 200,000 and 1.2 million Americans. (To me this means there are a LOT of undiagnosed cases out there.)
  • This is not a psychological syndrome, but people may develop psychological problems when physicians, family, friends and coworkers do not believe their complaints of pain. (If everyone tells me I'm crazy, then I must really be crazy, right?)
  • Minor injuries, such as a sprain or fall are frequent causes. One characteristic of the disease is that the pain is much worse than expected for the type of injury that occurred. (When we have our "Pain Management" inservice, we always talk about how "pain is what the resident says it is". Yet I often hear "I just gave them a Lortab 10 an hour ago. They can't be hurting.")

Just because we haven't heard of it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Just because the resident is confused about some things, doesn't mean the resident is confused about everything. I'm glad I took the time to look it up. It makes me more effective when working with Mr. A and makes him more comfortable when I'm on shift.