Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pain and the Weather

I always have to have a reason for everything. If my ladies are hurting, I want to figure out why. A lot of times I blame it on the weather, since the humidity and barometric pressure and all that seem to have an effect on our bodies.

For a couple of weeks during the summer, I looked at the Aches and Pains Index on to see if their chart coincided with my distribution of pain pills.


They had the index at 3 or 4 (which is low) on all the days I felt like I was going to exhaust my supplies of Lortab.

That said, one of my ladies always starts hurting about two days out from bad weather. In the two years I've been giving her meds, she's the only one who's been completely consistent. Once the storm is breaking, she's doing really well.

My own experience is much like hers. If I'm going to get a migraine, it's more likely to happen when the weather is getting ready to change than during bad weather. Sunny, windy days about two days out from a storm will do me in almost every time.

In any case, I'm thinking that I can't be blaming the weather any more. Now, when they're hurting, I tell them, "Does it help to know you're not alone? Everyone's hurting or upset today." Usually the answer is "no". But it does give us something to talk about.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Pure Meanness

We have a Doctor that addresses one of his patients as "Meanness". As in, "Hello, Meanness, how are you today?"

I've said before that the meaner they are, the better I like them. Why I get so much joy out of the nasty things they say, I don't know, but I do.

Case in point: We have a family member that is very obviously going through her mid-life crisis. She's had her eyes "done" and has changed her make up and has dyed her hair. I don't work with her dad much as I usually have the other side of the nursing center, but she's there several times a week, so I know who she is.

The other day, Meanness was chatting with her about something and then looked her straight in the eye and asked, "Is that your real hair?"


Wednesday, September 15, 2010


How many times have you heard this conversation or something like it?

"Mrs. A's family says blah, blah, blah."

"Pfft. What do they know? They never come to see her anyway."

I think sometimes we get possessive of our residents. We spend forty or more hours a week with them, so we think that we are closer to them than their families are. In some cases, this might be true, but I think that for the most part, the resident's families really care about them and do know more about them than we do. Whether they have time to come and see their mom or dad in the nursing home is another story.

On the other side of the coin, I think the families sometimes are in denial about the person their loved one has become. Living in a nursing home requires a whole new set of coping mechanisms and developing them tends to change people. The changes are not necessarily for the better. Folks don't want to think of their mom or dad becoming cantankerous when they used to be kind or reclusive when they used to be outgoing, but it happens. Sometimes they are very shocked and upset with us when they do see the changes. And then we get bent out of shape when they comment on what they see.

Communication is key. If the family cannot come to see the resident, keeping them apprised of the resident's condition is more important than ever. I'm not sure that my facility does a very good job of this. I wonder if there are any out there that do.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Funny Stuff

So, I was going through some old writing stuff the other day and I found a sheet of paper where I had written some resident quotes down that had cracked me up.


"Mrs. A! you have to open your eyes so I can put your eye drops in!" (Mrs. A is stone deaf and doesn't wear her hearing aids, so I have to yell in her ear.)

"Well," she said, "I thought, 'these aren't working very well'."


"I'll take these pills and they'll take away my aches and pains so I can go to sleep," Mrs. B said, holding up the Tylenol I had just given her.

"I'll take some pills and they'll take away my aches and pains so I can get some more aches and pains," said her roommate, Mrs. C.


As I was trying to get Mrs. D to wake up enough to let me take her blood pressure, Mrs. E asked "So, do you like working with people like her or is it easier when they have a little life in them?"

Sunday, September 5, 2010

It's that time of year again

So, let's talk about how to stay healthy when everyone around you is getting sick.

**Wash your hands. I know this is a no-brainer, but the more you wash your hands, the less times you'll get sick this cold and flu season. I prefer alcohol gel, myself. I guess in Oklahoma they want you to wash your hands after every six times you use alcohol gel. Right. My rule is that if I have to go into the dirty linen room, I wash my hands. If not, it's gel all the way. Some nights, the highest I can count is three. (As in: "Alright. We're going to stand up now. One, two, three!")

**Don't touch your face. Hard, hard, hard to do. But if you get a pathogen on your hands, you're less likely to get sick if you don't transfer it to your eyes, nose or mouth.

**If your facility offers flu shots, take them unless there's a reason you can't do so.

**If you're vomiting, have diarrhea or a temperature over 100, stay home so you don't share your happiness with everyone in the facility. If you have a runny nose, sore throat and feel generally crappy, GO TO WORK. Your residents need you and you were contagious twenty-four hours before you even felt sick, so you've already shared your fun. Might as well go in and enjoy it with everyone else.

**Get enough rest. Also hard to do. During sleep is when you heal and your body can fight off any little thing that might be trying to become a big thing.

**Stay away from the sugar and get a little exercise. Sugar can suppress your immune system, besides making you fat and cranky when you come off that sugar high. Anyone who tells you they get enough exercise at work is full of beans... or something. Exercise improves your mood and can boost your immune system. Which will be helpful in case you can't avoid that Milky Way bar in the vending machine that keeps calling your name.

That's my plan. I guess I'll let you know how it works for me this year. Last year it seemed like I caught every bug that came my way, but I wasn't doing the healthy eating/exercise thing. This year I'm going to try it and see where it gets me.