Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Hope you have a safe, blessed and happy Christmas and New Year.

See you next year!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Dirty Old Women

We only have a couple male nurses on staff.  One of them worked last night.

I walked into Mrs. A's room.  She wasn't there, but her walker was.  I knocked on the bathroom door.


"Mrs. A, are your legs still bothering you?"


"Do you need a pain pill?"

"Yes.  And some of that stuff you rub on my legs."

"OK.  The nurse has that.  Let me go tell him."

So, I located the nurse, told him what she needed and returned to the room.

When I arrived, she was sitting on the side of the bed in her nightgown.  As I was watching her take her pills, Mr. Nurse knocked on the door.

Mrs. A looked up and her eyebrows shot up on her forehead.

"Come in.  We're dressed appropriately," she said in her best coquette voice.

I just started laughing.  And she did, too.

"Heh heh heh.  I'll bet he's half my age," she said to me.

Which made me laugh harder.

"Do I even want to know what you're talking about?" Mr. Nurse asked.

"Just you," I said and left him to his fate.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

First Cold of the Season

Well, I finally caught it.  Everyone around me has been sick at least once since September, some two or three times.  Now, I'm sick.

No fever, so I'll be going to work.  We don't get sick pay and it's Sunday.  Even if I could afford it, there isn't anyone who will cover for me on a Sunday.

I still have my tonsils, so it's resting in my throat.  I'm trying to avoid taking any cold medicine, so I'm treating myself with lots of tea during the day.  At night before I go to bed, it's a shot of Jack and a spoonful of honey.  I don't know if it's helping, but I'm not all fuzzy headed like I would be if I were taking OTC cold meds.  I'd rather feel sick than like my head is floating somewhere three feet away from my body.

I've got four days off in a row coming up this week.  I can tough it out for three more days.  If my coworker who got in a car accident is released to come back to work, I might even have six in a row.  That, I fear, is a pipe dream, but we'll see.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Do you ever wonder...

...if we might only exist to be lab rats for the pharmaceutical companies?

This is a little off topic, but not much.  In the last year I have had several residents who have come in with only two or three prescriptions, who now have over 9.  Not because they have necessarily had anything really wrong, but because the pharmacy consultants give the doctors recommendations and they take them.

For example, Resident A can no longer take care of themselves at home.  They come in with a blood pressure medication and a multi-vitamin.  Then, the pharmacy consultants come in.  Now they need vitamin D once a week.  Oh, and they are at risk for osteoporosis, so lets give them calcium.  Then the blood tests start. So, their triglycerides are high. Let's poke four fish oil pills down them a day.  Now they're getting confused, so let's put them on a memory pill.  Well, now their appetite is not good and they're losing weight.  Of course, we can't stop the memory pill, because they're confused, so lets put them on an appetite stimulant.  A couple months later we do another blood test and now their sugar is high, so we treat that.

And on, and on, and on.

I'm not against folks being as healthy as they can be.  I am against taking medication just because a study shows that it might be good for me.  That includes vitamins.  Further, I'm against taking medication to counteract the side effect of another medication.  I'm pretty sure a memory pill never saved anyone's life.  If the memory pill is ruining your appetite, how about just discontinuing the memory pill?

I have heard that you shouldn't be on more than nine different medications as a general rule.  Nine.  I have resident's who are on over twenty.  Yes, over 20, including all the vitamins.  Someone's benefiting from this.  I'm not sure that it's the resident.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Can you repeat that?

"Can you call my daughter for me?" Mrs. A asked the nurse.

"Sure," she said, picking up the receiver.

"Her number is 30301."

"I'm sorry," said the nurse.  "I didn't catch all of it.  What was it again?"

"30301.  I can't remember the other two numbers."

(I love how they think we can just pull this information out of our pants.  We "grow up", then we "grow down".)

Sunday, December 4, 2011


We spend the first 15 or 20 years of our life trying to get control of it.  You find me someone on the planet who hasn't started a sentence with "When I grow up I'm not going to..."

After that, hopefully, we get things running in our general preference of direction.  It's not perfect, but at least our mistakes are our own.

When we get to the end, the people around us start to take over again and we're stuck back where we were.  They decide what we eat, and when.  What medication we take, and when.  What clothing we wear, what time we get up and go to bed and a thousand other things that we have managed to control for 40, 50, or 60 years.

Is it any wonder the residents get mad at us?  We're just doing our best to make sure everyone gets taken care of, but they see it as us stealing their independence.

I got accused of treating a resident like an animal yesterday.  If you think about it, they're right.  We do the same thing to our pets and farm animals.  When you put people in a group setting, it becomes harder to treat them like individuals.  Especially when your nursing center is still operating under the old mindset of  "Breakfast is at 7:30, Lunch at 11:30, Supper at 5:00 and everyone needs to be in bed by 10:00".

Every once in a while I hear mumbling about culture change.  I'm looking forward to it.  Giving the residents a little control back will make things more chaotic, but it will also make them happier about being in a less than ideal situation.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Some Things are More Important...

"Mrs. A was unresponsive this morning.  We sent her out.  I think they're sending her back."

This is what I was told as soon as I came on shift yesterday.

A little later, the nurse came and gave me the paperwork and told me she was coming back.  I figured she was going to be sick and worn out, so I got her bed ready and laid out her night gown so we could get her back to bed.

I got busy passing ice and snacks and when I looked at my watch, an hour and a half had passed.  I started heading for the nurse's station, thinking that maybe something had happened and they decided to keep her.  As I'm walking down the hall, here comes Mrs. A, peddling herself back up the hall with an armload of trinkets.

"Hi Honey!" she called to me.  "I won three times at Bingo!"

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Angel Tree

Our nursing center does an Angel Tree at Christmas.  All the employees pick a resident's name and bring them a gift so that they have at least one thing to open at the Christmas Party.

Last year I picked two.  Neither one really got to use my gifts because they both passed away within a month or so of Christmas.

So, to minimize the damage, I only picked one name this year.  Thankfully, it's a resident I know.  Unfortunately, I have no idea what to get them.  They are bed-bound.  They don't read.  They are not really capable of watching television because they can't follow it or they think that it's real.  (I spent a couple hours one afternoon trying to convince them that the house fire on the TV was not actually happening in the building.)  They are at the point where they often eat with their fingers because it's "easier".  They are in that awful Limbo between not really being able to live, but being too strong to die.

I think I'm going to have to go the route of bath products.  At least I know they'll get used.  It seems like a lame gift.  Maybe when I get to the store something will inspire me.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Stuff Seniors Say

Sometimes you just want to know that you're not alone.

"Are you busy?" Mrs. A wanted to know.

"What can I do for you?" I asked.

"Nothing.  I just wanted to know if you were busy or if you were pretending to be busy."

"I'm not sure," I said, because I had no idea how to answer that.

"Well, good.  I thought I was the only one who didn't know what was going on."


Proof that we never really outgrow adolescence. 

"I can't roll all over this place just to catch you," Mr. B said to Mrs. C.

(Yes, Mrs. C.  There's a Mr. C and they both stay at the nursing center.)

"Well, you better quit because you're not gonna get me."