Wednesday marked my last day at the nursing home. I went out in burning glory too. I was scheduled to work on west, which is the coveted unit, but when I arrived at six a.m. my coworker cheerfully informed me that I'd been bumped on the schedule to the north unit, because she needed hours but couldn't work on north because "it drives [her] crazy." I responded that north drives everyone crazy and walked away. North was nuts, but not anymore nuts than normal. I had section 3, which was 10 people and two showers, but I was magically able to get everything done, and at a fairly high level of quality (just getting stuff done quickly doesn't mean you're doing a good job).
I don't think I've really written that much about the nursing home, which is probably a good thing as far as HIPAA goes, but it really has been an influential job in my life. It has opened my eyes to the unpleasant crevices of healthcare (no pun intended) and made me have a lot more respect for the infantry of aides and nurses that keep so many sick people alive. I learned a lot about compassion and kindness and back-breaking work (rolling a 400 pound person on their side really can break your back, especially if you're tall like me). I definitely will miss some of the residents there, like Marilyn from south, whose Elvis Presley and "Give Said the Little Stream" serenades will always make me chuckle, or the time she stuck a cup of blue jello down her pants. "Can I have a banana? Banana pudding? Dr. Pepper?" I'll miss Ellis, who passed away a while ago. He sung to me in the shower and cracked dirty sailor jokes. I'll miss my more recent friend Bernice, a loving grandmother with an addiction to Rush Limbaugh.
I won't miss the poop. Or the showers. I won't miss the frantic running around, the chaotic stress of answering call lights while trying to remember the growing mental list of tasks and requests. Did I mention I won't miss the poop? Being a nursing aide is hands down the most feculent job I can imagine. I look forward to only changing my baby's diapers from now on.
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