Tailgating With Teeth In My Pocket

Originally posted on The CNA Life:

Photo by artur84 - freedigitalphotos.net Photo by artur84 – freedigitalphotos.net

The long term care facility where I work periodically does tailgating.  Each wing/floor brings in food to share and then everyone participating grabs a tray and goes around filling their plates with goodies.

During my first tailgate, which also happened to be during my orientation as an aide, the nurses on my floor told me to come along with them and learn how this was done.  Trouble was I was in the middle of trying to get my resident’s dentures to stay put in her mouth.  There was no denture adhesive in her room, and I had her out by the nurses station.  The nursing supervisor went off the floor to get some for me, and the nurses waiting for me said “just stick her teeth in your pocket”.  So, I pulled off my glove with the teeth inside and stuck it safely into my…

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Tuesday Morning Coffee Contemplations

Coffee cup with steamI need to start a blog thread about life as a STNA (State Tested Nurse Aide), because believe me the stories I could share (without breaking HIPAA of course) would just make your day.  Here are a few future posts:

Grannies Gone Wild – Throw Down In The Activity Center

Tailgating With Teeth In My Pocket

Poop Happens..and happens and happens….

Depend-able Explosions

Splish Splash I Was Giving A Bath

I’m telling you now, it is NEVER a boring day in long term care.

Yesterday was a long one.  It was 4:30pm, 10 hours into my 12.5 hour shift, when they came around asking if I would stay over until 10pm.  There were 2 call offs leaving the unit way too short to get all these sweet folks to bed.  I think I momentarily took leave of my senses because I smiled and said “Sure thing, I can stay”.  Seriously, what is 16.5 hours of working on your feet that are screaming in pain at this point already?  So I went from counting down the minutes to counting down the hours.  When I walked in the door at 10:15 last night I had one thought that was still able to be processed:  WINE.  And I had several glasses before curling up in bed with the Sand Man patiently waiting to take me to Dreamland.

Right now, as I sip my coffee, I’m telling myself that I will not pick up any more hours this week.  But I know me, when they are short and ask, I not only see dollar signs, but I know what it is like to work short, and the brain-to-mouth filter will malfunction and say “yep, I’ll cover it”.

Hmmm….in fact now that I think about it, I’m starting a new blog just for the STNA stuff.  I’ll post more information in my next post.

Now that I have somewhat of a routine I can focus on my Avon business too.  Nothing like trying to do 2, full time jobs.  I’m rather grateful that the season finales have all wrapped up for the summer on my favorite shows, I can now work like crazy and get things where I need them without the temptation to sit down and watch TV.

Well the time has come to shower and get moving with this day.  I am feeling a bit lazy, but hey, I earned this, and the next cup of coffee!

Tuesday Afternoon Coffee Musings

Close up of cup of coffee with pink roseI’m so thankful I did not work today.  These 12.5 hour shifts are rough!  I have 2, back to back tomorrow and Thursday, and my small group on Wednesday evening.  I should be dragging by the time I walk in the door Thursday evening.  BUT it is all so worth it.

This job is not for the faint of heart, or those looking to get wealthy.  It doesn’t pay well in terms of cash, but it’s value to others is priceless.  When I put it all in perspective, the money matters very little.

My family was faced with the need to put my dad in long-term care a year ago this past September when he fell and broke a hip.  He cannot feel his legs from the knees down and his ability to walk was rapidly depleting.  While he had taken many serious falls over the years, we could not convince him that this was where he needed to be.  He lived alone in a large, 5 bedroom house, and couldn’t get off the 1st floor anymore.  The family room was where he slept, and he sat at the kitchen table most of the time.  A walker helped him to the bathroom and back, or the front porch, but that was the extent of his existence unless someone could take him out.  I don’t need to tell you how difficult that was loading him up and the walker to go somewhere and his steps are shuffled and slow at best.  Winter meant he wasn’t going anywhere as we could not risk a fall on ice.

Once he broke the hip the surgeon made it clear that dad could no longer live alone at home, he needed a long-term care facility where he would have help as needed.  While he was recovering in the hospital from hip replacement and in a rehab center, we had to force his hand and get him in a facility.  This meant cleaning out that house and selling it.  I know and understand his bitterness at losing what little independence he had left.  I’ll not forget the elder lady that yelled at an aide in frustration.  The aide was obviously less then thrilled to be changing this lady’s diaper and the old lady, in tears, yelled at her that she didn’t like it any better and didn’t wish to be here, but she wasn’t given that choice.  No one plans their life out and desires to be living in a nursing home, wearing diapers or having someone help them to the bathroom and get their pants off in order to use it.  It’s embarrassing, even humiliating for the person.

Dad has adapted pretty well, though he has his days like anyone.  The outings to the zoo, baseball games, museums etc, give him more social life than me and my siblings combined each month.  Lots of activities take place too, inside the facility.  While there are many really bad places I wouldn’t board my dog in (if she were here), there are lots of really nice places.  The one I work in, the same one dad now resides in, is awesome. They strive to make it great from the decor to the food.

In keeping that perspective, that this is home unwillingly for most residents, it makes what I do more of a joy than anything.  I already love caring for these sweet souls, and love seeing their smiles when I can get them what they need or make them comfortable. It’s very physical work, I had walked several miles at a good clip by the end of my shift, turned, changed, fed and bathed a lot of folks, pushed, pulled and lifted much weight, and did it all with a servant’s heart.  I know in my heart from my Brave Journey, that this is right where God wants me to be, caring for these sweet souls before they finally leave this world, and making their last years, months or days as wonderful as possible.

Nope, doesn’t pay well, but what an amazing job! And wearing scrubs all day is kinda like working in your jammies! :)

Little Things Are Big Things

The little things in life just thrill my socks off, to me those little things make for the big things, memories.

Yesterday a very special and dear friend and I went riding on his motorcycle for several hours.  I love being in the wind, it is therapy for me.  We talked at length while we rode and stopped to grab a quick drink (water and energy drink).  Relaxing and enjoyable, we share numerous memories riding the back roads together.  He is one of those special, true friends I can call when crisis hits and he is there for me, and I’m there for him.  One of the only ones walking who knows every deep, dark secret I have and never judges me for them, just loves and prays for me.  We also share our faith which is great as we talk openly about it.

Today more memories were made after church when me and my kiddos went out of lunch.  I love that we all worship together, even the ex and his wife though they were not at the same service with us today but usually they are and no that is not awkward at all.  After services we hit one of our favorite places for lunch.  I just love spending time with my kids and grandkids, they are jewels in my crown for sure.  Nice to know too, in chatting, that my kids do not think I was a bad mom even though I know I made mistakes, they love me and see me as a good mother.

The memories of my grandson whispering across the table to me with his little mischievous grin that he took off his socks and shoes (a real sneaky thing to a 2-year-old), then later having to remove mac & cheese from his shoes before they went back on (guess he missed his mouth a few times) won’t be forgotten.  I cannot imagine life without my family around me.

Great quote I heard on the way to services:

Joy is the best makeup ~ Anne Lamott

Yes, yes it is.  And my life is full of joy, yes I really DO love my life.  Nothing about it I’d trade right now, it is full of the wealth of blessings and love, memories and laughter, family and a few very good friends.

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Tuesday Morning Random Coffee Musings

Hot cup of fresh coffee on the wooden table and stack of books tThe sun is shining, the cat is in the window enjoying the morning breezes and getting her tan on, and I’m listening to the birds singing while sitting here sipping my coffee and enjoying my mellow start to the day.

I am a tad concerned that the first thing I do is look at my planner.  Not because I don’t know what I need to do, I did that last night to check my schedule for the day.  I look at it because I love all the bling and colors.  It speaks to my crafty side, kinda like a crafters high.  Planner crack.

Yesterday was HR orientation at the new job, and sometime this week will be department orientation, then I can work.  I cannot wait.  I will be working full time again, 3 days a week, 12 hour shifts.  It’s perfect for allowing me time to do my Avon business and pick up over time which is very plentiful in the Long Term Care industry.  Aides are scarce and good aides it seems are even more so.  I’m planning on being a top performer, over achiever so to speak.  I don’t see this as a job so much as a ministrey for me.  No one sets their end of life goal as residing in a care facility, needing someone to change their diapers or assist them to the bathroom, help feed and clothe them.  Not all are old either, some residents are young, victims of crippling diseases or accidents that left them unable to do the simplist of personal tasks.  The good facilities have made more of a home atmosphere, as it should be.  This IS the resident’s home and should be treated as such.  Sometimes aides and others forget that the resident is no more thrilled with being changed like a child than the one giving care is excited about doing the changing.  Mentally my focus is on that aspect, how would I want to be cared for in this same situation.  It has really changed my heart and pulled me to want to do this for half of what I could be making in my other field of office management.

Yesterday I babysat 3 of my grandchildren and was just amazed at how fast they are growing up.  SnuggleBug is 2yo, and isn’t all that into snuggling anymore though he talks a mile a minute and I only catch pieces of what he says.  I fully understand his “wuv eww nana” and kisses though!  SnuggleBean is 7 months old and aware that I’m not mom and this didn’t make him all that happy.  SnuggleBerry is pitching softball now at 10yo.  Where is the time going?  I relish these moments, and with my son and his wife.  I look at my daughter, just over 2 months away from giving birth to her first baby, sitting in church feeling him kick her, watch her waddle around (she doesn’t think she waddles yet but there is a small one to her gait now) and cannot believe she is all grown up, married, and ready to be a mother.  I’m nervous and excited, knowing how she thinks about everything in life will change so much when they place this little boy in her arms.  And no words will make her understand that, she has to experience it for herself.  I love our morning phone calls when she is driving home from work, we laugh a lot and solve all the world’s problems in 30 minutes or less.  ;)

I love my Avon customers!  In the past 14 hours I’ve had 2 call me with orders that will put about $52 in my pocket (I earn 40% across the board thanks to achieving Honor Society and doubling my sales).  And all it took was providing good customer service and handing out brochures.  That is 2 of my regular 8-10 who consistently order, and I’m growing that number as rapidly as I can.  Also adding at least 2 to my team tomorrow.  I LOVE this business!

Ah look at the time, at this rate it won’t me morning musings if I don’t get moving. Much to do.

Y’all have a MARVELOUS day!

BRAVE: Update

Originally posted on A Prodigal Daughter's Return:

11088539_10152885026453935_6365408097417848396_nAs I had mentioned in my post yesterday, during the journey we reach a point of facing a fear.  Mine was personally apologizing to someone, and the fear was rejection.  Few people, including yours truly, can graciously accept an apology and say “accepted and forgiven”.  We feel the need to delve into more, perhaps rub salt in the wound or flat out just reject the person.  And my fear was the rejection and a healthy dose of salt, so when I opened the mailbox today that is exactly what I initially felt I had received.

The letter writer has reason to still have ill feelings, as I did indeed say some very mean and hurtful things.  I admit I was going for the heart in the things I so often said and posted, and it would seem I was an over achiever when I posted them.  And I was wrong…

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This Brave Journey

Originally posted on A Prodigal Daughter's Return:

11088539_10152885026453935_6365408097417848396_nOur church, Crossroads in Cincinnati, recently began what they are calling an all church experience.  Every year they do a journey in which everything is geared toward the journey, so the entire church from the babies on up, is on the same page, same journey with God.  This is the first time I have participated and I’m seeing quickly why it is so loved by so many.  It is deep, and powerful, and life changing.

This year the journey is called BRAVE.  It centers around Peter getting out of the boat and walking on the water to Jesus during a storm.  We all have our own heading, and also storms to go through as we journey together on our course.  While in past years the church has printed up books etc for this, in the interest of saving money and paper they are doing it via an app for Android…

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You’re The Lace In My Shoe…

0c18d179b3d8b6f948399af36b9b012cOkay no, no one is the lace in my shoe.  Not just anyone would be trusted to keep the shoe securely attached to my foot so that I do not trip and fall on my face.  I’m not ready to give anyone that much responsibility over me.  Fact is I’m not finding anyone that I’d even call the bubble gum stuck to the bottom of my shoe, which would make them a real annoyance.  This whole dating site thing is just not working out so well.  In fact it is dead in the water to me.  There are plenty of decent guys on the site but none that spark my interest at this point.  I’m thinking it is time to just forget looking for Mr. Right, Mr. You’ll Do, and even Mr. Not A Chance In Hell, and just go for being single.

I honestly don’t have a NEED for a man in my life, so maybe that is the issue?   I already have everything I need…a home that is pretty awesome, a household full of laughter and love, a good job, well actually 2 good jobs, and freedom to roll through life on my terms.  There isn’t anything I really need a man for that I cannot handle with a pack of batteries and catalog purchase from my local Pure Romance representative.   I suppose that could come off sounding cynical, but it really isn’t.  I’m simply not going to settle just so I can say I have a man in my life.

Being single still has some clear advantages for me.

If I want to go out, I go.  If I want to be in my jammies, munching popcorn and sipping a glass of wine at 7pm, I do it.  The cat doesn’t care if I snore like a freight train, she thinks it’s purring and snuggles up on the pillow nearby.  If I feel like dumping $50 on stickers and washi tape to support my new planner decorating addiction, I won’t have to justify it or ask permission, I will simply do it.  When my friend, Mr. Wonderful, calls to see if I want to jump on the back seat of his bike, getting some wind therapy with him, I don’t have to worry about pissing someone off or explaining that he really is just a very good friend.  I don’t have to try to fit someone into my already very busy life, or wait for them to squeeze me in to theirs.

If God wants me to spend my remaining life with a man, then He will bring me one when the time is right for both of us.  Meanwhile, I think it is time for me to just relish my life as it is and be like Dorothy, not go hunting for something or someone who might be in my own backyard already.  Though hopefully he is NOT in the backyard, as that would make him a peeping tom or stalker, and well that is just creepy.