11:34am and yes, I am still in my jammies, sipping my coffee. Just a lazy kinda of day as I work for the next 4 days, at the part time job I’ve picked up, my full time job, and with any left over time, my shop business might get some attention. I hope. I am nearly finished with a really beautiful item and want to get it listed so I can move on to the next project. :)
I had such a great week this past one, from staying with my grandson during the day a few days while his parents were in Las Vegas, to working on this project, and getting my second job, and crocheting, and then only having to work one day at the full time job because I burned some PTO days to watch the baby, it was SO relaxing. Then I went back to work and half way through the day my body was screaming in pain, I’d forgotten how physically exhausting my work can be. Mentally and emotionally is can be rough too, makes me wonder if after a day of listening to one resident yelling nearly constantly, and the other sobbing hysterically and yelling out, if maybe we don’t leave there with a temporary form of PTSD. When you work with residents, most of whom have dementia, it takes a toll on you. While it is a series of routines for us in caring for them, it is brand new every single day to them, the previous days are gone, sometimes even the previous few minutes.
Not all of those in my care suffer from dementia, some simply can no longer care for themselves. They cannot use the bathroom without assistance that includes wiping their bottoms, or maybe need to wear adult diapers, cannot shower but instead have to sit humbly naked in front of you while you wash their bodies, shave their face because they can no longer hold the razor safely, some cannot even pick up their utensils to feed themselves and rely on us to do that for them. Unable to walk or stand, they are at the mercy of their aides to get them into a sling and use a stand-up or Hoyer style lift to move them from the bed to their wheel chairs or Broda chairs. Dressing someone unable to help requires rolling them back and forth as you work first the diaper into place, then their slacks, then shirt. It is physically intensive, and time consuming. I hit the floor at 6am and on a good day, with a float getting up one person for me, I’ll have everyone up, dressed and the first meal of the day over at 10am. I have 9 in my direct care, and backup/assist others on my unit as needed. Plenty of days I’m bumping up against lunch time by the time I finish with the morning rounds, which includes making their beds.
Growing older is not easy or pretty, and in fact sucks if you ask me. Sure, it is only 4% or so of the elderly population living in long term care facilities, but there are plenty at home requiring assistance from family or paid care takers.
So, today I’m hanging out later than usual with my coffee and jammies, still wincing from pain at times, knowing the week ahead is going to be brutal. But I wouldn’t have it any other way, I’ve found my calling.