I Was Pee’d On Today

14391024_1218524028215093_3034635554576758796_nBeing piddled on is one of the on the job hazards of a nurse aide. And while it has been known to get on my hand or arm despite gloves and all of those proper methods we are taught to change people, I wasn’t expecting to have someone actually pee on me.

When you take the classes to become an aide, you learn all of the ‘rules’, laws, and ‘proper procedures’ that the state requires us to follow. I’m telling you right now, I’d bet a paycheck that those making up these things have never worked a day in this job. See, there is what is taught, and then there is the real world. In all of the books, lessons, clinical hours, continuing education training, there is the gentle approach and guidance that the resident will magically follow and once you have assisted them with pulling down their pants and ‘brief’ (aka adult diaper or pull-up) they will sit down on the toilet. In the real world, you pull down their pants and before you can unhook the diaper they are pulling the pants back up. You pull them down, they pull them up, asking “why are you doing this?” and no amount of showing them the toilet and explaining that their undies are wet and they need to sit down is going to get through to them. They even say that they know what to do, then don’t do it.

I finally succeeded in getting the pants and the pull-up down, and while trying to convince the resident, who seems to have missed the magically plant yourself on the commode memo, he pees.  All. over. the. floor.  And the pull-up that is around his ankles, and it sprays and splashes on me, and it just keeps going. Because he was in socks, he suddenly realizes that his feet are now wet and about the same time the stream of urine stops he receives the memo and magically plants himself on the toilet. “My feet are all wet, I think someone pee’d on the floor in here.” Yep, bud, they sure did. I go get a fresh pair of socks, another pair of pants, and a wash cloth and towel so I can wash the urine off Mr. Peesalot and fix the situation. I also go get a mop and clean up the floor.

Shortly after that incident, while assisting with one of the residents who requires two of us to get up because she is heavy, cannot stand or walk, and some mornings is a pro-wrestler wannabe, I got the crap kicked, punched, scratched out of me and nearly bitten. They mention ‘combative’ in school, but there is nothing like the strength of a 90+ year old woman who is not at all interested in getting out of bed, ever, and has dementia.

By the end of the day every muscle is sore. I opted to take the highway home rather than wait on the ferry. Something told me that it would be a long wait and I needed to run into the grocery store, smelling of Ode To Potty, and grab a few things. Once home I took a nice, long shower, and now I’m sitting here on my bed with my laptop, wearing my jammies (have been since 3:30pm – don’t judge me). Wine is in the near future, before I turn in for the night to do it all again tomorrow at the other full time job.

If you are reading this and thinking about CNA / STNA as a job, don’t let it discourage you. Believe me we laugh a LOT through this job, and the days, because humor is the way we stay sane. And at the end of your shift you will feel very accomplished knowing that despite the drawbacks you are making a difference if even just to get someone into dry clothes. If you don’t, then maybe this isn’t where you belong.

 

Wine Musings

10528037_661869007231960_1756530536_nI have a sleep app on my cell phone. Punch in the alarm(s) you need to wake, tell it how much you need as an ideal night of slumber, it will tell you when to go to bed. Not as in figuring the time, but as a reminder that comes up and tells me I need to be in bed in 15 minutes if I want to achieve my sleep goal, which is 8.5 hours for me. I could go with much more, I need it. There are studies that prove you can, in fact, catch up on lost sleep. Right now I’m thinking about 5 months straight sleeping might catch me up!

Today was day 5 of 21 (I miscounted and thought it was 23) working days in a row. Yes, I am crazy but that isn’t news to some of my readers (you know who you are and I know you read my blog, there are no secrets). Currently I have 2 full time jobs because one is close to home and the other pays better. The one paying better doesn’t have over time, the one close to home does but I have no time to pick up that OT because I work all 7 days of the week. On day 22 I am off from both jobs, and after I watch 2 of the grandsnugglers I will be coming home to study my butt off so it isn’t really much of what one would refer to as a day off.

I have 20 days of studying before the big state exam, and I’m trying to do that on the days I work until 2pm. Come home, shower off (because yes I DO have a clue what is on me and the uniform and we don’t care to go there), hit the bedroom with the 2, 4 inch binders full of study material and the textbook I found online. I will pass this exam and be certified to pass medications. And my pay jumps $1 per hour at the job close to home, and $4 per hour at the other. I see myself getting out of debt Dave Ramsey style!

My phone tells me what time to get up each day, 4:20am for the job close to home, 4am for the other. It tells me how many steps I log per day (over 20K), reminds me if it is someone’s birthday, allows me to do everything my laptop does, and then some. I could even write blog posts if I could find time to actually sit down and do it on the phone.

Right now I’m sitting on my bed, sipping a glass of wine, waiting for that “hey, if you really want to be awake tomorrow it is time to go to bed” reminder.

One thing I really need to keep me sane right now is my faith. I’m really concerned about that of late. Oh, I believe with all of my heart, that Christ is my Savior. But I’ve lost my desire for the Word of God. I enjoy it, need it, but lack the discipline to set aside the time to be IN the Word daily. And because of my hectic schedule I’ve not made it to church in a number of weeks. While watching online is great, it is not a substitute for the hugs and sharing with in-person connections. I’m also becoming too much of a home body, hermiting in my shell and not really interested in the whole going out thing. Too much work. I even found a small group from church of other women in their 50s who are single/divorced and last night I was too exhausted to make it to the gathering, and even forgot it was Wednesday night at all. Outside of my Divas the most meaningful conversation I have had of late was with my stylist, it consisted of discussion of how short to cut the locks, which was very short, and the benefits of regrowth when it comes to a great looking style. Yep, that was a deep one right there. Something has got to give here. Thankfully at the end of October I’m going to Woman Camp with the women from church and that will help refresh the body, mind and soul.

The funny thing about it all? I’m happy! Last night I made the comment to my mom that I love my life, it is so good. I work with some badass women who get it done, live with some equally badass women who are very supportive and loving, have terrific kids and grandkids, and at the end of the day I know I am blessed beyond measure, and feel so accomplished. I know, this is all just one chapter and soon the page will flip and things will be different. I just need to hang in here…and get some sleep.

On that note, I think it is time for a bit more wine, put my air plants back (they are drying from having a bath), and then go find the Sandman.

 

My Status: Over Achiever

I think I have commitment issues, but not how you think because I’m not talking about relationships. I mean to life, as in work for example. My schedule has me working every day this month with the exception of 2. The best part of this is I signed up for all of those days. Call me crazy, I get it and own that one. But with bills to pay and Christmas not that far off, making the most of having 2 jobs seems like a good idea. When the alarm clock goes off each day I wonder about my sanity, what the heck was I thinking???

My allergies seem to be on over achiever mode as well. I will admit that I did not take my meds the past 2 days because I was busy and just plain forgot. This is making me miserable now and might lead to a sinus infection. Meanwhile I will likely keep the tissue company in business as the pollen count is 10.1 out of 12 today. ARGH!

Up to my eyeballs in drug names, classifications, multiple systems of the body and how they all interact with one another on levels I never cared to know, I thought it might be fun to sign up to participate in the walk to end Alzheimer’s because one day weeks from now I could have slept in, and we certainly don’t want to break the routine of up at 4am. Just what I need to be doing in the middle of studying for a state exam so I can pass medications at the facilities where I work.

Overly busy? Yes I am! Ah but hang on to your knickers, I’m not finished!

b1b2My shop is still managing to release new items! This is due both to my sister is able to crochet things, and the fact that it is therapy for me and keeping me somewhat sane. Rather than taking in 100 stray cats, or searching for places to bury bodies, I’m binging NCIS on Netflix in the evening while sipping wine and hooking things to sell.

Yes, I still sell Avon, though not as actively pursuing it as I have in the past. I’ve let my team go for now and just sell to friends, coworkers and family. It keeps me in makeup and skin care so it is a win for me. Not that I wear much makeup these days, when you are in menopause like a boss and doing very physical work it is absolutely pointless to bother putting on much more than mascara. Even then I often come home looking like a drunk raccoon from sweating it down my face, but I try!

3-plantsOn a sad note, I managed to kill Abraham, my one air plant. He has been replaced by 3 new ones that are yet to be named. Suggestions are welcome!

Okay, enough chit chat, this chick has to get her ACE inhibitors and BETA blockers memorized. Y’all have a marvelous day!

 

Still Here!

coffee cup

Francesco Marino / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Yes I am still here, just been up to my eyeballs in busy. Thank the Lord for whoever figured out that those lovely beans, crushed and bathed in hot water made the wonderful drink we call coffee!

I’m in classes to get certified to pass meds as an aide, making me a MA-C rather than just a STNA.  4 weeks of classes, hundreds of drugs I need to know, and body systems…I’m brain imploded.  On top of that 5 days a week, I’m working weekends, both days, at my new part time job in another facility, and trying to keep up with projects for my shop. My free time to write my blog and work on my novel is scarce but I’m trying to do it all because that is just what I do. Yes, I am crazy.

I have had more than a few “what was I thinking” moments since starting classes, this is a LOT to learn. Not just the drugs, but their classifications, side effects, lots of anatomy and physiology (though I do love that stuff), then trying to study and still have something that resembles a life outside of class and working.

The new job is at an assisted living facility, so physically it is less wear and tear on my body, but still lots of steps in between all of the apartments, and more residents assigned to me because of the lesser degree of hands on care needed.  It is also a bit more of a drive, 20-25 minutes vs. the 5-7 for my full time job. But it is all good, I’ve got this!  Already LOVE my new residents, this line of work is simply awesome.

More to come, just need to find more time, or learn how to use the app from my phone to write on my breaks!

 

Jammies, Coffee, Relaxing

Coffee cup with steam11:34am 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.

Sporting Pink & White Cheetah Jammies

Last night we finished the last episode of Blue Bloods on Netflix. We divas are huge fans of the show so we started at the very beginning and watched each season, a few episodes a night, over the past few weeks.  Once we finished, we were a bit bored.  Boredom and the Diva Den are not a very good combo.

3 of us are into Pokemon GO, so we went out hunting them, after dark, around midnight, after a thunderstorm, on our street. Because? Well a Pikachu was in our vicinity and we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to catch one! My niece was in shorts and a jersey, sis was wearing white jammie pants with tiny, navy blue hearts and navy blue top, also navy slippers.  Me? The fashionista that I am, wore a black jammie top, baggie pink and white jammie pants with black cheetah print on them, black slippers with giant, hot pink bows on them (Hello Kitty baby!), what can I say, I looked hot of course! Our neighbors already think we are a bunch of crazy cat women, why disappoint. We did not get the Pikachu though, too bad.

20160730_103020-1And now? Same jammies, bed head, with my pink, Hello Kitty coffee mug full of my favorite daytime beverage, and a colby cheese on wheat toast sandwich.  I know, you are jealous, but not everyone can be this sexy and cool. Just embrace your own inner freak and it will be okay. (those spots are not on the top, but on the mirror, which I clearly need to clean!)

I’m on day 2 of 7 off in a row! I need this break, not only to crochet and work on items for my shop, but to physically recover from working this job. My 53yo body cannot take a lot of that for an extended time without some chance to recover.

Now that the delivery has been made, I wanted to share the custom order By Hook & By Hand made. We were a tad nervous about how it would turn out in the earthy tones, especially for a baby blanket, but we were very pleased. The new mommy was too! Delivered in person, I got to meet and hold the little man who will snuggle in this blanket for many years to come, and see it in his room which is very close in color to the green in the blanket.

13886246_1081202438631946_2379148329865074077_n

Coming soon, another Bavarian throw, a new baby blanket, more wash clothes and scrubbies, a poncho, and one very cool Halloween throw.  Hoping to get a lot accomplished while off these remaining 6 days. Boo is working on the Halloween one at this writing, and I’m hooking the Bavarian.  Coffee and hooking, the best therapy ever! Time to get to it, this day is slipping away fast. Y’all have a great one!

 

Hooker Shop Talk

Hooker Shop Talk is going to be my new heading for all things related to By Hook And By Hand, from what I’m currently working on, ideas for future items, newly released items, and anything else crochet related that strikes my fancy. 

13680871_1076108255808031_8434021617286095772_nThis morning we released cotton face scrubbies.  These are made from 100% cotton yarn that is left over from making wash cloths.  Often there isn’t enough for another cloth to be made but plenty to make a scrubbie or two. Not fans of wasting precious yarn, we decided to make scrubbies with the left overs.  These are so simple to make, I can usually hook 5-7 in a 1 hour television program, with breaks to eat popcorn and sip wine.  I know, this is the life!

Why use these cotton scrubbies?

We were purchasing makeup remover wipes to the tune of $5-8 a pack for 30 wipes. With 4 women in the Diva Den this means we spent a lot of money on something we were throwing away. We also bought those cute little cotton circles or squares for our eye makeup removing. I decided to give these a try and I’m hooked (no pun intended). I have a hook in the shower that I use for my cotton, crocheted wash cloth and I stick the scrubbie over it too. Machine washable, I simply toss it in the laundry after using it and grab a new one each day (I use each one twice a day, once in the morning and evening). Cotton breaks down in the landfills very fast because it is natural plant fiber, so that is a plus when it is time to toss these in the trash, though based on others sharing their stories these and the wash cloths last for years.

While making them it dawned on me these make terrific little hostess gifts at your direct sales spa, makeup, or skin care product parties. They also are perfect as stocking stuffers or teacher thank you gifts. If you haven’t made the switch to handmade, cotton wash cloths and scrubbies, why not do it now? Check out the shop for these and other items!

Hodge Podge Of My Brain

Work….

I’m so sore this morning.  More so than most days following a shift, from my toes to my neck. My hallway has gotten heavier, some residents declining to needing more care, the addition of a new one with different needs, and me just jumping in and busting my tail with refreshed gusto results in a morning after of wincing and moaning.  I’m going to be such a treat when I’m on the other side of this arrangement, body all broken down from caring for others and over doing it at 53yo.

As of this writing it is 33 days until class starts and I’m off of the floor for a month. I’m taking the med-tech certification classes so I can pass meds, which is a raise in pay, and likelihood of moving to night shift. But with the shift differential and raise just for being certified, it will be worth it.

Crochet/Shop Talk…

13769523_1074669985951858_7714935789900166138_n

Rough prototype of the face scrubbie coming to byhookandbyhand.com today!

I have discovered the joy of cotton face scrubbies!! Removing make-up or just washing your face is uniquely delightful with these little gems. I’ve seen them in shops and hunted down a pattern to give it a shot and I’m hooked. Yes I’ll be adding them to the shop. If you are of the go-green mindset, these are so up your alley. Wash and use again and again! Cotton, being a plant fiber, breaks down quickly in the landfills which makes it environmentally friendly. As these are 100% cotton, it is a win all around. Watch for a deal on an assortment package later today!

Pokemon Go…

Seriously addicting, do not do this to yourself!!! It is insanity and I love it. Nice distraction in a world full of crazy headlines and off the wall concerns. I’ve lost 3 pounds over the weekend just walking in the cemetery and other places to catch virtual beings on my cell phone. While it does have that advantage, I just don’t see myself sticking to this one for long. Life is too busy to be obsessed with anything that doesn’t come to me. Which, I have found some really interesting ones in my family room!  ;)

Avon…

c17Yes, I still sell, though have moved my business to mostly online ordering. This works much better for me as I just do not have the time to go out canvasing for customers.  I always welcome new ones to my family of Avon fans, so feel free to check out what is on sale now!

My Roller Coaster Week

What a week! And no I do not mean the sad events all over this country.  I do not post political or racially sensitive/divisive things to my blog, that is for others to do.  All I will say is that where you see a divide, kneel and pray.  Per 2 Chronicles 7:14.

No, this week was a roller coaster ride in my life and that of the other Divas.  We stumbled on a house we were interested in, but it wasn’t what we had hoped for at all. That same evening we knew of another, the agent was able to get us in to see it, and we all fell in love. Downsizing is the name of the game for us, and it was smaller, totally brand new inside from being flipped, and we were all over it.  An offer was made and for 48 hours we purged the Diva Den like we were moving to a tiny house so we could list it for sale.  We had our hopes up and prayed…and we didn’t get it.😦  Yes, we are all sad and bummed. That house is wanted badly by others too, and a bidding war got going and they accepted an offer for more than the asking price.  We know financing for that buyer could fail and we might still end up able to have it, but for now we are simply continuing to make our home ready for sale and  watching for new listings. The market here is very tight and a well priced home that is updated and nice…doesn’t last but a few days, sometimes even hours.

Meanwhile, things sat on hold for the shop, so the promised release of new wash/dish cloths will end up posting later today. I also will post a photo on my Instagram of the custom blanket I made from a shop order. But don’t want to ruin the surprise for the customer, they get to see it first. Connecting with her has been a fiasco from my side because of work, mom and other commitments.  The next projects are a really pretty Bavarian blanket, perfect for a wheel chair user, a baby blanket, and some chemo caps.  We feel the calling to have a health care category since we work in long term care and know what those needs can be.  I also have yarn and patterns for ponchos and pray shawls. We’re going to be very busy hooking around here!

Last night we celebrated my youngest grandson’s 1st birthday. The party was held at the ex-hubster’s, which others probably find incredibly weird but it is getting to be par for the course that we are in the same place at the same time.  Weird too to be back in the old homestead I suppose, but for me it was not at all like it had been when we were married and money was way too tight to make such renovations.  It is very beautiful, what they have done, and does not at all resemble the house I called home. It got me thinking a lot as I was falling asleep, how different my life is now too.  I don’t make nearly the money I did then, and while I very much enjoyed my job back then, I LOVE my job now.  It is a calling and ministry, or it is a paycheck, but there is little middle ground for a nurse aide.  Back bones, foundations of the the long term care industry, we are paid peanuts.  Yet I cannot imagine doing anything else.  I even applied for a 911 operator, but it ate at me inside to leave this line of work, so I dropped out of the process.

My sweet, confused residents, physically and mentally weak and broken, they are what I get up for and pull 12.5 hours shifts that physically kill me.  I used to be all about making the money in life, now I’m all about how can I help someone else, what can I do to make a difference. Yes, I do need an income, but I don’t work for more, just for enough.  Sure, Avon empowers women, as does Mary Kay, Pure Romance, Tupperware etc….but not like this.  You can make a good living doing that, but really you empower them to make money, you don’t really do much for their heart and soul.  I had a big team for a while in Avon, got nice leadership checks, and my full time job then paid very well, but it was empty money. Now, when I see my check, every dollar is a smile of appreciation for the little extra things I did, for the laughter I was able to bring to someone, a hand I held to steady them on their feet, or comfort someone in pain, or a goodbye because I knew they were leaving this world, a thank you and hug from a family member of someone I care for, and tears shed with coworkers when we watch one cross over to eternity.  I cannot bag groceries, sell makeup, enter data, etc., and ‘get’ that.  This job has changed me, made me appreciate little things like a very simple and limited wardrobe, a decent vehicle, and laughter and love of family and close friends.  The things that make life rich and memorable.

This week I’ve came to the realization that I have an abundantly better life now than the one I left behind 6 years ago, that I am a far better person than I was then.  I’m still under construction, God is far from done breaking me and removing the dross, but we’re closer now than ever before.