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I Got Pooped On Today

11 Aug

Sounds like a toddler mom blog title but not me! No toddler involved here but rather adults. 3 different ones today, one of which went all PooPoo Picasso after some projectile diarrhea….twice in 2 hours time. Such can be the life of work with the elderly, especially memory care where their broken minds impact bodily functions and the ability to recognize they need a toilet.

My coworker and I were up to our eyeballs in dirty laundry, adult diapers, showers and never got to sit down. In fact the closest thing we had to a break today was using the bathroom ourselves. But sometimes doo doo happens. And the bad days only serve to make the good ones even better. It is hard until you remind yourself that these people honestly cannot help it. Many don’t realized they are incontinent, and in their right minds would be so devastated if they could see how they’d end up and what they would be doing. It can be tough working this side of heath care, it takes a huge heart and thick skin. Mostly the heart part. These are the people I love caring for so much. The ones who need reassurance that they are okay, their family knows where they are, yes their mother knows they are here (how awful to be 80+ years old and think you are in grade school or high school and your mom doesn’t know where you are at the moment). Loving them and helping them is why I pull myself out of bed early each day. They truly keep life in perspective for me in that I very much realize how blessed I am in this life and how small my own problems are compared to what they carry.

On a side note, Resolve carpet stain remover is amazing at lifting a poop stain from khaki colored scrub pants. Who knew? We didn’t have any Shout left so I grabbed that when the stain didn’t come out in the wash, rubbed it in and washed them again.


This is where I’ll be most of the weekend!

I cannot remember the last time I was so happy for the weekend. Two days off after working 9 straight is a welcome time! I have some health coaching work to finish up, and church this weekend, twice, but I get to sleep in! And I can take my laptop, phone and binder out on the deck to work, then curl up with my Kindle and read. But first things first, coffee! Making memories with coffee and talking with the other Divas, then the rest.

But none of this can happen if the marvelous one doesn’t get herself to bed for a rejuvenating night of sleep!

Sleep well y’all!



I Was Pee’d On Today

23 Sep

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.


9.5 Wonderful Hours

7 Dec

9.5 is a beautiful number.

It is the number of hours I slept last night.  Straight through, no interruptions.  Just me and the Sand Man who filled my head with dreams I no longer remember.  Snoring. Breathing. SLEEPING!

This weekend was STNA hell weekend at work.  There are 47 beds on my unit and unless someone dies those beds represent 47 lives that need our ongoing care and love.  With just 5 aides and 2 nurses this means we are hopping on a good day.  Each of us has either 9 or 10 of those old souls to take care of each day, our regularly assigned residents if we are permanent on the unit, or they are simply who the aide primarily cares for on a given day.  But we are responsible for ALL the residents in the facility, they are all our residents.

Saturday we had a call off, and they pulled an aide from us to another floor.  We work with 5 aides and one aide is on from 6am-10am to help with getting 4 residents up, showering any of those 4 who need it, and helping to feed.  This aide is like having a shot of adrenaline to the rest of us, as this is a huge help.  Our 6-10 person had to take over a hallway, leaving us one aide short for the morning.  But then at 10am, we dropped down to only 3 aides.  This means each of the aides had 15 people, and one had 16 to care for, as we had one pass away at the end of the week.  When you have 9 people to get out of bed, provide peri-care for (means washing their genital areas before putting on their diapers/pull-ups), dress and either feed or get them to the dinning room, you are  busting your tail.  With 46 people and 4 aides, it means 11 people each, two aides being responsible for 12.

Of those 46 people there are at least 8 or more that we either need to feed, or assist with eating.

Our days are packed full to begin with:

  • Get Mr/Mrs awake.
  • Clean them up (as in remove diaper and wash them, apply new diaper) or assist them in using a walker to get to the bathroom.
  • Get them dressed, some cannot assist with this.
  • Transfer to a wheelchair, usually by way of a gait belt and pivoting or using a hoyer or stand-up lift.
  • Transport to the common area or dining room.
  • Return to resident room and make the bed, sometimes stripping it due to incontinence overflow.
  • Take dirty linens and trash (trash is emptied every time we change them to keep the place from smelling bad) to the soiled linen/trash closet.

This can take 10-20 minutes per resident depending on how much help they can be with the process.  If they had a major BM blowout, it is going to take a lot longer.  (Oh and if it is that resident’s shower day, you need to add on another 20 minutes to get them to the shower room, into a shower chair, shower them and then get them dressed.)  Some we can roll into the bathroom and they do their own wash up/teeth while we go to the next room to begin the process again.  Lifts require a second person there to spot you so we bounce around on the unit helping each other a lot.

So needless to say, when it dropped to just 3 aides on Saturday, it was insane.  Yesterday we had one person leave sick at 12, and another aide was only scheduled to work a partial shift, so we did it with 3 aides again.

I was exhausted when I got home both nights, and into bed very early.  12.5 hours of pushing through that and eating lunch on the fly (thankfully yesterday we had a quiet time while most residents were in watching a live performance) and praying no one had a fall, blow-out or other crisis.

We got through this weekend due to teamwork.  The 3 of us working pulled together and ran interference for and with each other.  Our nurses pitched in where and when they could and we made it work.  And NONE of us want to have to do that again.  But we know it will happen, it always does in winter thanks to heavy snow days, illness, and sadly laziness at times.

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My hat is off to my teammates this weekend, we rocked it!
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