I Got Pooped On Today

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.

image1

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!

 

Advertisements

So You’re Putting Mom/Dad In A Nursing Home: Do’s And Don’ts

I know from personal experience that making the decision to put a loved one in a long term care facility (ie: Nursing Home) is tough. So let me help you with a few things I’ve learned from experience as the aide taking care of the residents. Trust me, I’m a damn good one, and I know from caring for these residents a few things that will hopefully help you and mom or dad.

This is not the place for items of great value. Yes, mother’s beloved wedding band set is precious to her, but seriously consider a simple band. No, the staff isn’t interested in taking it or anything else she has, but if there is any chance it could come off her hand, it could be lost forever. That expensive vase, jewelry in the box, etc, just doesn’t have a good place here. See, some folks may be in early to late stages of dementia. They will wander and sometimes relocate items. They do not know understand what they are doing. We the staff refer to it as “going shopping”, because they truly are not trying to steal it, they see it, and have no ability to reason that it is not their item, heck in their confused mind they may think it is their’s. Oh we do make every effort to get shopped items back to the owners but think it through before you bring items of value into the facility.

When it comes to clothing, please please please put their name in it. Use a sharpie, have special tags sewn in to the items, but make sure you have every stitch of clothing labeled, including socks. Yes, even if you are going to do their laundry and bring it back. See, sometimes in the heat of the moment when cleaning up a ‘code brown’ (a major bowel movement explosion) that is all over your parent, the floor, their clothing could end up tied in a plastic bag and put in the facility laundry. Seriously you might be thankful if it does after the first time you get to rip into such a bag that we stick in mama’s hamper. We want to be sure the clothing gets back to the correct resident! This includes lap blankets, any bedding that is personal, etc. Countless times when doing rounds we find a blanket in the activity room that does not look familiar (or it was shopped from a room and restocked to another) and we don’t have a clue who it belongs too because it lacks a label/name.

Another point about clothing, please understand this is not the time in mama’s life for her to be dressed in the latest fashions, especially if form fitting. Find nice, attractive clothing and think about the fact that she needs assistance dressing. A size larger than needed makes it much easier for us to get her dressed in the morning, and change her clothes if there is a code brown or she gets food on herself. Elderly skin is onion skin thin and a skin tear can happen even when the utmost care is taken, and these are so painful and often don’t heal quickly. Remember too, daddy is declining, that is why you are placing them in our care, so think about the fact that he is going to get food stains on his clothing. We often have shirt savers (adult bibs/dining wear) but even though we try to keep them clean, things do get on clothing. Think comfortable, practical, and affordable. Also, think extra items. Remember, they do sometimes go through clothing like they are toddlers again and we need to have plenty to change them into. We want them clean and looking nice as much as you do.  Also, think warm! Elderly folks are always cold, they cannot regulate their body temperature anymore so believe it or not sweat shirts, sweaters, long sleeves etc, really are year round attire! Shop at end of season clearance sales for these items, because they will wear them all year round!

I’ve seen families get upset over the facility putting mom or dad in a hospital gown rather than their jammies. We check and change them during the night, every 2 to 3 hours. Those jammie sets are cute, but when we have to roll them back and forth extra times to get the pants off before we get to their brief (adult diaper), it is not fun for them at all. The less movement the less they wake up and the better their night of sleep will be. And elderly don’t have the flexibility they used too. Hospital gowns tie in back making it much easier to get on and off. If mama loves those flannel gowns, then maybe consider cutting them up the back and adding ties to them. After all, in her bed, recliner or chair, no one can see her back, but she is warm and it is far easier to get her in and out of her nightgown. Velcro is also a great trick!

Want to get something for them? SOCKS! If they still wear shoes, then consider what is comfy in the shoes, but if not, nice thick socks are the way to go! So few of my residents seem to have enough socks. Oh, and write their name or room number on the bottom of each sock with a sharpie! And for those who do walk, good non-slip footwear!

Those are just a few of the tips I can think of that would help your loved one and the staff to help make this a better experience!

 

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.

 

Poop Picasso & Monsters

5213647_zps4hstrozwKeep Calm, I’m An STNA

This weekend was life in the CNA trenches again. With only one day off, I worked 4 days and was in continuing education training for 2 days.  Arriving at the facility and working short both days this weekend iced this cupcake and added sprinkles.

I was running on fumes for energy Saturday, my coworker and other half of what we have dubbed ourselves, Team M&M noticed I wasn’t my usual, spunky self.  She was just back from a stretch of 10 days off and disappointed that I wasn’t ‘me’.  It was hard to find me under the exhaustion and working with 3 of us doing the job of the normal 5.  We were grateful when a 4th came in, but still short staffed just sucks.

Sunday morning I stopped for a triple size, Absolute Zero Monster.  I know when it is time to push the liquid, will-likely-kill-you energy drinks.  I’m told 16 ounces in one day is the maximum anyone should consume, so 24 ounces seemed a safe risk.  I was back to singing and dancing with the residents.  I even managed to shave the one who never allows me to touch him – SCORE!

One of my residents is seriously constipated, maybe boarding on impacted.  This one, being in pain and having a hemorrhoid issue that was irritated 100x from the back up, was opting for self relief.  Dementia suffers will do that, and then become poop Picasso artists as they attempt to wipe the poop from their hands…on sheets, walls, pillows, gowns, their own hair…yes it is just delightful to come in and find this artwork.  Night shift bore the brunt of that, but during the day when napping, my little resident channeled their inner creative juices.  OH the joy.

I’m happy to say that after all the hard work, and staying up late enough to help my sister lug an old dresser to the curb under the cover of darkness for the trash folks to pick up (by appointment no less), I slept in today until 10:30am.  The only reason I got up at all was the need to use the bathroom. Now I feel refreshed and back to my silly, crazy self.  I just amused the neighbors by waltzing out to stick something in the mailbox for pick-up, in a plush robe, my Hello Kitty slippers with the huge pink bows on top, and sport a gold medal, award winning bed-head.  Don’t judge, but be jealous. You know you are! 😉