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.

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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!

 

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Wine & Cheese ~ 1st Serving 2017

wineandcheese2Most Wednesdays I devote a blog to whining. Despite being a really happy, positive person, I do have things that annoy me at times. I never let anything grate on my nerves for long but thought it would be fun to vent them periodically in my blogs. I also feel that good things, the cheese in life, should be acknowledged as well. I’m even going to throw in a bit of dessert, a piece of virtual chocolate, something that made me laugh or smile just a bit more than normal. If you’d like to read the past editions of Wine & Cheese just search past postings. Sit back and join me now for a serving of some whine and cheese!

 ~*~ ~*~ ~*~

 WINE WHINE

😦  I know, I know, it has been WAY too long since I wrote a Wine & Cheese post! In fact I couldn’t find a single one from 2016 when I searched my archives….oops! So, since it was my most read post(s), I’m bringing it back!

😦  Figures that I’m off work today, because the past several have been beautiful, sunny days but not today. No, today it is overcast and spitting rain now and then. This is not making me very pleased.

😦  I was so hoping my new pedometer would arrive before I had to go run errands, but not yet.

😦  Seriously, I know that some things are not visible, and there is maybe a reason someone is parked in a handicapped spot that is not evident, so this isn’t about you. But darlin’, if you can park there, then walk the entire super-sized grocery store, mall etc, you do NOT need that spot. Or if you park there only to leave said person who does need it, sitting in the car the entire time you are doing the shopping, SHAME ON YOU! Some of us have to wrestle a wheelchair out of the car and get between our car and the next one to get someone out and into that chair. I get that some folks need it on one day and not the next, but if it is not the day you need it, or your handicapped passenger is remaining in the car, then please, find another spot so those who do happen to need it that day can use it!

CHEESE

🙂  Enough of that, time to smile! I’m celebrating today, it is #woohooWednesday and I have a woohoo! I’m down 14 pounds today, the end of week 3 in my program to take back my health! That means 56 pounds of pressure is OFF of my knees! I have energy like you cannot imagine, I can barely sit still! And it is all science based eating, no supplements/pills, just food!

🙂  I’m rocking this 2nd shift life of mine! It is like having two full days in one! On first shift I’d come home and be tired, didn’t feel like doing much of anything. Or I’d fall asleep while trying to do some reading or crocheting. Now I get 8 hours of great sleep a night, rise by 8am, have 6 hours to knock it out of the park with whatever I need to do, then go to work! I have a ton of energy at work, thanks in part to my new lease on health as I drop the weight, and I’m ready to sleep when I get home! I LOVE this!

🙂  My job..what can I say? I love working in health care, love being and STNA/MA-C and I love my sweet dementia residents! I never imagined loving a job as much as I do this one!

DESSERT

The struggle is so very real!

crochet-pattern-addiction

 

My Journey Begins

I made a decision a few days back, the decision to take back my health. I’m about to turn 54 and I’m not at all where I know I need to be to keep up the pace in my job or to live much longer as a healthy, functioning person.

I have an old and dear friend who has lost 93 pounds and kept it off for 3 years now. She looks totally amazing and is healthy along with having oodles of energy. I would look at her before and after photos and think “I want that”, but wasn’t willing to just spend 30 minutes sitting down to talk with her because I knew it was going to cost money and a change in lifestyle.

Now after 2 years of working as a STNA, I know that I must do something. I’ve tried various diets, programs etc over the years and that didn’t do it. I even changed a few things, but I’m still sitting back at 185 (down from 199 but holding) and my body is saying some not so nice things to me at the end of my shifts. 7 years ago I was at 155, still heavier than I should have been but 30 pounds less than today.  My blood pressure is creeping upward too, into the high range, no doubt from lugging me around.

I now work in an assisted living memory care community, so I’m not pushing and pulling lifts with bodies on them (a broda chair alone can weigh 90 pounds before you put the resident in it for the day, adding 200 to make a total of 290 pounds to push and pull up hallways), but I’m on my feet for 8 hours and still doing some lifting and a lot of squatting-to-standing. I need a change.

I don’t just want that, I want THAT!!!!

My daughter-in-law got with this friend of mine (we all go way back) and started down her journey and has lost a sizable amount toward her own goal. She even decided to take the plunge and become a health coach. She is now my coach. And when I start seeing success I’m jumping in too so I can help other people make a healthy turn around.

I plan to post photos, blog entries and encouragement for others who want some inspiration. And if you see the results you seek you can contact me and I’ll hook you up with my health coach.

Yes, it is a financial investment in the beginning, but I realized looking over my bank statement that I actually spend about this amount on iced coffees, breakfast and lunch at the drive thru when working, or when I’m out and hungry. I’ve invested a lot of money to get here, a little more to get healthy only makes sense.

Day One will be as soon as my tools and food arrive (and yes you do transition to your own foods over time), when I will post my official weight for the start of the journey and photos. I’m sticking myself out there because where I am now doesn’t matter as much as where I’m going to be!

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.

 

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!

 

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…

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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!

Friday Coffee Musings…

Close up of cup of coffee with pink roseIt is FRIDAY BABY!!! And I’m off, for 3 wonderful days that will have wonderful weather to enjoy.  In fact, MARVELOUS weather!  I’m sitting here at my desk with the window open, breeze gently blowing and drinking my favorite beverage, coffee.  Life is simply amazing! The last time I was off 3 days in a row, well I was sick and in bed so that doesn’t really count for much outside of sleeping.

I slept in today, 10 hours, 12 minutes of deep, restful sleep.  That too was outstanding and energizing.

UntitledLast step of the current hooker project is putting the border on this gorgeous baby blanket, then blocking it before it goes up for sale.  Blankets 5 & 6 are in production, as well as ruffle scarves, washcloths, baby booties and some other items.  Once we have the suggest minimum of 10 items the store front will go live.  Seriously, who wants to shop a store that only has one or two items? Um, no one really, I’d keep walking by that one in any mall.  Same as online, if you don’t have things to browse, you won’t get much business.

Being away for a few days sick really made me miss my sweet old souls at work.  It was good to be back, and even better to be told by them how much they missed me.  My one dear lady, after assisting her with her morning routine, said “oh Martha, I don’t know what I’d do without you!”, which made me feel so good inside.  We don’t make much, but you cannot put a price on that appreciation right there.  Sure, I could cut corners but then I would not be providing the level of care they deserve and pay for, and God sees what I do/don’t do regardless.  I do answer to the Highest power, after all.  Brings home the “whatsoever you do to the least of these” concept when someone depends on you for simple things like using the bathroom, bathing, getting turned over in bed, dressing etc.

Mom and I had coffee this morning, in our favorite arm chairs in the living room.  I love my off days for this, we talk about everything under the sun, one would think we’d run out of things to say!  Then it was off to run errands and have lunch.  I often look back over my shoulder down that road of life, the one that is a one-way trip, and see now that 6 years ago when my life fell apart, it was a blessing in disguise.  I’d prayed to get out of the lifestyle I was living, just didn’t imagine when I asked God to change the hubster’s heart so we could break free of it and I could be done with the swinger crap, that it would get changed in a way that meant I’d be released to pursue better things.  That blessing was spending my mom’s last years with her, sharing daily together our frustrations, smiles, laughter and making memories. While talking this morning we touched on the fact that when mom reaches the end stages with this cancer, it could get messy.  She wants to remain at home, with hospice caring for her here rather than in a cold, sterile hospital or in a care facility.  I realized then that my ending up getting my CNA certification and state level certification was no accident.  This was never on my employment radar, I even balked against it, yet now cannot imagine doing anything else.  When mom’s time grows really short, she’ll need the very kind of care I’ve been trained to provide.  My niece is also state certified, and my sister is the top dog of a long term care facility and hospice nurse.  One could say we’ve got this, it’s handled.  Who knew when God dragged my sorry butt kicking and screaming down this road into the health care field that one day in the not so distant future it would be needed most on the home front?  He works in mysterious ways sometimes.  For now, all is pretty good, but we know each day is bringing it closer to the end when along this road will come a bench with her name on it, and she’ll take her place there to wait on the bus from Heaven, and we’ll keep walking on without her. I don’t think about it or dwell on that.  I’m not in denial, it simply is not time to be dealing with that. We’ll cross the bridge when we arrive there.

Well those projects won’t hook themselves, so I’m off to join my cat, all stretched out and relaxing on the bed, with my yarn, crochet hook and another cup of coffee!  YOU all have a marvelous afternoon!

Back To Sneeze, Cough, Blow…UGH

Nothing says hello Spring like allergies going nuts.  Mine are out of control.  At least I assume that is it, I really don’t feel bad other than my head is stuffy, nose running, and coughing up yuck.  Oh, and my voice taking its semi-annual hiatus.  I cannot sleep well because I cannot breathe, so I am tired.  This just sucks.

I’ve been working a lot, and when not working just being.  Life is just nuts it seems. I don’t feel like doing a lot to be honest.  But then came the annual all-church journey again, so now I have a direction.  I’m going to be Brave, and attempt to get my non-fiction book finished. I also want to build up my Avon business.  Means I need to focus on my One Word for this year, 4 months into it already, DISCIPLINE.  And that is the very last thing I wanted to do, get disciplined and actually do something.

I believe it is a good thing to mentally and physically just exist, take a  break from everything in life outside of what you must do, like earn a living.  Trouble is being careful not to unpack and live in that space and time.  I’ve cleaned my room, purged my closet, started working on projects for my Etsy store, started ramping up my AVON business again, and now I’m going to focus on writing a book.  Hey, nothing like zero to ninety over night! This is going to be interesting.

Meanwhile? Well work is awesome.  No really, it is.  Sure, I feed adults, change their diapers, bathe them, help them to the bathroom, get them dressed, transport them around the facility as needed, keep an eye on things their nurses need to know, talk with them, love on them…and it really is an incredible job.  I leave there knowing I did something that matters that day.  I only wish it wasn’t so darn physical because at nearly 53 it is killing me!  I log 20,000+ steps in a work day, pull, push, roll folks and their chairs weighing as much as 275 pounds for 12.5 hours. But I cannot imagine not doing it.  I work with a great team of aides, especially the other half of Team M&M (Marti and Marianne).  I’m actually looking forward to going to work tomorrow and Sunday because she and I get it done together.  I wish I had found this long ago!

I’ll keep you updated on the book progress, and if you want to purchase any lipstick, you know where to find me!

 

 

 

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! 😉

 

9.5 Wonderful Hours

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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