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If dead rock stars are singing on the rivet line tonight, in the Home, people are just waiting to die. She is neither an old poop or a good sport, just another lady on the Death Watch. Circling the drain, as we say. Her myriad family has left at last, left her to rest in peace, which she will do very soon. The nurse wanders down the hall to check on her. 9:30. She will check at least once more before she leaves ag 11. The lady sounds a bit gurgle. She could do with some more morphine. The nurse will provide, as she provides for all 24 other residents in her charge. Just another day in the Home.

Tales of Angry Nurse

Today's entry brought to you by the letter "I shouldn't have gotten so pissed" and the number "but still!"

So I work in long term care. It sucks. I work second shift. It really fucking sucks. And blows. Our supervisor, Bitch Face, has it in for us. She thinks our shift is full of a bunch of the luckiest sucks that ever sucked. Each time we come in, she's bitching about something new. She's convinced none of the aides do last rounds, leaving the residents wet. That might happen very rarely. But if it did, third shift would bitch more. The one aide BF has it in for is really good. Her people are always bone dry when she leaves. And, you know, first shift can leavenpeople soaked in piss, with their beds up to the fucking ceiling, but what the fuck. They do no wrong.

And then tonight, I got in a fight with a resident. I know I was wrong. I shouldn't have let the bitch get to me. What happened was I was the third nurse. I was over on the north side doing some work while the other nurse, S., was at lunch. I had to pee, so I went to the bathroom. That's when I heard Evil Lady yelling. I came out and she said "the man across from me, he's yelling for help and he's on the floor. When another nurse, K. And I got in there, the dudes feet were on the floor. The rest of him was in bed. I said "geeze, EL, you acted like it was a national emergency! He's fine." She then flipped and said if I had to pee, I should get someone to cover for me (um, who, exactly? I was in the bathroom for 3 minutes), he'd been yelling for an hour (bullshit. I was in that hall during that hour and didn't hear him at all) and that "you work for me.N

Yearly Recap

This was an eventful year for me.  One year ago today, I held a letter in my hand.  It was a letter a long time in writing, and that I was afraid to send.  But, with Husband's support, send it I did.  And now I have a whole new family. I've talked to my dad on the phone, I've met a lot of his family and it's been really great.  They've all been really welcoming and supportive, and I'm so glad I sent that letter.
So, I work as a nurse in Long Term Care.  It's not exactly fun, but it pays the bills.  I also work 2nd shift, which sucks donkey dongs, especially when you have 3 kids, but what can you do?

At my facility (ok, Nursing Home) our main doctor is pretty realistic.  She doesn't often order aggressive treatment and she knows when a person has had enough.  She's pretty cool, in my opinion. 

With that in mind, we have a lady who was recently admitted to Hospice.  She's still on the skilled floor, we still give her her meds and sometimes do her treatment.  She has gangrene of the left foot with four toes involved.  It's starting to spread up into her ankle.  Her antibiotics were stopped in the beginning of October, when she went on Hospice.  At that time she got a new order for a Fentanyl patch and her Oxycodone was increased to 2.5 mg at 8 AM and 2 PM and 5 mg at 8 PM.  Also at that time, they discontinued her tube feeding.  We used to hang it at 8 PM and let it run all morning.  She would eat a purreed meal with nectar thickend liquids for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Well, she still gets her purreed meal.  This past weekend, I had her and the first shift nurse said nothing about getting her up.  All she said was we were doing comfort measures, which involve turning and positioning her every 2 hours, keeping her in bed, feeding her in her room, basically keeping her comfortable. 

Now, her family would have to be on board with her going on Hospice.  And they have to know how bad her foot is.  You can smell it out in the hall, through a dressing, a sock, a podus boot and her covers.  As you get further into her room, the smell gets worse.  She will go septic from the gangrene and she will die.  It's only a matter of time.

So, why then on Sunday as we were feeding people supper, did her daughter come in and freak out that she was being given comfort measures?  I thought the daughter knew this.  She kept insisting that comfort measures meant there had been a decline, and she should have been informed.  I said as far as I knew, we were keeping her in bed.  She insisted that her mother had been up for lunch on Saturday.  I said how the  first shift nurse didn't say anything to me about that.  There was nothing about that on report on in the nurse's notes.  The daughter could not understand what was going on.  I said "but, she's on Hospice."  Before I got two more words out the daughter said "yes.  The hospice nurse said she's fine."  Buh?  Yeah, fine as in she's not having shallow breathing and mottling.  Not fine as in she's gonna get up and go home, tap dancing all the way.  The daughter insisted we get her out of bed.  "She has to eat."  I explained that just because someone stays in her room does not mean that she doesn't eat, and that one of the aides would be in to feed her mother.  Not good enough.  Now this woman is on a full body lift, obviously, so it took two aides to get her up.  When they went in and asked the resident' "do you want to get up?"  she said "no."  Her daughter said "oh, no, Mom, you're getting up.  How else are you going to get better?"  WTF?!?  How else she'd get better is by having her leg amputated below the knee, an operation she would never survive. 

The daughter said she was going to call and speak to someone on Monday.  Please, do.  Because you need to understand what is going on here.  I know you love your mom, but you need to realize that she is going to pass away.  I thought the hospice people and the social worker would have explained all this to her.  Maybe they did, and the denial is just too strong for her to believe what's really going to happen.  But don't come in and cuss me out because I'm providing comfort measures to a woman for whom they have been recommended, and who needs them. 


AAArrrghhhh!!

Writer's Block: Cover me

Which songs have been covered better by artists who didn't originally sing them?


"Life is a Highway." Rascall Flatts version is 100 times better than the original.
We all had a very bad time last weekend. An extremely bad time. And our bad luck extended to those who tried to help us.

It started because H. decided to attend the HS graduation of some friend of her's from online. Which would be ok, except he lives in SC. We live in PA. It was going to be quite a drive. Her not so brilliant plan was to get up early from her minimal sleep, work all day, come home & finish packing, leave here at 8:20 at night, drive all night, arrive at the grad, then sleep & drive back Sunday so she was here for work on Monday.

So she did leave. She was driving through WV. Meanwhile, I was at work. I was supposed to meet up with some friends for a birthday party. But by the time I got there, I found I'd missed my friend by about 10 minutes. I rarely go out, so I was bummed. I was driving home, thinking "I'd better at least get lucky." Well, I was frustrated & dissapointed & I brought my mood home with me. I bitched at Husband, who was on the phone with H when I got home. We sat & watched tv for a while, then went upstairs. By then it was 1:50 AM. Husband was in the bathroom & his cell started ringing in the bedroom. Then the house phone rang once. Then his cell again. I said I was getting freaked. I checked the phone & the calls were from H. Then the house phone rang again & I answered it. It was H. She said she'd swerved to miss a deer (which may have been a lack-of-sleep induced hallucination) and she'd left the road, bounced off a guard rail, thru a field, went air born at some point & took out a sign. After assuring H was ok, Husband & I descended in to a bitter, miserable, 2 hour fight. It was awful. When, near the end of it, H called again, Husband asked if she wanted him to come get her. Her response" "I can't ask you to do that." Translation: yes. We all got some sleep & she called at about 9 Sat. AM. By then, she had definately decided Husband should come get her. She was 5 hours away. UGH!!

Husband asked his friend A to go with him, because I, of course, had to work. He & A left around noon. He took my car because they were expecting to pack up H's car with all the shit therein, & my car has more room. Also, she's a better car than Husband's car. I decided to be nice & give Husband my keys, because I have the clicky-thing that opens the car & he doesn't. I took his car keys, even tho I have my own, with a clicky-thing for his car. I went to work, which was kinda suck-tastic, but it always is. I had left Youngest with my friend A, who was alone with her 3 kids while her husband was a fire camp.

My friend A texted me & asked me to bring hair dye home when I came to get Youngest. I stopped at Slops & got some. It was raining.

A note about the weather. 5/31 marked the 25th anniversary of some deadly tornadoes (a few of which were F4) that came thru the area. Since that day, from 6/1-6/6, we've had tornado watches & warnings every single day. There were thunderstorms all over the place.

So I was leaving Slops with A's hair dye, thinking how I couldn't wait to get home. It was raining, as I mentioned, as it had been for a while. I was just about to A's house when I remmebered. While Husband doesn't keep all of his keys on the same key ring, I do. He had my keys. All of my keys. Including my house key. Son of a motherfucking bitch!!!!

I called Husband & told him of my plight. He had called me at 10 PM, saying he was already in PA. Turned out he was wrong. So when I called him at 11:45, stressed, distressed, a generally a mess, he was still 30 miles south of Pittsburgh. I cried. Husband suggested getting a ladder out of the garage to try & break in to the dining room window. Um, no.

I got to A's & told her what was going on. Youngest & I stayed there until Husband called. I settled on her couch. I was watching tv, when a tornado watch came on. Great, now I have to stay awake so I can save everyone else. I pretty much did stay awake with the help of a the thunderstorm that was going on. The one with the shit ton of rain. The one that produced the flash flood warning. Also, I was so bored I actually read the first 30 or so pages of "Twilight," god help me.

Finally, they called. They were just passing Edinboro. I went upstairs to find Youngest awake. He had been woken up by the storm. I took him downstairs, passing a huge pile of dog shit, & got him ready to go. We walked out on to the porch. I locked her door & pulled it closed. That's when I turned around & saw the street was flooded. FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK!!!!!!! I would have tried it but husband's car is so low to the ground there was no chance. I sat in the car with Youngest, waiting for the lightning and or tornado to come & get us. I waited about 10 minutes before I saw some more street & decided to make a break for it.

Meanwhile, H was all bruised. Her head is all mushy from where she knocked out the rearview mirror with it. And she was depressed as hell. She was wondering when her "life became the universe's biggest joke?" All she was trying to do was "something." Oh & did I mention she had recently paid off her car? The one that's now probably totaled? Yeah.

And to top it off, Husband's friend A's mom fell & broke her arm while he was away. She may have to do some rehab. And my friend A fell & near about broke her ankle.

All in all, an extemely sucky weekend.

I got boned by work today

I'm so pissed I can't think straight. One of the first shift nurses, M., quit a couple weeks ago. The next in line for her job was B., then me. I had heard a rumor that they hired someone from outside for the position, but I didn't believe it. I thought, "no, they couldn't do something that rotten." I've been trying to get on 1st for 18 months & B. has been trying for longer. She mostly works first with some 2nd thrown in.

Today, I found out it's true. They did hire someone new. She's fresh out of school, too. Little bitch.

I can't believe they screwed us like this! I've never complained when they've pulled me to work on different units. I've worked every fucking weekend for a fucking year now. I've done everything they've asked me to do. And this is my fucking thanks.

I'm gonna talk to my boss tomorrow & find out what the fuck she was thinking when she did this. I didn't today cuz I was so pissed I was afraid I'd say something bad. I'm still so mad tho.

And So This Is Christmas

And my friend H. had to have her dog, Cody, put down last night.

I actually met Cody first. He was a boarder collie (mix?) who lived next door to us when we lived on 32nd street. His original person was a guy named Neighbor, who lived next to us with his wife, Unnamed. Everytime you'd go outside, Cody would bark his lungs out. I think it was part of his nature. He was protecting his herd, such as it was.

We moved from 32nd street & H. & her husband S. moved in. About a year later, Neighbor's wife passed. Apparently, Neighbor's sister-in-law owned that house, & after her sister died, she kicked her brother-in-law out within 30 days. Such a loving family! Neighbor had to leave but had no place to take Cody, so H. & S. took him in. And Cody lost his first set of parents. He was a little neurotic & I don't know if that made him worse, but he was still basically a good dog. Except when me & Husband were over there once when Youngest was about a year old & Youngest got a little too close to Cody's food bowl. He got chomped pretty good. Oh & when H. & S. went out to buy Cody food on the night before Thanksgiving & he took that 20 minutes as an opportunity to consume their pumpkin pie. So they had to drive all over town looking for another one. They finally did find one, but it took awhile.

In June of last year, Cody lost his new daddy when H. lost her husband. So he became a little more neurotic. He moved in here with H. about a year ago. He & our dog, Bailey, began a pissing contest. Ugh! He bit me hard on St. Patrick's Day, which upset H. He bit Youngest a couple more times, the most recent being last week. He & Bailey crapped everywhere. If you went out, they'd destroy the garbage, drag it all over the kitchen floor, then piss & shit in it.

But Cody also had something go wrong with him. It started around Thanksgiving. We noticed his left eye was draining & was hard for him to open. We assumed one of the cats swiped at him & got his eye, & that there was an infection in it. H. too him to the Emergency Vet ($88 just to walk in the freaking door) & was told there was no scratch & they didn't know what was wrong. They gave him antibiotics & painkillers. During the ensuing weeks, he'd scatch at it & cry sometimes. After a couple days he was able to open it. Then it started clouding over with red. At first just they edge was red rimmed, but slowly the whole eye was engulfed. It looked terrible. H. took him to the vet last monday & they said keep doing what we're doing & recheck this week. Last night he gave 3 options. Take him to a canine opthamologist in Buffalo (um, yeah ,right.) Remove his eye, which would cost about $500 without the recommended biopsy, or euthanize. Cody was about 12 or 13, he was hurting, & H. just couldn't afford the other options. So with many tears, she went ahead & did option 3. I was with her because I didn't want her to be alone at a time like that. So they sedated him, which doped him enough that they could take off the muzzle, & then they gave him the shot. We were with him the whole time.

Now, I'll be the first to admit, I'm not a dog person. I don't actively dislike them like my Husband does, but I don't have the patience for them like some people do. I'm much more of a cat person. And I will also confess (to you my brothers and sisters) that I was secretly kinda glad that Cody was going away. My house is disgusting. I'm tired of the beasts destroying it. And we're moving soon so that would be another house that got destroyed. A more expensive house. But, while part of me kept thinking "we're getting rid of a dog!" part of me didn't really believe he would be dying yesterday. But he did. And I feel like a complete shitheep. I feel terrible for H. She loved the dog & he was one of her last connections with S. When we got home yesterday, we were talking about medication ads & how they always mention the horrifying side effects that can come with the pills they're shilling. And H. said something about the antidepressants, how they say they may increase thoughts of suicide. She said "I don't need a pill for that!" I'm just so afraid this is gonna drive her over the edge.

So, the mood around my house is sad this week before Christmas Day. The kids are bummed. Husband & I are fighting our conflicting happy/sad/guilt feelings. H. is one step closer to the edge. And Bailey is freaked. After all, if we got rid of one dog, who's to say the same thing can't happen to him.

Didn't mean to get so long or so dreary. I hope everyone has a good holiday.

Writer's Block: Concert mania

What band are you dying to see live in concert that you've never seen before? Would you travel to a different city or state just to see them?
This is too easy!  Blackmore's Night.  And we're going to see them next week in Cleveland.  The last part of this question is odd to me, as around here  it is not unusual at all to have to travel to Cleveland, Pittsburgh or Buffalo to see a good concert. 

It has happened.

With every job I have, I eventually reach a level of fed-up-edness.  I am realizing that I am getting to that point with my current job.  Now, there are certain things that I can deal with.  It's repetitive.  It's the same basic thing every day; come in, find out what's going on, shove pills down their throats, deal with the many disasters that you know will happen, leave, possibly get bitched at by bosses for not doing something correctly when you've never been told how to do it in the first place.  Whatever.  I can deal with that for now.  And that's going to be the same no matter what LTC facility I work at.  It's the nature of long term care.  The meds/med times might change, depending on the doctors, but it's pretty much the same people all the time. 

But what's getting to me is the every damn weekend thing.  I've been doing this for almost exactly 7 months now.  And that's what I'm over.  Yeah, it's nice to have time off during the week, but there's lots of things on the weekend that I'd like to do, but I can't cuz I have to work.  And work 2nd shift.  I get out at 11, which isn't too bad, but still.  I don't have a lot of time to spend with my husband or Youngest.  And today, we have a schedule snafu, which wouldn't be an issue if I worked 1st shift.  I'd be home by then.  I'm more of a first shift person, anyway.  I was thinking it'd be harder, med-pass wise, but I don't think it would.  There'd be the big med pass when you first get there, then that's it.  A few noon meds, a few 2 pm & the treatments & you're done.  Of course, the big bosses would be there during the day.   And that's usually when the doctors come in, but I've had the doctors come in on my shift, too.  It's not so bad. 

We're opening a new building soon. So  I'm gonna make sure they know I still want 1st shift, & that if I do work 1st, I don't have to work weekends only.  I can go back to full time, or at least 8 days (modified full time) & can have every other weekend off.  I can get my holiday time off, I can maybe not have to work Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve & Christmas Day, I can have more time with the kids.  The only thing that would really have to change is Ex & I would have to start dropping off rather than picking up.  He can be as inflexible as a board, so I"m not sure how that will go over, but he'll just have to deal.  I hope this works.

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