This first picture (I’ve used elsewhere on here) is me , my Mom and Melissa. This 2nd picture is since my mom had a stroke. In 2002 she had a stroke, spent 6 weeks in the hospital and then 6 weeks in a rehab to home program in a nursing home. I thank God that this was before I was a nurse! I genuinely think I was clueless about nursing homes at the time. In 2015 my husband had a diving accident and spent 3 weeks in Carle clinic a ‘trauma center/hospital”. I noticed E V E R Y T H I N G the staff did whether it was right or wrong and I acted a fool several times when they did something I didn’t like.
So imagine that feeling for your loved one!
Better yet imagine a nurse (and their are many) that take their job personally, to heart, wearing their heart on their sleeve! It is emotionally draining to be a nurse no matter what! Then to add 30+ human beings to it and 2 med passes in 8 hours and then threats if you work over, threats if you don’t, threats on your license you caused and didn’t. 30 human beings with a past, with a heart and a mind and a family that sees them how they were and wants you so badly to see that person the way they do so that you never forget that YOU are the person they are counting on to take care of their Mom who raised them fearlessly, or their Dad that never let them down and they don’t want to let him down. Being a “nurse in a nursing home” whether you are a CNA, LPN, RN (Rob Good you are my super hero) is no easy task and it is so very hard to be present in their everyday life and then go home and pretend like nursing homes are equipped to take care of someone’s loved one in a way that will ease your mind enough that you can go to bed and sleep without a heavy heart!!!!
They say nursing is one of or the most trusted profession, well let me say a couple of things about that! 1: I know how to do nursing by the book and anyone that tells you that nursing home nursing can be done by the book is a big fat liar! You can’t take care of 30 resident’s in a way that follows what “the state” claims they expect and what the very same people know is the reality!! 2: The thing I heard most or the compliment I held nearest to my heart as a nurse is/was: “Sunshine it is obvious how much you genuinely care for your people” I believe that more often than not nurses want to do a good job for their patients/residents and many nurses have varying ideas on what that is!
Every nurse has their thing they are good at, something they aren’t good at, something they stay away from at all cost (I am terrible with phlegm) and of course it can never be at all cost because nurses take care of business. That is our job under any and every circumstance!
What does it mean to be a “good nurse”?
Kati Kleber, RN
“There is something about a good nurse. Having a nursing license and job doesn’t make you a good nurse. Working for 30 years doesn’t make you a good nurse. It’s not about being a good IV starter or being best friends with all of the physicians.
It’s so much less defined and measurable than that. It isn’t measured in letters after your name, certifications, professional affiliations or by climbing the clinical ladder.
It’s something you feel when you see a good nurse care for their patients. It’s that security you see in their patient’s eyes when they come in to care for them. It’s that nurse whose patient’s family member will finally go home to sleep and shower because they know their loved one is cared for with that nurse.
Pretty early on in my nursing career I started planning an escape. Looking back I realize this was much like relationships I didn’t want to be in. I would stay because it was easier then starting anything new. At times I would stay in spite of how miserable I was……..in nursing and in relationships. Additionally I may not have left if someone hadn’t opened the door and shoved me through!
I quickly came to loathe the feeling that I couldn’t change things that bothered me such as passing pills to 29-54 people twice in an 8 hour shift and deal with emergencies and trying to give everyone the time and attention they deserve!! So many times I’ve tried to understand why these hardworking retired folks are treated like it is a nuisance when they ask a person (being paid to take care of them) to take them to the bathroom. An even better question is : Why does the person being paid to take care of your mom taking care of a minimum of 7 other people, therefore making it difficult to take everyone of these often physically or mentally impaired or both to the bathroom every time they ask, or every 2 hours if they can’t ask. The reality of it is: your mom is lucky if she get’s taken to the bathroom twice in an 8 hour shift!
—-In 2012, total spending (public, out-of-pocket and other private spending) for long-term care was $219.9 billion, or 9.3% of all U.S. personal health care spending. This is projected to increase to $346 billion in 2040.42 [Updated February 2015]—-42 National Health Policy Forum (2014) The Basics: National Spending for Long-Term Services and Supports. Retrieved (January 2015) from http://www.nhpf.org/library/the-basics/Basics_LTSS_03-27-14.pdf
I have been pondering the whole “nursing in a nursing home” thing lately. I’ve come to realize I can’t see where anyone actually knows what happens in nursing homes, like no one even discusses it. Well I’m really thinking I’m going to write some posts that are candid about “nursing in a nursing home”
I started this post last Sunday (7/22/18) It feels as though everyday is a fight against/with depression. I don’t know the last time I “checked in” with myself but I know that every time I “check in” (or maybe every other time) with myself the conversation sounds about the same “why am I so tired and in so much pain” “have I been absent from mindfulness for so many minutes, hours, days, weeks that I have forgotten something important” “have I been taking my medicine” “this can’t be a normal way to feel”
Sunday’s seem to be the worse for self reflection. Especially if things haven’t been great for me!
Since I didn’t complete that post I will use this as an opportunity to point out the difference a week can make!
I am in a much better mood this Sunday. I’m sitting here now, reflecting on the last week. I am not sure what has contributed to this better mood but instead of coming up with something to answer the above question, my mind wondered off to many other things! Before I moved back to Decatur in 2013 I had very little opportunity for stability which meant I was always rushing through things because I knew something would soon be changing ie: where I lived, where I worked, going to school and so on. Now for the first time I have lived in the same place for 5 years and I was working at the same place for 5 years. I’ve been in the same place long enough to see the 3 younger kids have all graduated high school and have went to college and are living on their own. I’m rambling aren’t I? Well to reign it all in: I’ve never had the stability that I now have which has afforded me the opportunity to catch up with myself and even start to like myself! I just registered for college again! I’ve always wanted to get a bachelors degree and I’ve always wanted to get paid for doing something I like…..helping people…….but nursing wasn’t meant to be forever……..
To understand why nursing wasn’t meant to be forever I am writing another post: “Nursing in a Nursing home”
For goodness sake….I don’t think this post has actually been about anything in particular!!
I’ve never had trouble getting up and going to work (when I’m employed). I’ve never had trouble working 10 hour shifts, 12 hour shifts, doubles or my days off. In the 5 years at my last job I literally NEVER called in. In the summer of 2015 my husband had an accident which kept him in the hospital (45 min from home & work) for 3 weeks and when he came home he had 2+ months of healing. During the 1st week in the hospital my boss told me not to come in the first 3 days, then I worked 2 days, driving back to the hospital each night and on the Monday of the 2nd week, the day of his surgery I thought working would keep my mind occupied but my boss told me there was no way she wanted me coming in. Each scheduled day after that I went to work!
So, the point to the above rambling is that I can’t say I am lazy when it comes to work but other than that it feels as though I am. Is it that I am lazy or that depression keeps me from wanting to do much? Is it just negative self talk that tells me that I am lazy? Is that the same voice that tells me that I can’t do this or I can’t do that!? It is as though the fatigue is unbeatable no matter how much sleep I get or how much caffeine I consume. I’ve had labs drawn several times and typically my vitamin D is low but vitamin D never fixes the fatigue.
Everyday I have all these things that I want to do. Things that are just routine and things that I have to leave the house for and things that would greatly benefit me. None of these are important enough (typically) to light a fire under my ass. The years that I raised my children by myself I could do anything under the sun as though there was a constant fire under me. So now that I don’t have to do everything I just don’t have the energy to do anything?
Well I will attempt to wrangle all this in! I realize my lack of energy is probably a combination of depression, lack of vitamin D and what I perceive as laziness may just be how life is when your not doing everything on your own. Everyday it is a battle not to have negative self talk: you can’t do it, you don’t deserve it, you will never follow through, blah blah blah. No matter how many self help articles I read I can’t convince myself that I can do what I put my mind to and I do deserve to try out my ideas and if they prove to be profitable I do deserve that as well.
Okay I was super torn between two posts or two things to blog about and then I realized I don’t have to choose I can write about, both how about that LOL a week ago Friday I went and filled out paperwork for a job that I interviewed for Last Friday. I don’t know that I’m thrilled to death about the job not because of the job but just because still depressed enough not to be participating in life daily. I’m not super excited about working for a company doing home health when I should be working on opening my own. Actually I should be doing both. Now that it is occurring to me how perfect this job is. It is super flexible and I can work as many or as few days/hours that I need to. That seems like a great fit for someone working on starting their own business. Boy I tell you, I just can’t come up with any excuses not to want the job nor can I keep putting off working on my own business!!
So for the fun part!! I have had every intention on posting about the latest love of my life: my potbelly pig Edgar!! He is so freaking cute and if pigs weren’t such high maintenance pets I would recommend them to everyone. No matter what he cheers me up! He puts a smile on my face and makes it impossible to just lay around and feel sorry for myself. I’m like an obsessed new parent. So many pictures and videos and special toys and special treats!! Not to mention belonging to the North American Pet Pig Association! ( NAPPA )
This is Edgar’s “Piggy City”along with a picture and video of Edgar and his best cat buddy Jerry
So the interview was crazy on Friday. I thought I was the problem with the weird interview but then I found out later the lady interviewing me got fired. Saturday was okay. Sunday, Mother’s Day, my girls took me out to get lunch and a pedicure so that was nice. We had a late Mother’s Day supper and then on Monday I got to call to come back in for a second interview! Then on Tuesday I got a call saying I’m sorry we have to cancel your interview, due to previous job. All the while I’m trying to keep my footing and not fall into an abyss of self defeat I started a new medication to boot so I’m hardly able to keep my eyes open. If I continue to take it I’m exhausted and if I don’t then I’m doing nothing to treat the depression.
There is such a terrible connotation with being unemployed. Additionally when you are already depressed everything seems bigger than it is. The good news is, I have an interview tomorrow. The bad news is, I have an interview tomorrow and I have to give a reason for leaving the last place.
More good news, I’m leaving the house today!! Of course it’s 2pm on the 4th day but who is keeping track.
Everyone asks if I am ever anxious or ever have anxiety. I never feel I do unless I’m planning a get together or I have to speak on front of people. Having said that I think I’ve said before they’re constantly feels like something is looming over my head. I just don’t understand why I always feel like I need cheering up. Actually maybe that’s sort of the definition of depression now that I think about it.
I have all these wonderful plans all of which I could be working on at this moment but for some reason my present state of mine doesn’t seem to want me to get it done. It almost feels like self-sabotage LOL. I know for a fact that I could start a home health or senior sitter service and be successful because everyone that I’ve talked to you about it said they would certainly recommend me. So why don’t I complete the steps to get this going? I’ve been promising my husband for 2 weeks now that I would help him get an online store setup and I haven’t completed the steps for that either.
There just has to be a point in time when I won’t have to struggle with depression! I’m not quite sure when this time will come but I’ve come to realize that all the years I ran around like crazy seem to keep me busy enough that I never had to dwell on depression. All the years I spent in counseling I kept being told that I feed off the chaos in my life…..
Yet at the same time, all the chaos kept me sane….. Once life calmed down that’s when I realized all the “unfinished business” from my childhood was/had been contributing to years of depression. The only problem with all this is that when you live a life of chaos and life calms down, you become lost. You lose focus and determination. You no longer have to put out fire after fire…
My only savior has been focusing on being a nurse and a mom. I call this the Sunshiney way or…..I say focused but it’s actually been a little obsessed. Once I figure out how to rewire my brain I’ll let everyone know!
I’ve been working as a nurse in long-term care for nearly 13 years. All 13 years have been in Illinois. Every time I come across a rule or regulation that seems absurd or somehow negatively impacts my residents I’m reminded that it’s the great state of Illinois who makes these rules. I absolutely love the concept that the people making rules for my residents are people who have never worked in long-term care. Now I’m sure that there is a rare instance when someone somewhere has been involved in the rule making process that has worked in long-term care but it’s not the norm. So when it comes to which medication my resident can take, if and when my 85 + year-old resident can have something for pain, if my resident can have a 6 inch wide bed rail to help them move around in bed, it’s up to the state of Illinois! My favorite though is the supposed Patient to caretaker ratio that has some magical formula that no one is really privvy to!! Supposedly my facility staffs Above This magical ratio of worker to patient which coincidently is decided by states themselves. There is no federal regulations!! As best I understand, each resident is required so many hours of patient care in a 24 hour period. So who gets to decide how much time each person deserves!?!? Here’s what I do know, our facility has roughly staffed our facility with 8 residents per CNA and anywhere between 15- 45 residents per nurse depending on the shift (the Medicare hall had the least amount of residents but the highest amount of charting) 15-30 on first and second shift, 45+ on night shift. Compared to other facilities these are decent staffing ratios, but we still have people waiting forever for basic needs: 20-30 min for the toilet, high fall statistics and too many UTI’s!! I thought I would never put this in writing but my God, I’ve come to the point that I work 2 hours over every night so I can go home with a nearly clear conscience!! My CNAs are exhausted by the end of their shifts (now that my kids are grown I prefer second shift because I don’t have to deal with day shift nonsense but I get to sleep in my bed at night) the only problem is that we have half the staff of day shift and all the fun off Sun Downers!! So above all, I thank the great state of Illinois and our ridiculous governor’s for making unrealistic rules (not to mention stealing money) and for continually lighting a fire under my ass anytime I think I can take a break from advocating for my residents!!