I wrote this when I used to be a nurse assistant..
It's about an incident that changed my life as a patient care person...
I hope people can learn something from this...it really hurt me in the past...so read it and hang in there...I wrote it when I used to be a nurse assistant...i wrote it the same night it happened so the emotions are in there..sorry!
I drove to work at 1015pm that night wondering what my next assignment will look like. I recently started pulling the night shift because the day shifts were all closed, and I came to sign up really late, with the schools all out and everyone wanting to work, I was stuck to pull these night shifts.
The first two nights were the toughest, because adjusting was hard. I would try so hard not to fall asleep, and at times I found myself dozing off. It wasn't so bad though, the only thing that really sucked was I found myself sleeping all day and wakin up at 2-3pm was not sufficient...I still felt tired and bummed out all day and before long, it was dark out and almost time to go back to work!
So I arrived to work. I headed to the nursing resource office to pick up my assignment, punch in and head to my floor to do my job. We usually end up having a sitter case, where instead of working the floor, we are assigned to sit on the bedside of one patient all night. The reason a patient requires a sitter varies, but usually its because they need more assistance, because they cant do certain things on their own, like walkin to the restroom, or even eating. So I expected a sitting case that night, and as predicted, I got one.
My patient was on the neuro floor, so something is obviously wrong with his/her head. I head to the room. I get report from the previous sitter. So I learn that my patient has brain cancer, they found a little tumor in his head. He is a bit confused and barely reponds to yes/no questions. I am told he is combative, and is given medications to sedate him and to "knock him" out, medications such as Adavan and Diladin.
Once we find out we're sitting, we sitters cross our fingers and hope our patient is "easy" Because a lot of us are so selfish, we care about ourselves and worry how smooth our shift will have to go. We sigh with relief if we learn our patient is pretty much independent and needs less attention. We hate it when we are told our patient needs help eating, is not able to hold his/her urine, and is constantly trying to get out of bed.
My patient, I'll call him Joe, was sent to the hospital not for medical reasons. Rather because he had 2 daughters, and he was a bit aggressive with them at home, due to his state of mind and condition, and so the doctors wanted him in the hospital to calm him down and see how can cope there for a bit.
Joe is in his early 40's, not really an old man. Heck he's like my dad, looks like the average working Joe! I came in the room that night and....I was curious to know what Joe is going to do. Will joe bother me? Will joe let me relax and enjoy my laptop, phone and tv? Or will joe need constant help, constant attention and...will he keep me on my feet? We'll find out I said!
As soon as I sat down, Joe began to moan and move around. He was getting restless and...he was tryin to get up and get out of bed. I wondered hmmm....
Eager to know whats going on, I asked Joe, hey, what can I do far ya? But since he's confused I didn't expect much from an answer. I would ask Joe if he's hungry, realizing his dinner was left on the table untouched, hmm...nobody feeds these guys? He's confused he's obviously not going to eat on his own...and I asked Joe a few more times if he need water or food, and he finally broke out and said HECK YA! He wanted to eat....so I sat Joe up...and ......I fed him. He was eating so well...he kept eating and eating and I stayed on my feet for a good 20-30 minutes feeding him, spoon after fork, joe kept eating and loved everything I fed him ..mmm
Once he stopped eating, I laid him back in bed. A few moments later I could tell he's getting restless again, so I asked him if he needed to use the bathroom, and he said YES! I got joe up and it was so hard taking him to the bathroom, and walking to the bathroom was scary because he was so wobbly and joe was ...barely hangin on things. We got the bathroom and he even lifted the seat, stood there and pee'd in the toilet on his own and flushed it....i was amazed...to see him do all this on his own..being a "confused" patient as I was told during report..
I walk Joe back to bed, he settles down, and sleeps J . and we had a good night...it wasn't easy the first 3\-4 hours but after that I was able to relax, even sleep..haha..yes I could get in trouble but I didn't do it on purpose..but it was cool...I felt good for feeding joe.....i did joe a favor, I fed him, I gave him all his dinner, that nobody bothered to give him...I walked him to the bathroom, something tey deprived him to do..they just stuck a urinal on him while in bed and never let him out of bed.....we're all lazy and ..we don't wanna try doing anything anymore ..thinking someone else out there..does it for us..
I gave report in the morning to the next sitter and went home..slept all day
That was Monday night.
Tuesday night I was supposed to come to work, but I was called off and cancelled since they had a lot of workers.
Wednesday..December 17, I come to work at 11pm.
I look at the assignment sheet in the office, and I was given Joe again...im like aww..ok why not..i mean its not bad, a private room...but joe's a handful..but oh well, at least I know how to deal with him!
I come to the room...I get report from the sitter..he tells me..that joe's condition is a bit worst than before...Joe pee'd all over bed...(hmm I wonder why, these sitters were not asking him if he wanted to go to the bathroom, thinking joe is gonna tell them when he's ready..yes, that's right hes confused and he knows when he needs to go right?)....and I was told during report that he never had a sip of water throughout the entire shift with that dude....nor eat any of the snacks on the table...hmm..so no food, no water..and...on top of that..they're injectin him with more stuff to "knock him" out because they think joe is combative and aggressive and they don't want trouble and restlessness...from a confused patient.....
So my shift starts with Joe...and bear with me as this passage will be disturbing...if u can't handle cruelity and aggressive behavior, please stop reading now...as this is affects me and will affect u..writing this hurts.....so within half hour into the shift, Joe begins to get restless...I get all tensed up ..i slip out in the hallway and tell the nurse, to come inject him with somthin to calm him down...and ...she does...she listens to me...why didn't she analyze the situation or ...try somthin else...why not sleepin pills or somthin..why listen to me and inject him with diladin..why why ..i don't know..they think the sitters know it all.....so joe relaxes and ...about 1-2 hours go by and the medication is wearing off...and joe is starting to get restless again, tryin to get out of bed, he would throw his covers off and.....i would ask him if he needs water or to go to the bathroom but ..he wouldn't respond anymore ..like he did 2 days before..he would just mumble jumble somthin and...I donno ..it was irritating me because ...he would just try to sit up and get out of bed... so I got the nurse again and they gave him more stuff to knock him out..which wore out after an hour......and as him ..heartlessly...and ...talk so mean to him and ...tell him to ...SLEEP..and to shutup he began to figet again and ..horse around and throw his covers off..it was pissin me off..honestly..i wanted to relax and ...do nothing.....but instead I had to keep getting up and ...covering his naked body..and ..i would throw his feet back in bed, at times shove and sleep and to... stop movin around and I would at points be so rough with him and..he would slip out a few words like "oh **** man ok man relax man" and...id feel like **** but I was irritated, because I was such a jerk...and ..this continued for a few hours...joe tryin to move around a lot and me being an ******* and a cruel animal shoving his feet back in bed and at points purposely hurting joe..yes...u know when u intend to harm someone and I felt it ..i would just...hold him tightly and straighten him out in bed and..its weird because u feel like a 2 face...here u are helping someone but also treating him like...like what? What are they for me to treat them like that?
715 came and it was time to report to the next sitter. The next sitter came and...I gave her report..and ...told her what a bad day she will have ...with this guy joe..and ...I told her how im sorry...that shes gonna have a bad day ..and she was cool with it..i helped her get things ready and the nurse came in again and I had her give him more things to knock him out....i told the girl how he never used the bathroom with me at all though...we checked his bed and found out he had just started to pee in it..G I wonder why...so 730 came and I had to punch out..but instead I decided, instead of punching out, I would stay 10 minutes and help the new sitter get the bed cleaned up...she said its ok u don't have to punch out now u wont get in trouble...
I helped her..we got him cleaned up and ..pampaered and dry and...I was ready to sail....i said good luck to the sitter and left...I went to the office...signed the exception log, and explained why I punched out at 750 instead of 730...because joe peed in his bed at 730, duh...so I go home...sleep all day
I come at 11pm that night....thinkin..hmm..who are they gonna give me this time...it might be joe again, I mean why not? They think he's combative so they need a guy for sure and..its probably gonna be me
The assignment sheet showed I had someone else, some other dude I sat for before who was extremely easy...so easy I was like wohooo ..i get to have a good night!
Im in my room..havin a good time, my guy is sleepin, im watchin dumb and dumber, laughin, textin friends and laptop and havin a great time...and thought to myself...u know what, during my hour break, before I go eat ..let me walk all the way to the south tower...where joe was and ..just go see whats going on there and ..ask the sitter..how is joe?
I walked swiftly and arrived to the 8th floor...I approach the room...and as im about to walk in..i see a nurse in the hall...I recognized her from the night before..she said "oh ur not sitting here tonight are ya haha' im like "nope not tonight! " she said oh ok...im like "ya hows everything" she quickly said "good good, um ur guy from last night expired". I said "What?" huh? She said ya, this evening, earlier .....im like "WHY...WHAT WAS WRONG....she said ..well u know he had ..brain cancer....im like ya..but....thats it? Shes like ya..there was like 15 family members here earlier today and ... "im like .."so hes not in the rhis room right now" and I looked at the door to the room I was in last night..she said "no its empty now go see"...I looked at her ..and...I said "omg.. .im on break now and I thought before I go eat, id come check up on joe.. " she said "aww"..and my heart ..just dropped...at the thought..that joe is no longer here...joe is gone...joe died....and...I had him just last night...just earlier this morning..when I left this place to go home and sleep...
I told the nurse thanks and....as I was walking away from joes room, so many thoughts were crossing my mind...I was getting heated up...I was getting ******, upset, angry, I donno what feelings I had in me..i was so angry at myself.....not because joe passed away...but because of how I treated joe
You see, joe had one night left before he expired...one more night to rest. These nurses knew he was hospice, and so he was supposed to be given the most comfortable care ever. And did joe get a good comfortable nights rest? Or did I ? did we inject joe with so much adavan and diladon to knock him out so he wont bother us? Ok, joe's gone now.
I was walkin through the hallways, not knowing what to do or say anymore. I was angry...I am super mad at myself...for the way I treated joe..the way I talked to him and shoved him ....instead of trying to feed him, give him water, change his bed on time, give him a back rub...clean up his face and..just....give him good care..instead..we' all hurried to knock him out with super cool medicines, so we can all have no worries..of a sick brain cancer dude getting out of bed and..all this "combative" claims..which were not true...I was super upset, not at the system..not at them ...but at myself...for....not being there for joe, when I was supposed to..joe spent the last night and day of his life...with a cruel..mean...evil..selfish..self-centered sitter who does not deserve to eat, live or attend nursing school or even come close to a hospital...
I walked to the cafeteria and asked myself, how ..how can I eat right now, how can I ...work here..knowing what I just done....how......I picked out food and..ate a bit of it and as I was eating I was getting teary eyed...I started sniffin..i couldn't eat my food anymore...I texted my friend and told my friend how angry I wass....my friend said joe will go to heaven.....where he will be happy now...and I said to myself...but was joe happy when he spent the last few moments here? Or was he ...getting treated like trash and ...he was hating it...deep down he was ...wondering why is this cruel guy pushin my feet so hard against the rails or..putting the covers all around me and makin it hard for me to sit up..why am I not able to go use the bathroom....i cant talk and they cant understand me but I need to eat and I need to use the bathroom and I don't wanna sleep I slept all day and ...and...im just hurt ..and nobody is listening to me, they're all injecting me with somthin and ..im really thirsty and.....i need to eat and ..omg I don't wanna pee on myself but I cant explain that I need to use the bathroom...
I left the cafeteria without eating my food..disgusted at myself, went to the spiritual center...teary eyed...sat down ..and faced the corner...faced my Creator...and ..lifted my hands up...and ....said oh God FORGIVE ME! FORGIVFE ME FOR WHAT I HAVE DONE! I started to sob..i let it all out...FORGIVE ME GOD...for what I have done last night..please....please keep me in your mercy ....and I remembered the verse from the Koran that said "have mercy on those on earth, and you will be covered with mercy from the One in the skies"...and I cried more..because I showed no mercy last night to Joe...and yet...im alive, God's blessings are all around me, a good health, a good life, food...and...my treatment to this fella...was cruel...animalish..i cried and cried and wailed..and ..never heard myself cry before...not at this age... I sobbed it all out for 15 minutes, made a prayer..and my break was over....
I pssed by Joe's room again...a new patient just got situated in there...and ...I realized, hospitals ..are ..for these reasons , people come..and go...they either go healthy and better, or they don't make it... and..so our job here..isnt to make money...isn't to feed a patient or give them what we need...its to....make their lives better...more comfortable...less painfull...we're here...to give....not to be selfish...wer'e here ..to make sure..our patients....are....relaxed....calm..comfortable... happy....
I walk back to my room...to my patient...with ..more love for these ppl...and hate and disgust at myself...not deserving to be here...I open my laptop ..and decided to write this ....hoping one day I can revise it, fix it, and ....maybe share it...with myself again...to keep myself in check...and ...to hopefully maybe share it with others..so they can learn....what a hurtful experience this was for me...for me to live with this ....knowing ..that ...I gave joe bad CARE...and how he passed away the very same day...now I know why im sitting in a different room...now I will have to answer to my Lord...for what I have done....Joe is gone....i will have to find the sitter that took over..and ask her...how did she take care of Joe? I want to feel better about it...im writing this to feel better about it....but I know no matter what ppl tell me, no matter how much I change..deep down, there is one guy named Joe...who ...I scared, frightened, upset, and hurt...and...he left...on that note..because of me...
..i really shouldn't be here...I should turn my badge in and call it even. Or await a punishment from God.