I work with the elders and the mentally ill.
I feel like I make a difference in their lives by being there for them.
We're stepping up when their loved ones are unable to or just flat-out don't want to. You get to know these people and you build relationships with them. There are good times, yes. Lots of them. I'll have to leave LTC for the hospital at some point (to increase my skill level), but I'll definitely miss my geri's.
The mentally ill, I love. I even like the combative dementia patients. LOL We have one little guy who wanders in out of rooms.
He'll go in there straighten up the beds. It's funny. He's in his 70's, but he's spry -- and he used to box!
Let me tell you, something: When he squares up? Get the hell outta there. I was helping an aide change him. He grabbed her and wouldn't let go. I tried to talk him down gently (which usually works because the aides have an act of 'swarming' and grabbing him. Bad idea. If one person loses their grip and he gets a hand free? That's it. Up comes the fists and he's just swinging. Everyone let's go and backs off. He's a little guy, too. 5'5. Slim, but very STRONG.).
She ran out of the room. He started after her, then came after me. Running.
I ran out of the room through the bathroom, as I marvelled at his shocking speed. LOL He came out, saw her...and ran after her again, but she took off down the hall. He was cursing in spanish. 5 minutes later, he was wandering down another hall. I gave him a sandwich. He smiled.
We were best friends, again. LOL
Granted, some disorders are difficult to handle. I have a little lady with borderline + BP2 disorder. That is the most hell-raising-est woman I've ever met. She once ranted and raved for 4 hours. Nonstop.
She had her sister calling the nurse's station screaming at me in frustration. Why? The resident was calling the sister nonstop. Crying. Whining. Screaming.
Bless her heart, but she sucks the pure life out of me. With her screaming 'Rage Attacks' and, when she comes down, with her depressive 'nobody likes me/I'm gonna cry in my room and slit my wrists' moods.
I have to consciously check my own responses to her as well. Ensure that I'm not treating her any differently simply because she rattles my nerves (arguably, most of the time). LOL She rattles everyone's nerves. Every shift, I'm having to save an aide from her 'Rage Attacks'. She ran her roommate out of their room with her screaming whines.
In the midst of the tirade, I have to consciously repeat in my head, "She...is not her disorder. She's sick and can't help it. She is not her disorder. She is not her disorder." to maintain my bearings and boundary setting.
There's a behavioral health seminar coming up and I'm going to attend. Hopefully, I'll learn better ways to manage help and help her manage herself.
...but I'm here for her. We all are. She needs help. The mentally ill need our help and support. Society just want to throw them (and our elders) away and it's wrong!
The most frustrating thing to me, though? The constant refusal of meds.
Many of these people had lives and children before their disease took them down. It's sad.
I still hold out hope that this or that person can be high-functioning if they just tried and we helped them.
... but how you explain to someone with paranoid schizophrenia that the meds aren't poison? That they need their medications to manage their delusons and heart conditions. One of my little ladies is the hardest. Once it took another nurse and I AN HOUR to get her to take her antiHTN, lasix and antipsych meds. Had to bribe her with diet coke, too. We usually have to hide her meds in her food. Her insulin? I have to wait until she's in the bed half-asleep.
She'll still fight me on it, but not as hard.
She has daughters but they don't come around and I understand. It's difficult thing to be a child of a mentally ill parent. I've had one adult child say that her mother's been sick since she was 12 and it's always felt like... her mother was 'dead'. All that's left of her 'is a shell'.
Then, she started crying. SMH. She was trying to explain because she felt shame. She thought that we, the staff, looked at her harshly b/c she never came to visit. As if we had this attitude, like "What kind of person are you?"
No, never that. I couldn't imagine living with the sort of reality. It doesn't take much to understand the real reason why that woman stays away: It hurts her. She mentioned that she was seeing a therapist and that's why she was able to come to her mother at that time.