Travel Nursing: Working in Maine - Part 3 and 4
The journey continues in Maine with unique patient situations and dialogue. I was a learning curve with this wonderful mountain culture.
As nurses, we are trained to be watchful of our patients living environment in addition to their health conditions.
In Home Care, one must be careful not to "judge" while doing an assessment in a dicey environment. It's a fine line that we walk if we wish to earn the patients' trust. I had such a patient: He was an alert and oriented elderly Korean War veteran, living alone in a run down dirt floor cabin. He was on oxygen and would be for the remainder of his life. His medications were set up for him, and he fed and clothed himself. His yard, was really a small forest with a creek in the back. He planted a small garden for his vegetables. I couldn't help noticing a small hole in the wall that led to the outside.
"Does that bother you in the winter?" I asked him respectfully.
"Nope," he was quick to reply. " That is where my pet squirrels come in and sleep by the stove and I feed them." He nodded in the direction of the wood stove tucked away in the corner of the room.
"I have a Mr. and Mrs. Moose that come in and feed in my yard at night." He informed me.
"So that's how it is." He stated matter of fact.
"It must be wonderful to have such a way with animals," I told him.
"I imagine you also do things with some of the plants I saw growing outside?"
"Yep,"there's plants out there that if you break 'em and rub the juice on you, will sooth poison ivy. There's even a plant out there that will stop bleeding if you need." Knowing that this gentleman was on Coumadin, a blood thinner, I cautioned him regarding his plant use with medications.
"Just make sure your doctor knows if you are doing anything with the plants, ok?"
This mountain man, although uneducated, was "whip-smart" about many things and he showed me that his kind of thinking kept him alive and his ancestors thinking did. They used the land and respected it at the same time. As I departed his home, I was in awe of his horticulture knowledge and gift of survival in such a treacherous and beautiful place.
Time passed. With only 5 weeks left to go on my Maine assignment, I was informed that as our census had dropped and the nurses were slowly returning from their vacations, it was time for me to depart. I began to pack with mixed feelings. Yes, I was glad to get out of that basement! Yes, I could do with less humidity. But I was sad to leave such magnificent beauty behind, the friendly folks and the reasonable cost of living. The day that I left, I worked for 4 hours. It gave me a chance to say goodbye to those patients that I had gotten to know and care for. It warmed my heart that they were sincerely sad I was leaving, particularly the veterans.
One thing I have noticed though, looking back over my life for the past 3 years, I am not lonely here as I was in other places. I think it's the nature and beauty around me.
My past had been traumatic and lonely for me. "My spirit can heal in a place like this," I told myself. Already I can see how my perspective and how I handle life has changed, for the better. As I programmed my GPS for home, I said a silent prayer for travel mercies and physical stamina. It was over a thousand miles I would have to drive.
The trip home was a challenge. My GPS did not take me back the way that I came. Rather, it had me zig-zagging up and down from Maine, through New Hampshire to Vermont,along with the Canadian Border. The problem was, I didn't have my passport. Out of desperation, I tried to phone my brother who was an over the road truck driver for many years. No cell service. "This just keeps getting better and better!" I told myself with chagrin. Why didn't I bring a map??
Finally I was able to reach my former spouse who grew up in Vermont. "Can I get to Massachusetts if I stay on this highway?"
"Yes," he said, "just stay on it all the way south and you'll get there."
After that it was much easier. There was a Blue Moon that night. The sky was clear, but for a few clouds that blew across its' surface, but the world was lit in a deep blue haze as I drove through upstate New York, listening to Celtic music on my car CD player.
So hauntingly beautiful.....
About Have Nurse, ASN, LPN, RN Pro
The Bio is mentioned in Chapter One and in the previously submitted article.
Joined: Feb '18; Posts: 394; Likes: 625