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Skilled geriatric nursing care

Content by jaelpn

  1. jaelpn

    A Mother's Touch

    There is a place in everyone's heart that will always remember "Mom"...the touch of a gentle hand that is placed on our foreheads when we are running a fever, a kleenex swiped across our tiny noses when we have a cold, a hand that reaches out to us when we cross the street. Memories are a treasured secret; sometimes we bury these memories in the back of our minds and one day something will remind us to look back and appreciate all that our mother has done for us. "A mother is she who can take the place of all others but whose place no one else can take." -- Cardinal Mermillod As a nurse- I have witnessed many of my alzheimer residents searching for "mom"... forgetting that their mother has passed away years ago. There is something in all of us, that no matter how far our mothers may be; no matter how old we may become- we still need our mother's touch. I have often sat next to a scared resident and allowed them to talk about their fears until they have drifted off to sleep. I've kissed a forehead, I have walked hand in hand down the hallway to show them their room when they have lost their way. In a way, I have become the mother of a child. I have wiped runny noses, I have put on many socks and tied shoes. I have done something as simple as put on a band-aid and I see the gleam of someone's eyes as if to remember when mom use to cure all boo-boo's. As I am passing my medications, taking doctor's orders, assessing someone who has fallen on the floor- I have heard people pass by and say "Thank goodness I don't have that job..." I would be lying if I told you that nursing was an easy job. Even when I leave work and come home- I am still a nurse. There is not a day that goes by, that something doesn't remind me of caregiving. A mother's heart is golden. She gives birth to us, she feeds us, bathes us, teaches us, disciplines us, and most of all- loves us. I know that my mom had her hands full with five children. She made sure we had our homework done, took us to the library to allow us to explore the world of reading and to gain knowledge, made sure we had a nice warm house with plenty of food. I couldn't have asked for better parents than my mom and dad. We were never spoiled; we did chores every day, we worked hard for our allowance. We had movie nights, we caught fireflies outside on a summers night. When I look back on my childhood, I remember making a kite with my mom and going out in the field when the wind was strong and watching the kite go way up in the sky. It kind of reminds me of how it is when a mother lets a child go; which ever way the wind blows, mom has to allow her children to take off in life. She still has the kite string to pull us back if the wind current gets too strong, and yet we are free to fly as high as we can in life. Someday, when my mom is much older and needs me, I want to be there for her as much as she was there for me. One day, when I have children of my own, I hope that my hands are gentle and as caring as my own mother's touch. "Please take care of my mother. Although she may not remember me, she still is the most important woman in my life." This is what one of my residents daughters told me. Although I may only seem like the one that gives out the medications and makes sure she is safe, the resident's family believes that my hands may be the second most important thing beyond a mother's touch. Those are pretty big shoes to fill, but I'd like to think that maybe I can make a little bit of a difference.
  2. jaelpn

    Is Faith Enough?

    I use to think that faith was enough- that if I had enough faith, I could accomplish anything. Faith is something that I think can lead us into the belief of being able to have a stronghold on life. When the tough gets going, we start to see that cloud of darkness roll in. I have always been known to be a Christian, but the closer I get to thinking I know who I am, or what I am and believe in- things change. One minute I am feeling this complete satisfaction of life as if some light of clarity has suddenly turned on inside of me. The next moment I am wondering how I am able to even survive another day on this earth. There are nights that I have trouble sleeping; I'm just staring up at the ceiling with my mind going a mile a minute. I'm sure there are many other people who do this as well. I just start thinking about things in life. One thought always crosses my mind: I am going to die. We all know it's coming, there is no escaping the reality of what human life becomes. We exist, we live and we die. It's something no one really wants to talk about, yet we are all swimming in the same ocean of life. I try to wrap my mind around the concept of death but it's hard. I see death often since I work in the medical field. It's not that shocking to be doing the final preparing of a body before the funeral home straps the body to the gurney to be prepared for the last viewing before the body is buried six feet under. Sounds kind of morbid, doesn't it? What happens to our souls after we die? There are so many different religions, so many different beliefs. How do we know that our religion, our belief- is the "right" one? I grew up going to a Methodist church- so from a young age, I was told I was a Christian because I believed in God and sang all the church hymnals, was baptized and did all the things that a young christian person should do. The older I got, the more I thought about how my faith never really started until I lost my faith. I had gone through the phase of depression and lost what faith I had in life. It was much easier to just stay in that dark depression and not feel anything toward life (like a numbness)- but the deeper I got, the harder it was for me to feel anything toward life. I don't really remember how my faith came back, but I knew that I needed to find some kind of happiness in life. I'm sure most people know about God and the story of Jesus, Noah's arc, etc. As a kid, I remember reading from the children's bible- seeing all these colorful pictures of the arc, the cross where Jesus had died for our sins, the heavenly angels playing the harps on this big white puffy clouds. The more I think of it as an adult, the more it seems all that stuff was written like a fairy tale. We don't want to think of what is -next- after our death so we want to fill it up with something that seems too good to be true. I don't believe there are coincidences in life. I believe there is a purpose for everything that happens. We may not know it until after our hindsight of the experience, but I think there is a reason for all the good and bad things of the world. After my father's death at the age of 59, I tried to close my eyes and pray. It was hard...I was angry that my dad had died so young, and maybe I just wasn't in the right state of mind to pray when I was angry. I eventually overcame the anger and was in that accepting stage. A few different times I had dreams of my father- almost like I could touch him. It brought a lot of emotions- knowing that he is only as far away as I let him be. We are stuck in these bodies for a long while- these awful, hard to maintain at times- bodies. My dad had a lot of stuff wrong with his heart and lungs- it just caused him an early death. But death isn't as negative as it sounds- it's kind of like putting a beloved pet down because you don't want to see them suffer anymore. God knows the person is suffering, the person's body isn't responding the way it should so he puts the body to rest and their soul lives on in the dimension of the universe for which we can't see with our humanly eyes. There is not a doubt in my mind that there is something "more" ...there are too many miracles, too many things to think we were all created from some "big bang" ...the simplicities of a blooming flower, the sounds of birds chirping, the way the stars shine brightly in a clear midnight sky. That is where my faith comes in. There is just too many beautiful things in the world to think that we humans could make it all up. The miracle of birth- how we all are so different and yet we all have two eyes, ten toes, ten fingers, etc. How awesome is it to see a child born to this world- and life to begin once again. I may not be the picture perfect Christian. I know I'm not even a good enough human to deserve this life; to be able to see what life brings forward. I know that I am, however, full of faith. Faith has taught me that no matter how hard life gets, no matter the good from the worse things that happen in life, faith will carry me through. I've heard the saying that someone has faith the size of a mustard seed; althought that's a very small amount of faith- it's something that can carry you through. We all need faith- I hope that wherever the wind may blow, no matter how difficult life comes- faith can reach us all. I have faith there has to be a better tomorrow; why? Because without it, there's no use in living. I'd say faith is enough- enough to give us Hope.
  3. "One of my patients really gave me a hard time today. I just needed to blow off some steam and let the wind blow through my hair. You don't think our son will mind, do you?"
  4. No problem Brian, I completely understand- after my evening tonight, I am pretty sure I dropped my marbles
  5. This was a great contest this time around- thanks to all that voted. I know my buddy Joe would be proud :) I enjoyed reading all the articles. Has anyone received anything in their paypal account yet?
  6. jaelpn

    My buddy Joe

    The first time I met Joe, I suddenly felt like I was in the presence of my own father who had passed away a few months prior. His stature, the way his blue eyes could tell a story... it was like God giving me this second chance to find some closure and acceptance to my own father's sudden death at 59. Nursing is more than a career and paycheck to me- it's life. I have always been intrigued with the medical field- as a young kid, I watched "Rescue 911". I wanted to be a hero- to give someone a second chance at life. I wanted someone to come up to me, wrap their arms around me and tell me that whatever heroic move I made, I somehow saved their life. As a nurse working in an Assisted Living in the Alzheimer/Dementia community, I don't do heroic medical techniques. I pass meds, I check blood sugars and blood pressures, and I patch up skin tears, tie shoes and occasionally pick someone up off the floor. I don't intubate or hook someone up to an IV. I do, however, try to bring my residents a little piece of the world. Their "world" is the halls, the bird aviary room, three meals, activities and snack time. During my downtime, Joe and I would take a walk outside. He would help me take out the trash, and he would tell me about his passtime of going to the casino. He had Alzheimer's- so at times, his stories would get a little mixed up but I would still nod my head and follow his story. One day, as we were walking outside, I found a dandelion ready for a "blow and wish." I picked it from the courtyard and explained to him that when I was a little girl, I would pick one of these out of my yard and blow it into the wind, making a wish and dreaming it would come true. I told him to try this... so he closed his eyes for just a moment, gave his "wish" a thought, and blew. He said, ,"I wished that I could play the machines and something would come out." (slot machines at the Casino) ... I knew I couldn't make that wish come true for that moment of clarity that he had for his wish, but I decided that I would try my best. As we headed back indoors after grabbing a bag of fresh popped popcorn, we walked to the lounge. I dug in my pockets for a few quarters, I handed the change to him, and told him to put it in the "machine" - he hit a button that I told him was the "lucky one" (diet Dr. Pepper- his favorite) and out popped a soda! His eyes teared up and he smiled and said, "I WON!!!" .. In the evening times, he would become a different person. Angry, anxious and lost in a world of his own. Sundowning, they say. When he was getting combative or argumentive with the caregivers or other residents, I'd take his hand and walk him to my office. Sometimes, he would be telling me stories that were quite off the wall, other times he took a snooze in the chair. He often carried his Bible around- although he was no longer able to see that great even with his reading glasses on. I would open it up to Psalms, read some scripture to him and he would close his eyes, take in what I was reading, and tell me to "go on..." My buddy Joe believed in God and drew me closer to my own faith. When he was losing his short term memory, no longer able to recognize his own daughter's face... he was still able to lay down his heart for God. Joe eventually had to move out and go on to another place- but last week I visited him. His eyes were a little more lost in the dark world of Alzheimer's... he was now using a cane, and a little more tired. I walked him to his room, sat next to him while he was in his comfy recliner. His old tattered Biblelayed next to him on his night stand. As he rocked back and forth in his recliner, I read some Psalms to him. He closed his eyes, said to "Go on" .. and soon I heard him snoring away. I gently woke him up, walked him over to his bed, and kissed him on his forehead. "Thank you sweetie pie"...he said. He closed his eyes and fell fast asleep. What made me get into nursing? Maybe it was because I knew that the older we get, the more we need a friend. The more life means, the conversations become more meaningful. All along I thought I needed to be the hero, but Joe knew better- he became the man that taught me about faith, love and patience- he was my hero in disguise. I see the world a little different now- and my buddy Joe sure enough opened my eyes- he brought the world to me.
  7. jaelpn

    Did I deserve this?

    Last week the financial/business manager instructed me and a few CNA's ("teamleaders") that with any employee incidents, they have to be urine drug screened before they can go see the doctor for workman's comp. I work in an assisted living (I am an LPN) - So I think something qualifying as an incident (a slip and fall, trip down the stairs, resident breaking your wrist...) would justify a visit to the Dr. So while I was doing my rounds the other day, a CNA came up to me and said, "so and so bit me on the breast, she didn't draw blood or break skin, I'll call and let her know. She never called but filled out an incident sheet and placed it in this person's mailbox. She didn't go to the doctor and was fine. We work in the dementia/memory unit and so you expect the pinching, biting, scratching, hitting, etc as you would with any scared, dementia related resident. So, I get called down to the office the other day and this financial/business manager handed me a sheet and said she was writing me up for not calling her and doing a urine drug screen on this employee. Do you think I was in the wrong for not doing a drug screen on this employee? Are LPNs really responsible to perform drug screens on employees? This is the kind that you are to sit right outside the door, allow them to not wash their hands until you have the cup in your hand, etc (I think it's called chain in command?) I have never been written up before and I was literally tearing up before I even was able to walk down the hall to my office. You work so hard to do the best that you can for the residents and then you feel like all that hard work is worth nothing when someone tries to bring you down.
  8. jaelpn

    Did I deserve this?

    It is unfair- it's a very gray area. I thought that this is WAY out of scope for one CNA to screen another CNA. I am going to talk to the administrator tomorrow to clear the air. I would like a written policy handbook and an actual what to do when something happens- if someone gets a papercut and asks me for a bandaid am I suppose to run and get a drug kit and make that person pee in a cup and write an incident report? How many people are going to want to NOT report an incident because they may test positive? The employee wasn't wanting to go to the doctor- I was busy with my rounds and she just kind of mentioned so and so bit her but didn't draw blood or break skin. Not a big deal- alzheimer residents bite, hit, pinch, squeeze, pull hair, etc all kinds of stuff- so every time that stuff happens we have to write an incident report? I don't get it. I don't want to jeopardize my employment or feel like I have done something wrong when I really feel like I need to be better informed, and have something in writing. Thanks for the reply back!
  9. jaelpn

    6th Nursing Caption Contest - Win $100

    "When they say it feels like a full-moon night, they weren't kidding! No wonder they tossed their stethoscope up here!"
  10. jaelpn

    Unfinished Business

    I can close my eyes and recall that exact moment my world had stopped- the moment I heard my father had passed away. Nothing prepares you for that moment- all the times I have held an elderly resident in my arms as she rested her head on my shoulder, telling me they know their life is going to end pretty soon...no amount of nursing can quite take away that emotional attachment to your dad. Let me move back to seven months prior to his passing. I had gotten off an hour early from work and headed to the hospital to be with my father during a routine cardiac cath- my mom, brother and I were sitting in the waiting room waiting to hear when he went in. The nurse comes up, tells us that he is "on the table" ... an hour or so passes, we continue to wait. The doctor comes out to tell us that he had 90 percent blockage in his right coronary artery, in which they had placed a stent. We go in to see him, he's laying on his back. "I'm hungry and I need to pee..." he says. He's always been this brutally honest man, the kind of person that will just tell you "how it is". "Give me my inhaler" he says. I hand him his inhaler, and he takes two puffs. His many years of smoking had caused him to develop chronic lung disease and copd. He had quit smoking two months prior to his cardiac cath. As he gets moved to a different hospital room for recovery, my mom, brother and I are sitting in a different waiting area. Nurses are going in and out of the room, quietly but quickly. A nurse in a pink scrub set comes up to us and tells us dad is having a hard breathing... his blood pressure and heart rate are rapid and he is turning blue. She asks calmly if the rapid response team can go ahead and put a breathing tube down him. Mom and I look at each other and say yes...whatever needs to be done. ...that moment, that shocking moment will come back to haunt me many times. Did we decide the right thing? For Heaven's sake he's only 59! What is going on? Many hours later, we are sitting in the critical care unit waiting area. This look of distress, the unknown...lays before us. The doctor comes, takes us in this small sitting area and tells us they are trying to do what they can for him. He is intubated, on a ventilator and is unable to respond due to sedation. Just a few hours ago I had seen him- laughing and joking with the nurses about where in God's great earth did they hide his food tray? And now here he is, somewhere beyond the doors of a critical care unit and no way to know what is going on until the doctor can give us a better update. That moment, that precious moment where you sometimes tell God "what is to come? I don't want to lose my father...." comes crashing down. He ends up living, spending two days on a ventilator and all the fluid is reversed out of his lungs and he is able to walk out of the hospital- not a sign of the distress he had gone through 72 hours prior. Fast forward to seven months- mom says she found dad passed away in his sleep at home. "Come home"... she says. Home isn't going to be the same...ever. The seven months between the hospital stay and his passing was something more than just a coincidence. It was a chance to bond, a chance to understand that life isn't in our hands- no matter how hard I can try to make someone live, as a nurse we are only the hands of angels, the rest is up to God. Dad left us a lot of unfinished business- he left us with a legacy to finish; to see what our lives had in store for us. For us to grow up, to know that he had left this world with a story worth telling. He never wanted the story to end- he wanted my mom to know that life goes on, that she needed to finish what he started. She has since grown closer to each of us kids in her own way. Nursing isn't about saving lives as much as it is about making the quality of life better- it's about making the living worth it. Our time on this earth will come- what kind of story do we need to carry on for others?
  11. jaelpn

    A Changed Heart

    Late nights usually accompany me with the television on low as I randomly read through a magazine or book, once I am in my soft pajamas. I fall asleep quicker when I take a few hours to unwind. Then I turn on the fan, close my eyes and cuddle in my bed with warm blankets surrounding me. This is the typical night for me; nothing exciting. ....and then there are those thoughts that I just so happened to think about as I heard on the commercial about starving children. About those poor dogs that need homes. Kids without running water, a decent education. Barefoot in 30 degree weather. I couldn't imagine a life so horrible. Here I am- a 27 year old who has the rest of my life in front of her. I'm disgusted with myself. While I am a nurse and do take care of my residents and do my best in this life, why am I not taking a stronger pride in humanity? Where is my compassion? I have never wished hell on anyone. Those people who are out on the streets because they are down on their luck- wouldn't just a little part of my check give that person a heads up? Wouldn't just a little bit of friendship or conversation make for a different emotion? Why can't the world see this? Why do we look down on the people who need us the most? No one is perfect- no one deserves to be bullied, or even talked down to. We are all living life with the greatest of struggles. We need to be more kind and deserving of others. Be patient- walk in their shoes for a mile and you will realize that not everything is peaches and cream. I cry myself to sleep many nights thinking that I wished I had more to give, I wish that my heart could pour out to these people that need to hear what needs to be said. God never meant for anyone to suffer, not in the ways that we do. Suffering emotionally and spiritually is enough to make even the boldest person break down in tears. God loves each and every one of us, no matter what we have done in this life. We have the choice to either ignore it or embrace it. For just one day- I am going to give it my all, in hopes that what I will have in return is a changed heart.
  12. jaelpn

    Have you seen this person?

    I glance up from my medication cart just in time to see Mary coming down the hall with a frantic look on her face. Often, this kind of look from a resident means either... A) They are in dire need of a bathroom NOW or B) Something is going to cause me to have a long night of paperwork. Mary is holding a framed picture of herself that appears to be a few decades old. "Have you seen this person?" she innocently asks. "I can't find her anywhere." ... I stop what I am doing at my med cart, look up at her and see the confusion on her face. The look on her face tells me she is quite puzzled that she can not find the person in the picture anywhere. The young woman in the picture is smiling, curly brown hair flowing down her back as she smiles back at the camera . The lady standing in front of me has white hair that was set at the "beauty parlor" and looks a lot like the young lady in the picture except for a few more wrinkles, and her smile has faded to a confused expression. This is the real picture of a woman who is suffering from Alzheimers. She does not recognize herself any longer. Sometimes I think we all lose a little bit of ourselves through the years. We are always trying to "find our place in the world" ...searching for who we are, what we want to be and where we need to go in our lives. As quickly as we find out what makes us happy, that fleeting moment tends to escape us and we are back to square one. I've come to the realization that I am never quite comfortable with "me" ... there is always something that I am hoping to change. I am just another face in the crowd. Looking back through old pictures, I have found that my life has changed. I can no longer look at myself and see the person staring back at me in the picture. I've changed, I've grown to be a much different person than I was as a child. Maybe this is how Mary feels. "Have you seen this person?" ... maybe she is just wondering where the time has gone. How fast life moves- and how far we come in wisdom. "Yes, Mary... I have seen this person. She has aged gracefully and is loved by many." ... as Mary looks down at the picture, there is a tear that forms at the corner of her eye. "I was a catch, wasn't I?" she says, as she places the picture frame in the basket of her walker. I smile, and know that the rest of my night at work has to go ok, because somehow, my heart has been touched by an angel.
  13. jaelpn

    New Grad with Chronic Fatigue

    Have you ever had your thyroid levels checked? I had overwhelming fatigue for a while and just couldn't get enough energy to get my day started. My blood test came back and I found out I have hypothyroidism. I now take one pill a day for the rest of my life- but it has made all the difference in the world. I was diagnosed in 2008 and I have been full of energy, have noticed that my life has changed since then. Just a thought :)
  14. jaelpn

    Facing the World Ahead...

    I remember waking up early, sitting outside in that crisp cool air and just wondering what kept me motivated. I often sat outside to catch a breather, and then go back in and finish my studies. I knew I wanted to be someone that helped others since I was a kid; my friends always thought of me like their own mother hen; although I have yet to have any children, I am often the one to make sure that my friends are doing alright, that they aren't in any danger in their lives. I sometimes would put my life on hold for others. I remember a few years after I graduated high school, I was still working at a nursing home in the dietary department. I needed a change; I was nervous about venturing out; while all my friends went to a university or some college far away, I was stuck. My parents had five children; I was their third child. My two older siblings slipped from home and joined the military. I was being pushed into joining the military but I never had good running stamina. I was weak and tired all the time. I knew it was a lot to ask of my parents, but I had asked them to help me get into a cna program. Even though it was only $600 for the course, I never liked to ask my parents for help. They decided to go in half with me. So I went to this small community college and began my 16 week course. I graduated, and worked as a cna for 3 years; in that time I paid my parents back for the help of getting me started. I had also in that time decided to get my EMT, thinking that my path to success would be to become a paramedic. I did graduate and get nationally certified but I decided after hearing that a dear friend of mine got killed in a car accident, ejected and dying on impact after he suffered head injuries from hitting the highway, I wasn't sure if my heart could really survive in that field. I decided it was now or never- military or nursing school. I was living paycheck to paycheck at this time, living with my parents and working for barely over minimum wage for a cna. I had to work- there was no getting out of that. I was still always weak and tired, but knew I had to push my way through. I signed up for an LPN course and decided that I had to do this for me. I ended up working 32 hrs a week on top of full time school. I put my all into the course; I'd stay up late studying. I'd wake up early and study more, go to class, go to work and come home and do it all over again. Mid-way through nursing school I made an appointment with my doctor. I told him that despite how I was working and going to nursing school, I couldn't shake this tiredness and fatigue. I ended up being diagnosed with hypothyroidism. He began me on synthroid and tested my levels. I began to feel much better with more energy. I finally felt like I could keep up with everyone else. I remember the day that made me feel like I was ready to venture out to the world; the day I received my nursing cap. I had walked up the aisle, faced my instructor and she placed my nursing cap on, held it tight with bobby pins and I stood to face the rest of my classmates and I just felt this immediate happiness. Oh, there were times during nursing school that I had it, I was done, I couldn't go on. But stepping out into the world with this white cap- I felt like I could persevere. This was finally my time to succeed. I had a strong friendship with a lady I met in nursing school. She was 47 and decided after working at Walmart for years, she wanted to fulfill her life long dream of becoming a nurse. We studied together and had laughed and cried through the months. After a year or so of our lpn graduation, I heard she had died from liver cancer. She never told me she had cancer, and yet she always pushed forward. I often think she is guiding me to continue on with passion for nursing. She died peacefully. Sometimes I think that God sends people into our lives for a reason; maybe she was the reason that kept me going in nursing school. The world is a land of opportunity for each and every nurse; whether you are just now starting on your journey, or have been in this field for a while. We never know who is going to come into our lives and change us. There is never a day that goes by that I am not thankful that my parents had gave me hope by giving me that $300 to start cna class; through that, I finally made my way through lpn school to where now I have a hope that I can face the world ahead. I feel that my life has finally started- I feel wide awake.
  15. jaelpn

    Olden Times and Ancient Rhymes

    I, too, work in an Assisted Living with alzheimer/dementia residents. I sure see a lot of Christmas spirit within them; when all memories may be a lapse in time, the gentleness of song sure can bring a sparkle into their eyes. Thanks for sharing your story- faith can go a long way :tree:
  16. jaelpn

    When Pigs Fly

    I received this art egg after Sr. Mary* passed away. She was a Nun; a very lovely, full of life Nun. She lived life with zest. She had a smile that you knew she was up to something. She saw my transition from new c.n.a. to graduated LPN. I have now been working at this Convent for over 5 years, and to this day, I smile at the life of Sr. Mary. The first time I ever gave Sr. Mary a whirlpool, she asked me to go into her bathroom and grab her ducks. My first impression was a rather raised up eyebrow. Yes, she definitely asked me to grab her rubber ducks; mama duck and her three babies. I took her in her wheelchair, ducks in hand. I talked to her, filled the whirlpool with warm water, and she asked me for the soap. I lowered her in, left the room for privacy (she was a quite capable independent Nun).... and about 20 minutes later, I returned. She had bubbles....everywhere. All over the floor. She had a grin of pure satisfaction. She loved the expression that the new CNA's received when they went back into the whirlpool room and saw the room full of bubbles, her head barely sticking out from behind the bubbles. To this day, I can still hear her giggles. This wasn't your typical Nun; she had a quirky way about her. She absolutely loved pigs. You name it, she had it. She had pig blankets, windchimes, pez dispensers.... and this candy dispenser that had M&M's come out of it's rear... "you want a pig poop?" she'd asked. The first time I heard that she had cancer, my heart dropped. No one wants cancer, no one wants to know that someone they love has cancer. I was in nursing school, and she was always asking me how my studies were. I was working midnights, and often she'd be up late. If I brought in some pizza for a late night snack, I knew she'd want a piece. Her cancer was fatal, but you'd never know it. The Nuns live a very reserved life; they do not ask for much. Her last wish was to go to the Bahamas before her cancer got the best of her. She ended up going with two of her friends. She returned, wanting everyone to see the pictures of her time in the Bahamas. The first picture of the album was the three of them basking in the sun with their swimsuits on, with the title "Three Beached Whales" ....you couldn't help but laugh. I couldn't even imagine how much fun they had, and how much this meant to her. Her cancer had gotten worse; it was spreading quickly. She was starting to become delirious on her medication, but she was comfortable. She laid in bed, nestled up next to her stuffed pig. She was at ease. I had graduated lpn school a few months before this and was taking care of her one night. She had her days where she was awake and talking. One of the cna's had asked Sr. Mary if she wanted help with anything. "Yes. I would like my toenails to be painted." So the c.n.a. went to get some supplies, asked her what color she wanted. I had left the room and a little while later, I returned. I had walked in the room, by this time she had on her fuzzy pig house slippers. She slipped them off and showed me her toes....bright pink. She picked out this neon pink, and she had the biggest grin on her face. I know that some people would be appalled at such a thing...allowing a cna to paint a residents toes with such an odd color, but I knew this was what Sr. had requested. A week later, the cancer was getting the best of her. She was now totally bedridden, with oxygen, unable to speak, on every 2 hour turns. She was comfortable, quiet and was annointed. Many of her fellow Sisters had already been in the room, sitting with her, holding her hand, talking to her. She was as "snug as a bug in a rug"...as she would say. She had taken her last breath that night. She ended her journey of life very peacefully. I had to make the phone calls, get the funeral home set up. As the funeral home director came in to put Sr. Mary's body on the gurney, she had seen Sr's neon pink toes. She looked up at me and I smiled and told her this isn't your average ordinary Nun. Take great care of her for me, please. A little while after the funeral, I went to look in my mailbox at work; usually there are just papers of when the next meeting is, insurance information, etc. This time I had a little wrapped gift in there... I opened it up and there was a blue egg with a pig with wings. There was a note that said, "Here is a gift from Sr. Mary. May her memory live on." She had so many things with pigs in her room, that each of us caregivers had received a token of gratitude that Sr. had left each of us. When I sit at my desk at home, sometimes after a bad night of falls, doctor orders, running non-stop; I stop for a moment and look at that blue egg with the pig that does fly and remember to laugh. Sister Mary sure is laughing and giggling now, "When Pigs fly..." ...well, I sure hope that she is where Pigs Fly. She taught me many things, she was part of God's humor. She had a way of teaching many of us nurses that sometimes you have to laugh in the face of death, you have to make life worth living. There are too many people of this world that are too sad, too angry.... and the only thing that brings out the best in us is a smile. Even if those certain people won't even laugh until "Pigs Fly...." *name changed
  17. jaelpn

    The story is in the soil....

    The first time I met Thelma*, she was rolling down the hallway in her wheelchair, sad deep blue eyes focused on something more than what was ahead of her. She wore a pink sweatsuit, her hair was a mess. I introduced myself, and all she could say was, "I just moved here because my husband died and my family couldn't take care of me anymore." She just moved into an apartment in our assisted living facility, she was upset because she felt like she didn't have a purpose in this world. She lost her husband, her house, and her friends. She would roll her wheelchair in the sunroom, and slowly water the plants. There were around four or five plants that she tended to. A few months had passed, and something just changed in her. She started to put makeup on, she would spritz her "Beautiful" perfume on, and go on down to the sunroom, except this time there were many more plants that she was tending to. This was her sanctuary. She smiled and laughed, and she finally was starting to accept her new life in assisted living. One night, I went to go to one of my male residents room and found a kleenex on his door handle; folded neatly and placed on the handle. I didn't think much of it, and picked it up and handed him the kleenex. He just said, "Oh that silly woman again..." and I just looked at him curiously. He said, "Thelma.... she does this every night. She sprays her perfume on a kleenex, and puts it on my door handle, so that when I come out of my room, it falls on the floor and lets me know that she was thinking about me." ...curiously, I had asked him for the kleenex and sure enough, it smelled just like her "beautiful" perfume. Tears started to form, but I quickly dismissed myself. It's been over a year now since she has moved in. The love story has died, and yet she still tends to those plants. The room is full of beauty, and she makes sure that the plants are watered everyday, so that the room is comforting and beautiful to all those that come and visit. One evening, I had stopped by her room to see how she was doing. She invited me in, and sat me down and told me that she enjoys seeing my face and smile, that I just bring a presence of happiness to her. She told me that when she first moved in, how miserable she was. That she didn't feel like she could ever be happy again without her husband, that she just wanted to stay in her room, but she had quickly found the sunroom. She found that she could still make a difference- that her life story was not over. While I was sitting there in her room, she had showed me her wedding ring and told me to try it on. It fit perfectly! I told her it was beautiful, and that she was such a lucky woman to have had so many years to spend with her husband. I told her that I had been with my boyfriend for nearly two and a half years. She said, "Well what is he waiting for?!...when's he going to ask you?" We laughed, and she put the ring back on her finger, and I could tell by the way her eyes lit up that she was thinking about all the years of love she had spent with her now dearly departed husband. A few days later, as I was leaving I had walked in front of the building, and there Thelma was...sitting in the sunroom. She knocked on the window and said, "Julie, come here for a second!" ...So, I walked over to her, and through the screen she had asked me if James (my boyfriend) had asked me for my hand in marriage yet. I said, "No Thelma....not yet, but maybe someday." She said, "Tell him I said size 7. That is the size of my ring, and it fit you perfectly." I couldn't help but smile. She went back to watering her plants, and as I left, I could tell that she finally found her solace. Our motto for our assisted living community is, "Returning the Love" ... and I think this is a true enough story to put behind the returning the love; not only does she return the love to the caregivers and nurses she encounters, but also to the plants she takes care of and even some of her new friends. The story is in the soil... without the proper nutrients and water- plants can not bloom properly. And without love, friendship and a purpose- our lives would never be the sweet surrender of laughter and happiness that we find in each and every day. *name changed
  18. jaelpn

    was i wrong?

    When you become a nurse, sometimes you just get a "gut feeling"... sounds to me like he may have had a TIA... transient ischemic attack. I've had residents that have gone unresponsive for a few minutes- cold, clammy, eyes just sort of glazed over. "Something" was going on- it's always better to do what is in the best interest of the pt- was he a dnr, full code- these are things you have to learn with experience. I have been an LPN for 2 years now- and I'm still learning. But you don't want to risk having your resident go into a cardiac episode... even though it's a nursing home, LTC... does not mean that the resident doesn't deserve medical attention when needed. You never know where a blood clot could travel. So don't worry about what the other nurses are saying- you stand your ground, be proud of what you are doing and know that you did what was the best approach in patient care. Just ignore the talk behind your back... that happens a lot and you just have to feel that you are doing your best as a nurse.
  19. jaelpn

    Question about Assisted Living

    Does anyone here work in Assisted Living? We specialize in alzheimers/dementia. I was just wondering if any of you have a crash cart... or if it's legal to get away with not having any sort of AED?
  20. jaelpn

    Question about Assisted Living

    Thanks for all the input; it makes me feel a little better. I know that it is assisted living and that it is suppose to be more of a homelike setting- but sometimes I would worry about the residents that ARE a full code; but I guess that is just the way things are. I have performed cpr ONE time... but that was while I was doing my clinicals for my EMT- we were in the ER and a man came in, full code, crashing, and I got to perform bag-valving and chest compressions for seven minutes... I think the Dr. had already declared the man pretty much on his way out, but he was intubated anyways, and the dr let me and my other clinical partner perform cpr.... ugh... the sound of ribs about made me puke! But it was a great experience.... something nursing school never actually taught me! In fact, nursing school didn't really teach us ANYTHING remotely relating to what to do in a real trauma!
  21. jaelpn


    Ohhh I remember my day of NCLEX- I stopped at 81. I was so terrified and excited- I was finally done but I was just awaiting for my results. I had a job lined up making $18 an hour and I was just so relieved when I found out I passed!!! I graduated May 2008 so my 2 yr anniversary for my graduation date is coming up- time flies. The most advice I can give you is that the first YEAR is the hardest- having to really soak it all in with all the new info, no instructor behind you. I feel like I've came a long way from clinicals- I feel like a mother to all my residents! Congratulations, and let the world of nursing guide you....
  22. jaelpn

    Question about zegerid...

    I've decided to try Prilosec again... since I've seen sooo many people on it at work, I have decided to give it a second chance- so far so good. I saw zegerid at target today- but decided since I have a pack of prilosec to try that first! (since zegerid is pretty much prilosec)...
  23. jaelpn

    Question about zegerid...

    Has anyone gotten the chance to try the new zegerid? Is it all it's cracked up to be as far as it's comparison to prevacid??? Just curious....!
  24. jaelpn

    Question about zegerid...

    Yes- it just went otc I believe. My doctor had given me a lot of samples of prevacid, but after they were out- and I realized how expensive they were (before they went OTC with 15 mg) I started taking zantac 150's which work great and fast, but don't last very long. I tried prilosec and it seemed to aggrivate my symptoms even more. Prevacid worked great though, so I thought that maybe the new hype of "better and faster than prevacid" could be a good thing.... I was just checking into it :) I just made an appt with a new doctor, I will just have to let him know what's going on and maybe he'll prescribe or see what the whole problem is... at 26 I shouldn't feel like I have acid just hanging in my throat...ugh. This has been going on for a year or two... KICNIC- do you know how much the zegerid costs off hand????
  25. jaelpn

    Human nature...

    I have been an LPN for the past two years. I've been working as a nurse at an assisted living facility that specializes in dementia care. Last night I had an experience that I never encountered before! I had noticed earlier in the day that two of my residents- a male and a female were holding each other's hands and just walking around.... harmless companionship. These two have some mild form of dementia but not severe enough to show any slight cognition deficits. Anyhow- last night I went to the male's room to give him his hs pill, and he wasn't in his room so I thought maybe he was in her room watching tv. The door was locked (as sometimes the residents do lock their doors because of "wanderers"... no answer- so I unlocked the door (I have a master key for each room) and there they both were- butt naked on the couch- her legs around him! They both yelled "close the door and get out!!!"... so I did close the door. I wasn't sure what to do- between patient privacy, rules and regulations, between both having some form of dementia- would the family approve... was it anyone else's business? ...do you let them "finish" or does the nurse need to remove the male from the room? I waited a few minutes- knocked on her door- and had asked if so and so was in there... she said yes- I had asked if he could please come out so I could take him to his room to give him his meds.... he was finally dressed and she was in a shirt and underwear at that time. What would be the most appropriate action to take in this situation?

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