It's been three days, and I still cannot keep the smile off of my face. I was recently switched shifts and stations at work (working day shift on a LTC unit, whereas I was the night nurse on a rehab unit). I've been on this unit for 2 weeks now, and having just gotten a routine down, now it's time to work on things I think need to be fixed.
Story 1. Have a resident that has been with us for a few weeks now. Family does not come to visit, this resident had no clothes, always went around in 2 gowns. When I got to work that morning, a night shift aide and nurse brought in clothes for this resident (so much so, that we donated to some other people, there was just not enough room to fit it all!) My resident was crying and so grateful, was very moving. And that just started the mood for the day.
Story 2. Have another resident who has not been eating (does get feeding via peg at night). Daughter has been concerned that resident is losing weight, and "can't you do something about it??" The resident is perfectly capable of eating, she just doesn't, says that she's not hungry. I got to sit with her, got her to talk about her favorite foods, was able to get some sent up from the kitchen, and she did eat 25%!! She was shocked that she did that, even stated "I forgot how good that tastes" She didn't eat lunch, but she did drink her supplements (another thing she hasn't done).
Story 3. Have another resident who has been on isolation for a while now (infection in a wound with wound vac). Was talking to an aide, and come to find out, this resident has not been gotten out of bed except for showers and md appts. I had them get her up in her w/c, and brought her out to the common area during activity time. She was like a different woman. Perked up, laughing, interacting with people, and she ate all her lunch (another one that was eating like a bird).
Story 4. (my favorite) Another resident who has been on hospice for some time now (failure to thrive). On around the clock pain medicine. Did talk w/ hospice about getting her pain medicine lowered and see how she would respond to that (had been getting Dilaudid 2mg q3hrs, now have her on 1mg g3hrs). Before she would just sleep all the time, no response to stimuli except moaning when moved. Since the dose has been lowered, she has become more alert and talking some. This day, as soon as I came on shift, I could hear her down the hall talking. She's conversing appropriately, initiating conversation, opening her eyes, not complaining of any pain. I had the aides get her up in her gerichair and sit by the window, and she tolerated it!! She has not been out of bed in over a year, and she was soo happy she could see outside!!
Everything combined brought tears to my eyes. I actually felt like I made a difference in people's lives. Have not felt like that in a loooong time, that I really was starting to question my career choice. I was not happy about being in the LTC part, but I'm starting to think that right now, this just might be where I need to be.