Monday, October 12, 2015
So, my recent nursing efforts have been mainly in aged care, more specifically working in a facility in Mount Beauty where the people are referred to as residents for this is their life and they reside there indefinitely.
My first couple of shifts were awkward to say the least as it is the responsibility of the Div 1 nurse to administer medications throughout the day, whilst overseeing my colleagues as they physically care for the residents, some of whom are very dependant whereas there are others who require a minimum of care.
They are all together in this ward, living in separate rooms, some with furniture, others with bits and pieces left over I dare say from the sale of their homes when their lives are changed irrevocably with admission the the hospital setting.
Some of the residents are quite cognitive and require some degree of physical assistance. A few have various stages of dementia and it can be a little tricky dealing with their confusion and petulance at times. I have found it easier to sit with these people and explain their medications each time simplistically but without patronising their situation.
As I have worked there a few shifts now I have become more familiar with not just the layout of the establishment but with the people I am working for (the residents) and their various needs and wants. I still have to be very careful with medications as they can be a little tricky (thank goodness for MIMS!!!) and I like to know what I am coercing people to take so, whilst I am taking a little bit longer than my colleagues to 'do the drugs' I am too being educated on old medications that haven't changed since I was a junior nurse and new medications with names that are unusual to say the least.
I know within this establishment who to trust to swallow their tablets and those who will wait till you leave the room to spit out what you have given them.
I have learnt how to crush using a mortar and pestle, mix it with the purée of the day and feed it to those who are infirm and are unable to swallow formed tablets and capsules.
I fed medication to a lady this evening who with every spoonful would mutter "no tablets here sister". I had to reassure her repeatedly that her tablets were crushed and in the purée I was feeding her and she was delighted, thinking I was slipping her a little treat that the others weren't getting.
There are a couple of women there who need full assistance with all their care. I love to look at their family representation around them when I am with them so I can chat to them about their grandchildren, children and husbands. One woman I was with tonight who has lost the power of speech and is permanently in bed has a photo by her bed of herself, say, some 10 years ago. She was a fine looking woman back then with upswept hair, makeup, beautiful clothes and pearls around her neck. She must be very loved as there are cards surrounding her from various family members and mementoes from her life before hospital.
I feel pain in my heart when I think of the person she was, and still is mind, but life has cruelly robbed her of her vivacity and her ability to be who she once was. It is so important I realise to treat her with respect and deference rather than just another job on the shift.
All the shifts I have worked at Mount Beauty have been morning shifts until today.
I have loved the drive over of a morning. I have to leave home by 0600 hours at the latest as it takes me the best of an hour to get there but morning sunrise makes it so worth it. One morning as I drove over Pretty Valley and the mountain into the Kiewa Valley I spied no less than 12 kangaroos and wallabies.
Today I started work at 2:30 and finished at 11pm. The nurses I worked with tonight regaled me with tales of deer, kangaroos and wombat encounters on the roads to their homes so I was a little apprehensive about what I might literally run into as I drove over the mountain again.
As I left Mount Beauty and was travelling up the road to Tawonga I spied a little transparent frog gaily hopping into the middle of the road in front of me. I was going slowly enough to ensure he didn't encounter my tyres so I was happy with my conservation effort there.
As I left Tawonga and was driving through Coral Bank, I encountered a brown fox who was on the side of the road. Fortunately for me (and him) he made no effort to run into my path so once again I notched that one up also. Mind there are many out there who might dispute the fox thing and say "kill, kill kill the fox" but it won't be me doing any killing if I can help it.
So, I left the Kiewa Valley Highway and turned left into Pretty Valley Road which is where it becomes very windy as the road snakes its way over the mountain and into more familiar territory (for me that is).
At the top of the mountain after a couple of hairpin bends where I was terrified of running into a curious kangaroo or a destructive deer and I was travelling very slowly I saw an animal making its way slowly across my path. He did not look right nor left but just proceeded across at his own pace so I stopped and let him pass. There was no danger as I was the only fool on this road at this time of the night. This was my bandicoot who seemed to look my way when I stopped as if to say thank you, then proceeded on to his destination, and then so did I.
I encountered no further night time creatures other than a very well fed bunny on my drive as I got home so for this I was most grateful.
I consider myself one very fortunate person for many reasons. My encounters with creatures great and small, human and non-human makes me realise just how fortunate I am at this stage of my life to have health and vision and the heart to be grateful for these things.