words of wisdom

Saturday, October 11, 2008
"you can touch the sick, the leper and believe that it is the body of Christ you are touching, but it is much more difficult when these people are drunk or shouting to think that this is Jesus in His distressing disguise. How clean and loving our hands must be to be able to bring that compassion to them."

~ No Greater Love, Mother Teresa

We had three homeless people ask us for money Wednesday night downtown. I had a patient curse at me this week and another drunk schizophrenic threaten to kill someone in the ER waiting room. My roommate literally washed a homeless patient's feet because they smelled so bad. I was fighting to remember...

..."whatever you do to the least of these my brothers, you do it to me." Matt 25:40

Alabama's Sweetness

Friday, October 10, 2008
There is this really cute old man that works out at my gym. He favors my grandfather who passed away when I was eleven so I love to watch him. I don't remember too much about my grandfather except him sitting in his recliner chair, him handing out the Christmas presents, and the seat at the kitchen table that was off limits because he always sat in it. Oh, and prune juice. I feel like he was always drinking prune juice. My now extensive nursing knowledge understands why he drank prune juice.

I always had a sort of reverent fear of him. I don't remember being around him hardly at all as a kid. I remember that he was quiet. He had kind eyes and he liked to fish. He always cleaned the fish on the bricks in the driveway. I thought it was cool. And of course he liked Auburn football. I used to think it was so dumb when my Dad, Uncles and Grandfather used to gather around the tv on fall Saturday afternoons to watch football. I now understand the indulgence.

I miss the fall in Alabama. It even smelled different there.

After grandaddy died grandmother got Alzheimer's and now lives in a nursing home. In my head it happened directly after the event, although I know that isn't true.

Most Emergency Room nurses dread getting a patient from a nursing home. But sometimes they are my favorite. To me, every one of them is my grandmother. Yeah, they tend to be a lot more work because the nursing home usually sends them in when they are being irritable and they are almost always incontinent and you can't gather any medical history from them because it's still 1935 and they are perfectly healthy. They also have paper thin skin and terrible veins. So yes, Emergency Room nurses hate receiving nursing home patients.

I remember vividly as a little girl talking to my grandmother about my Maamaw (my great grandmother, her mother) and how we wanted Jesus to take her home so that she wouldn't have to live in a nursing home without her mind. I remember the smell of her nursing home and her bent over in her wheelchair. I hated going there. That nursing home and my own mother later being in the ICU made me say that I'd never be a nurse. Funny how things change.

I am determined to care for the elderly however I can. That may be in the ER or later down the road in a hospice setting. Every elderly patient I have causes me to think about how Maamaw's , Grandaddy's, and now Grandmother's nurses care for them. That makes the incontinence and terrible veins not seem so bad, and even if it is 1935 it's going to be a good October.

The cute old man at the gym is in amazing shape. It makes me imagine that he took his doctor's advice seriously after a heart attack. The man wears a name tag while working out. I can only assume it's in case something happens to him. He can do more pull ups than me (I can't do any) and he runs fast too. Elderly people can be such a blessing, and I hope that somewhere in Alabama my grandmother is blessing someone too.