Thursday, November 17, 2016

Most days the ER is chock full of frail elders accompanied by family members whose mission is never, ever to let their  mom or dad die.  Nobody wants to say goodbye to a parent.

Even if it means doing unspeakable things to keep them alive.

To be clear, "alive" is not the same as "living".  Something everyone should think about.

So it was cool to have 91 year old ex nurse as a patient with all of her marbles, a sense of humor, and a cool daughter who was happy to let me be her mom's nurse.

Over 70 years ago (SEVENTY!) she went entered "nurses training" as it was called.  Now, nurses are "educated".  Think about that while you and ponder why endless courses in nursing theory is absolutely relevant to caring for patients.

There were some surprising similarities in our history.

 "I worked as a secretary for a couple of years, then got bored.  If I had gone straight out of high school,  I would have been finished with my training in time to serve in the War in some way, but it was over before I finished."

My plan was to finish nursing school and join the military (Navy was my preference), and go to Vietnam.  The war ended in my first year of school.

"I worked in a Veteran's hospital for awhile.  Those guys worked really hard to get themselves on track.  It wasn't easy".

I worked in a rehab right out of school.  Then I married a Vietnam veteran

"Of course when we were in school, it was the students who staffed the night shift.  There was no way they could have functioned without students.  God I hated night shift"

Me too.  As a student I worked as an aide at night, or "sat" as a private duty.  I could study or read while rich geriatric patients slept.  The night nurses were all young and mostly new grads.  They were cool.  They warned the students when the dreaded night supe was near.  She was mean.

"The only thing I never, ever wanted to do was work in maternity.  All those screaming women, vaginas and crying babies, no thanks"

My sentiments exactly.

I helped her up to the commode.  When she was ready, I rearranged her things that so that she could get back into bed. "Wait, I have to put on these godawful granny panties".  Note that they were granny panties, not Depends.  I loved her.

Of course many of these older adults are quite funny. I had another 90-year-old who, after being transported for being lethargic (note: she had already been given her nighttime medicines including sleeping pills)  suddenly awoke and demanded food. "What is there to eat around here?" She asked .

Me:  "well I can go and look and see what there is in there kitchenette. I might be able to find you some pudding".

Granny:  "Pudding??! Pudding is not a friggin  meal!"


Lynda Halliger Otvos (Lynda M O) said...

... and Granny is absolutely correct, my husband insists as I eat pudding for dinner yet again.

Stephen Tuck said...

My grandmother did her nursing training during World War One (as in, during that period in history, rather than as military service). She eventually ran her own small hospital in a small house in Preston in the 1920s, before she married my grandfather. When she eventually needed to move into aged care in the 1990s, I think she took a kind of pride in having her ancient certificate of registration from the Nurses and Midwives Board on the wall in her room. The nurses treated her with particular kindness, and I think she made clear she trusted them the way one professional trusts another. She was a dear woman that way.

EDNurseasauras said...

That is so great. I am obsessed with stories about nurse training "back in the day".