Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Oh, Gross!

When I tell people what I do for a living now, a lot of them get hung up on the fact that I wipe butts and change adult diapers. I get asked "Do you have a really strong stomach?" (answer: no) and "Is that the worst part?" (again: no). It's just like anything else; you get used to it. It's just another task that needs to be done, and it's one that has a pretty obvious correlation to whether my patient is comfortable and healthy or not. Would you be feeling good sitting in a soaking wet diaper? Would it be fun for you to no longer be able to get up and go to the bathroom when you need to? Of course not. So by handling those things promptly, I improve someone's quality of life instantly. Not bad, really.

Besides, I'm a blood phobic, so anything involving blood is approximately 8,000,000times worse in my mind than any poop, vomit or urine could be. Blood makes me faint, usually. I mean really faint. Out cold, hitting my head on the way down type of fainting. Yikes.

So you can imagine how anxious I was when one of my clients had to have his toenail removed recently. Completely gone. Double yikes.

He got home with a sheet of instructions that read "soak foot for 10 min daily, loosely apply bandaid, can use small amount of antiobiotic ointment if needed". Wow, thanks for the hints about what I'm going to see under the weird blue gauze you packed him in, doc. Scribbled on a prescription notepad was the additional "for first treatment, remove bandage first. If dressing sticks, use peroxide to loosen."

Oh. Okay. Bandage sticking to never before exposed skin?? That can't be fun.

I got my client settled, got all my supplies lined up, and gloved up. Oh my lord, how I love disposable gloves. I cannot imagine doing this job without them. The first nurses were SAINTS to do what they did, and to do it bare-handed.

I gently began removing the dressing from this poor man's foot, and blood really started flowing. Like dripping-onto-the-carpet flowing. Crap! I got that bandaging off as fast as I could and dunked his foot into the little basin of water, which immediately began looking as if a shark attack had taken place. My client was woozy at this point, and shut his eyes, claiming to be too much of a "sissy" to look. Me too, buddy. Me too.

Luckily the bleeding stopped after a few minutes in the water, and after a very messy dry-off, the beast was safely bandaged up again. Ew.

I left that apartment a little woozy myself, and vowing to inspect my own feet every night for the rest of my life so I never, EVER have to have that done on myself. But you know what? I did it! I dealt with a bleeding wound without fainting, vomiting, or freezing up. I'm awesome! I'm brave! I'm a nursing assistant rockstar!

I'd also still prefer a diaper to that, no contest. Especially one as aptly named as this ...

That's right, buddies, me and the disposable briefs? We'll prevail!

1 comment:

  1. Way to go, Abbey! Justin just recently had his toenail removed. It was HORRIBLE! I had to do what you did too. Blood doesn't bother me but things like getting your toenails ripped off do (let's face it, "removed" is a euphemism).