Monday, November 22, 2010

...And then I come home crying

Even good jobs can give you bad days. Very, very bad days.

My current facility (the GreatRep) is divided loosely into two wings, East and West. Residents can circulate freely from one wing to the other, but the West Wing is more acute, and is where anyone who needs mechanical lifts to be moved, or consistently must be fed at meals lives. As you can imagine, the more demented people get, the more likely they are to be combative. And there is one little stretch of the West Wing that we may as well nickname Witch Wing or something else that rhymes with it, because there are 4 women there that will slap, spit, scratch and pull the hair of anyone who dares to try to toilet, feed, or bathe them.

I have no idea why the administrators decided that some lucky soul would get ALL of these women at once (plus a couple of pleasant residents) and put them all on one run.

So when I went to sign in and saw my name written next to the dreaded West 1 run, I got nervous.

The morning started out well enough that I was lulled into a false sense of security. Madge simply curled into the fetal position and refused to unclench the entire time I dressed her (while she lay in bed) and put her into her wheelchair, and cleaned her face and inserted her dentures. Lillian tried to slap me while I toileted and dressed her, but she was too tired for much and was easy to dodge. The others mostly cooperated.

Then it came time for the after-lunch rush to get EVERYONE out of the dining room, toileted or changed, into bed or a regular chair (no wheelchairs) and into clean clothes if they got food all over them. This didn't go as smoothly. Lillian grabbed a huge chunk of my hair and yanked, yelling "you said mashed potatoes! YOU SAID MASHED POTATOES! YOU SAID THAT!" and kicking me as I put clean pants on her. She also managed to slap me across the face while I tried to stand her up from the toilet. Madge was no longer content to curl into the fetal position and instead lost her damn mind when I had to pull down her pants to check if she needed a new disposable brief. Lots of kicking, plus another slap for good measure. Thanks, Madge.

I held it together, finished doing what I had to do, charted, and drove home. Walked in the door of my apartment and burst into tears like the giant baby I felt like being all day.

Days like that make me grateful for two things:
1. I will only have West Run 1 occasionally, and I'll know what to expect next time.
2. I'm married.

How horrible would it be to have a day from hell like that and then come home to a completely empty apartment? I couldn't handle it. I know lots of people like to live alone, but I will always want a roomate, a child, a family member, a spouse, or even a pet around when I have the worst day of my life like that.

As it was, I burst into tears, changed my clothes entirely (I was covered in pureed food after trying to clean the witches of West 1 after lunch) and got into bed. My husband fixed me up with ibuprofen, an ace bandage, a bowl of cereal and soymilk, and an episode or 3 of Jeopardy.

I survived, but I sure as hell didn't do it alone!

Oh, another thing I'm grateful for? They make halidol in cream form. That way when someone is totally freaking out, if they have orders for it, the nurse can rub some cream on them to get them to calm down. If I ever meet the person who figured that one out (and had the common sense to know that pills and injections are a Bad Plan for anyone who needs the halidol that badly) I owe them a medal or a plaque.

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