June 10, 2006

Is It Morning Yet?

This is just an everyday update and hi to my cyberweb family. I think I've worked 18 hours straight and done the work for three shifts. Now I should be sleeping but was inspired by a couple of my "favorites" who updated their blog already.

For those who were wondering, Sandy's test came out okay and she is still scheduled for back surgery on June 21. I'll be flying to sunny Florida two times in two weeks to help keep her and her doctor in ship shape! Remember, I hate airplanes and have claustrophobia (can I spell that word?) really bad. It helps to have a confident person talking me through it, but this time I'll be alone and on my own with the panic attacks. I get panicky thinking about it, so let's move on. I'm sure I'll handle it when the time comes - as I always do!

This morning when I was watching the second hand creeping around toward 6:30 a.m. "getting off time", I got a phone call that the day nurse had called off and a replacement would be late. Uggg. I pouted and fussed at no one (there's no one there at night) and resolved to have a bad attitude when 'whoever' got there.

But, in the end, nice me. I wrote out lengthy report and started passing the 9 a.m. meds so my patients wouldn't get their meds late and so no one would have to wait for pain pills. I doubt anyone realized what was going on.

Except one. A patient's husband lives close by and stays with his wife most of the time except to sleep. Well, he came in this morning and saw me still there. He stood in the doorway of her room and danced a jig! He said, "If I'd known you were still going to be here, I would have shaved!"

I wanted someone to feel sorry for me and state concern for my lack of sleep, but I think my patients would have been just as happy to see me stay all day and come back tonight.

This is the point about nursing homes (and hospitals too). Where I work now, everything is computerized. I use a laptop on my med cart to see what meds are due and I click them off on the computer as I give them. Also, all the doctor's orders and nurses notes charting (we do each shift on each patient) are also done in a computer program.

The problem is, when the nursing home doesn't have enough regular nurses to work who have been trained on the computer programs, they call a nurses' agency, and in comes a nurse who has never been there, who can't log on to the computer or the laptop and doesn't know anything about any of the patients!

This particular nursing home uses more agency than regular nurses! When I folow an agency nurse, she hasn't been able to log on to the computer to take any new orders, she can't "admit" a patient or leave notes so we know what's going on. Often I have to do all the admission work of the day admissions and "note" all the doctor's orders from the entire day because an agency nurse "worked" the previous shift.

So this morning, I'm already dead tired from working all night. Now this agency nurse is coming in who can't read any of my notes on the computer or "see" what meds I've given during the night. I have to orient her to everything from where the bathroom is to where we keep the narcotics and where the pudding is for meds. Oh by the way, I have to be sure and tell her who gets meds crushed and who's on thickened liquids.

She's already late. Meds are late. She's nervous and I'm blurry-eyed. How would you like your mother to need medical care in a place like that. Well, hello. They're all like that. If you have been reading "The Adam and Eve" articles, you already know. This morning was just a real live example of the system.

But, I degress....On the way out (finally!), I stopped to help an old lady eat her breakfast. Actually, I asked the day shift aides if they would please feed her and they said they couldn't leave the table, and since no one told them she was a "feeder", they didn't have time....

Finally, I got to the timeclock - AND COULDN'T FIND MY CAR KEYS! I was sure I took them out of my tote as I walked down the hall....Boy, I must have gone through my pockets and tote a hundred times. Is anyone reading this already ahead of me? Where did I stop on the way out? Sure enough, a half-hour later I found them on the dresser of the lady I was feeding....

Jim is taking some Saturday classes right now and was gone before I got home. I had told him I'd take the dogs out when I got home. So, I walk up the steps to get one dog. Take Sheba out and walk back up the flight of steps to take her back. Walk back down with Ching-Ching and then back up again. I counted I walked up the equiv. of 5 flights of steps after working 18 hours and being awake for almost 30 hours.

I suppose everyone is yelling at the computer screen for me to stop this and get to bed! Okay. I'm on my way. Sweet dreams. Oh Yea! Now the lady upstairs is vacuuming!

PS - (Late Entry). After a few hours of sleep, I went to the nursing to take a print-out of my Adam and Eve stories to a family who asked me if I had any ideas of how to find a nursing home for their mother who has outlived the skilled unit. (Imagine that.)

Guess what? The agency nurse I gave report to was sitting at the nurses station ASLEEP! Several items of importance that I told her in report this morning were ignored. (Like to keep a tube feeding at 30cc an hour until 4 p.m.) She had disconnected it!!!!

Some family members greeted me in surprise but happy I was "back on duty". (In blue jeans?) Nope, I'm off now until Monday night. Happy me. Oh Happy Day!


Take Care on the Journey,
(Enjoy the book)


Katy said...

We received our books today, and I'm thrilled at how professional and interesting they turned out! I love the combination of photos, poetry, and information about people I love. Wonderful job, Mama Linda!

Katy said...

Thanks for the happy birthday wishes, too!