Thursday, April 24, 2008

An RN's Responsibility

Let's be clear about something.
In a nursing home, it does take many disciplines to care for the residents: dietary, housekeeping, social service, etc.
However, there is one discipline that has to take over the other disciplines if they are not available (as in off shifts or weather emergencies).
That is the nurse - usually the RN - who is also supposed to assume the role of Nursing Home Administrator when he/she is not available.
That is not reversible.
No dietary aide can do what an RN does.
No activity aide can do what an RN does.
No housekeeper can do what an RN does.
The RN, when other departments are not available, has the responsibility of his/her profession and all the others when it is necessary to care for the facility's residents.

I know - I once made breakfast for 115 residents in the middle of an ice storm.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I Made History Today

I voted for a black man for my party's candidate for President.
I'm old enough to remember Civil Rights marches, the pictures from Selma, Alabama, the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
And today I voted for a black man for President.
Of course I hope he wins and then wins in November.
But as an American, I think we've already won.
We were able to vote for a black man for President.

I was the first one to vote in my precinct and I wrote my own name in for an alternate delegate to the convention.

Ya never know....
I mean, I did vote for a black man for President...
And he was running against a woman.

Real history in the making this year.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

How Did I DO It?

I passed by a couple of my old neighborhoods recently. I was on streets that lead to the local hospital - the one where I received by nursing education and where I started my nursing career.

I lived near the hospital so I could walk to work. I didn't drive and couldn't really afford a car - even when I got married, I walked to the hospital - in all weather and for almost a year in nursing clinics (shoes) with holes in them. When Heather was small I worked the evening shift so I only needed a babysitter for an hour or so in the afternoon before her father came home from work- I walked to and from the hospital - about six blocks one way - even after my shift ended at 11 PM - sometimes I wouldn't get out until later. The work as a charge nurse was difficult, but I did it. It was hard work, but I did it - for years.

During the day, because I had no car, there were only a few places I could walk to - with Heather in a stroller. There were few stores nearby, so for the most part, I was home until I walked the long six blocks to work.

My life during that those years was mother and nurse - I don't have a memory of doing anything for myself - anything that I wanted to do - even if it didn't cost money. I was a mother and a nurse.

Sometimes I wonder if I even had a thought about myself in my head. I have no memory of anything except wanting to go back to school - which I couldn't do then because I worked evenings.

Maybe that's why I'm so selfish now and wonder how I did it then.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Number 500!!

This will be my 500th post on this blog.
And the crowd goes wild!!!!!

I wanted to write about gratitude again.

I just finished reading a Los Angeles Times article about the price of gas in a small rural Alabama community. I read that some people walk up to the pumps with gas cans and even mason jars - depending on the amount of money they have.

I just drove from Easton to Hershey to Easton for work. I had to fill up along the way. I just swiped my debit card. Yeah, sure the company gives me mileage. But the point is I'm able to pay for it and wait for the expense check.

There was a time when that would have been a problem.

There was a time, when Heather was in middle school and then high school, when I thought myself rich to have $25 to $30 for the weekend - and maybe that was going to last me for the rest of the week. Of course, prices weren't as high as they are now and Heather was a great kid who was content with playing in the band for Saturday football games and having $5 to spend. I also was content having $5 to spend on a couple of glasses of wine Friday night when I went out with friends.

Today that $25-$30 might not see me through a Barnes and Noble outing. My psychologist and I have come to the conclusion that I have a lot of books around me as a metaphorical wall, to keep people out. Okay, I'll accept that - as long as I have something to read.

But I digress...back to gratitude.

Thank you, God, Goddess, Allah - whoever - thank you for my job that allows me to live better than the people of Coy, Alabama. And thank you, for the reporter who wrote that story and brought me back to reality.

My daughter may live 3000 miles away - but I can afford to visit her.
I may be chubby - but I can afford to buy healthy food and clothes that fit.
I may have a stressful job - but at least I have a job.
I may have a psychologist - but at least I have health insurance to pay for it and besides she laughs at my jokes.
I may have a wall around me, but it's built with bricks called Poe, Oates, Twain, King, Shayne, Braun, Lewis...mysteries, horror, hystories, romance, literary, poetry...

And this is my 500th post.
And the crowd is still going wild!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Feeling More than My Age

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's ......
She gets from nursing home to nursing home in a single bound.
She can lift computer cases full of files and laptops.
She can walk all over a facility, talk to residents and staff, audit charts in a split second.
She can......

No she can't.

I just found out from one of my Regional Nurses that she will be sitting in one of her buildings for the next two weeks. I already have one Regional Nurse acting as DON in one of her buildings. Where does that leave me - covering two regions, having nightmares about work and scarfing down Advil for the back pain.

People forget that I'm 60 - I forget that I'm 60.
I get home and I'm too tired to do anything but nuke my supper, read the mail and get into jammies. Writing is almost out of the question.

I need some time at Camp Taylor in an RV along the lake with the Lakota Wolf Preserve a short walk up the hill. But somehow I have less time coming to me than I thought I did. I have no clue and I won't fight it - too tired.

I'll just keep being Super Nurse until I get at least one of my Regional Nurses back.
Then I'll go back to being The Last RN - how I feel, how many RNs feel - especially the ones who are doing everything and working double shifts and feeling unappreciated.

National Nurses Week is coming soon.
Have you thanked a nurse this year?
Better do it before we're all gone.
As in: Up, up and Awaaaaaaaaaaaay!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Stand BACK!!!!!

My head's about to explode!

At least that's how it feels - too much information in the database.
Too many files. Too many downloads.
Information overload.


Sixty is NOT the new Forty.
Sixty is the same old age it always has been.
Except now, when you're sixty, you've got more to learn and more to do.

I need a week of walking, writing and reading.
Maybe I need a life of that.

But first I gotta keep my head from exploding.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

I'm really not pyschic...or am I?

Reuters report:
Foreclosures come to McMansion country
Mon Apr 7, 2008 4:46pm EDT

This is what I wrote almost 2 years ago:

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

There are no open spaces any longer.I remember driving from Easton to Bethlehem along William Penn Highway less than twenty years ago and being able to see vast green fields between small developments. There were still family farms in Bethlehem Township then. I’m afraid that those farms are becoming the agricultural dinosaur of the 21st Century – gone, extinct, destroyed by the meteor impact of the……..McMansion!How can a farmer realistically continue to farm and pay taxes on acres and acres of land when there are developers (in our area Ashley Development is a BIG one) that are willing to pay top dollar for their spread. Of course the developers immediately divide that land into small parcels which yield a bumper crop of large, cookie-cutter, multiple bedroom, media-roomed, wrap-around-deck, granite-counter-top homes.Am I the only one who finds it odd, very odd, that as our families shrink in size, our houses are growing? Does a family with two children REALLY need a ten room home…excuse me, ten room, three bath, one finished basement and attached three car garage home? Especially when our green space is slowly being replaced by concrete and streets and sewers and these eyesores? Especially when there are so many people in our own country without decent housing – it’s almost obscene when you think of it like that.But Karma has a way of working things out:Big executive from Mega corporation is getting big bucks by downsizing workers and layoffs. Big Exec gets Big Bonus in company stock. Big Exec buys McMansion. Since many workers have been laid off they can no longer afford housing and become homeless. Unemployed workers can no longer afford to buy the goods produced by the few remaining employees of Mega Corp. Mega Corp stock drops before Big Exec can maneuver a buy-out. Bank forecloses on Big Exec’s McMansion. Lots of McMansion foreclosures all over the country as Mega Corps everywhere die. Lots of homeless ex-employees. Lots of empty McMansions. The Federal Government finally steps in and assumes control of the empty McMansions which becoming housing for the homeless. Ex-Big Exec, now also homeless, moves back into his old McMansion – into one bedroom because he and his family now share it with five other families.What comes around……………………………

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Gratitude Attitude

I've posted about this before but thought it was time to do it again.
I'm grateful for so many things. I often say that I live better than 99% of the people on this planet. This was just brought home to me while I half-listened to CNN this morning. In between the stories about the election and the "final four" was one about citizens of Somalia starving. It didn't take me long to click on (for World Food Programme) and make a donation. How could I not - not with a cupboard and refrigerator full of food?

As much as I gripe about my job, I am blessed with a good one that allows me to live in comfort. I'm also blessed with a profession that allows me to make a difference. Today I'm taking a CD player and some CDs to a resident in Easton Nursing Center. I met her this week - she is virtually completely paralyzed and her room is bare of stimulation. I saw her and realized that I am blessed with fairly good health - the job that provides me a good health insurance to maintain that health. How could I not help her?

I am blessed with a wonderful family - my sister close and my daughter far and still close.

I am blessed with my animal companions. So today I'm taking a donated bag of towels and bags of cat litter to the Center for Animal Health and Wellness. I give monthly to the ASPCA and I support a wolf family.

I am blessed with wonderful friends.

I am blessed.

Life is good.