- Funky, colourful person. Mother to my 3 year old daughter, love going out and having a drink with friends and dancing to music of all sorts, living a very stressful life which is unlikely to change any time soon, doing the best i can with what i have. Im a very loyal person and am well known for chatting the hind legs off a donkey as well as being a great listener. If you need to offload your troubles then im your woman. Tell me anything it will never go any further. Im a giver and a sharer and care a lot for people and im open minded to the point if im not careful my brain will fall out of my head.... I make spelling mistakes, but im busy, forgive me.... Everything happens for a reason, we just don't always know what that reason is..
Friday, 7 October 2011
New placement, Sadness, Worries, Hard work, Stress, Early mornings and Long days
So on Monday I started my new 6wk placement, it is a hard place to work in, I def think this is the placement that can make or break a person...I have shed a few tears already, there are 9 patients who all have Dementia, some also have other mental health problems too, all bar 3 cannot speak and can only make noises, a few are also blind from the progressive nature of the disease. All of them are doubly incontinent and most of them need to be washed, fed and dressed, to say it is heartbreaking working there is an understatement; I have never felt so sad in a placement, but I am working hard and am proving myself, I am not afraid to get my hands dirty (literally).
Since day one I have been helping to get the patients up and out of bed and then washing them, changing their incontinence pads and getting them dressed before taking them to the dining room for breakfast. I have a 3yr old daughter so you would think I have done all this kind of thing and still do for her so would be used to it, but there is a massive difference to caring for a 3yr old in this way, then doing the same for someone who is the same age as my grandparents. I have been constantly feeling so terrible for them, it is like they have no dignity left, and it does not matter how kind you are when helping them, you still have to help them do the most intimate things and they do have an idea of what’s going on because you can see the distress in their faces.
Not one of the patients is happy about being helped with these things in the mornings, they get distressed and lash out and struggle, so you have to essentially hold them with a minimum of 2/3 people just to perform these basic tasks, I hate having to do this, because they want to do it themselves but they can’t. Then there is breakfast and lunch time, feeding people is not as easy as it sounds, I totally put myself in the place of the person, I take my time and wait properly for them to finish their food before giving them more, I give a sip of drink every few mouthfuls and I talk to them whilst feeding, I also do NOT shovel it in, like I have seen some people do, how can anyone think this is ok, im sure the patients appreciate my attitude when I feed them, they know they do not need to rush with me..
Another thing is the task of changing their pads, yep I have cleaned up poo and wee, I have had to essentially clean shit out from the bottoms of people 3 times my age, I did it with as much dignity as I could muster and never showed it bothered me, some people can be rough when they take a patient to the toilet before to see if they can go before putting a new pad on them, a nurse got slapped in the face yesterday, she was a little too rough trying to help the patient turn to sit on the toilet, yet, all the while I spoke to him calmly explaining what we wanted him to do and he looked and me and even though he wouldn’t do it, he kept hold of my hand and stared at me and I think he was grateful that I let him lead me and I didn’t force him, not long after when sitting in the lounge with the patients he took my hand again and lead me round the living room and then sat down next to me, it was so sweet, I think he may have a soft spot for me.
I mean why should anyone like to be made to go to the toilet in front of someone else and do their business and then have a nappy strapped to them? I don’t blame him for lashing out. You just have to know how to treat people and understand their reactions.
Some of the patients can’t speak, can’t see, can’t do anything for themselves, they get up in the morning with help, have breakfast, lunch and dinner with help and then they spend their day either in the lounge, garden or room and that’s it for the day, I sit with them, talk to them, play music or watch tv with them and it seems like such a lonely existence, some of them get no visitors, because people just don’t care enough, it makes me feel so sad... Working here has made me realise how badly I do not want to get old and unwell, if you knew that this was your future how would it make you feel?!
I have been getting up at 5:15am starting work at 7:30am after travelling across the city in the dark and then working till either 3:30pm or 8:30pm then travelling home and spending some time with my daughter before I have some food and study until the early hours of the morning before starting it all again, I am tired, exhausted but I still want to do it, I am skint beyond belief and am behind in my rent by 4weeks, have no decent clothes as they are all old, I have been helped by some of the greatest women I have the pleasure of knowing who have sent me parcels of clothing for my daughter and myself to help me through the hard times, some have sent me shopping and gift cards for food and it had helped, but im still struggling, I try and be positive, but I carry the world on my shoulders and more. It would be nice to get more help from the people who should, but I don’t.
People think I am strong, but I am just good at pretending.. I have it down to a fine art these days..But there are days when I cry and think why me, then I try and remember there are people much worse off than me I have my health unlike the people I am caring for, unlike the people homeless on the streets with nothing and no-one. But yet it hurts and I feel so weak, yet I carry on. I long for the day when I am at the top of my game and not the bottom. Yes I go out and have a drink and let my hair down when my money arrives each month, if I didn’t I think I would end up having a breakdown as there is only so much a person can deal with day to day.
I think by the end of this placement it will help me to be a stronger person and I will come out the other end with experience and more compassion for other human beings that I ever think possible. But for now I will plod along doing what I am doing...