Pondering oddities of the job, and more
Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC
I have to say that I absolutely love working in eldercare. I mean, I thought I would have to move down South if I wanted to say whatever was on my mind.
Apparently in the South, all you have to do is proceed what you say or follow it with a “bless her heart” (depending on how Deep South you are). “Did you see that ugly baby in church? Bless its heart, but look at the poor thing's parents.”
When you get old, you can say whatever the heck you want and no one stops you. I remember some years ago when I was a DON at a facility, they brought in some kids from the local day school to entertain some of the folks in the facility.
Little Mary gets out a flute and hits a note that I believe made my inner ears bleed. Well, little Mrs. “Cohen” shrieks from the back of the room in this squeaky voice, “Dear Lord! Somebody make it stooooooooooop.” Now, I'll be honest; I didn't feel a bit sorry for little Mary because you know we were all thinking the same thing. We just didn't have the privilege of saying it out loud.
You can learn a lot from older folks. Like the time we were getting an admission in our rehab unit after this gentleman had a knee replacement.
His adult children arranged for his admission and said to us; “YOU … HAVE … TO … SPEAK … REAL … LOUD … TO … DAD. HE … IS … HARD … OF … HEARING … AND … TOO … PROUD … TO … WEAR … HEARING … AIDS.”
Guess they thought that meant you have to talk real loud — and slow — to the nursing staff too. But whatever.
So anyway, when I go in and see him, I let him know we have an audiologist on campus and that they make hearing aids that no one can see in the ear, and I would be happy to set up an appointment. So he agreed.
A couple of weeks later, I stop by on rounds to see how he is doing. We have a normal conversation and I say, you're hearing great, your family must be so happy. He says, “Heck, I haven't told them. I've changed my will three times!” Wisdom at its best.
Another cool thing about getting older is that you ponder. You don't ponder much when you're younger. I catch myself pondering a bit more now. Things like:
I wonder why it is that people who litter eat really crappy food? (Think about it for a minute.)
I wonder why you get only a penny for your thoughts but we give our two cents' worth? Do the math. You'll go broke.
I wonder why people feel compelled at a funeral to look in a coffin and remark, “Now don't they look natural?” NO, no they don't! Not unless they were tragically born without a personality and sleep with their arms folded on their chest.
I actually asked my husband to have me cremated when I pass. I just don't have the bone structure for looking good lying flat. I don't want people taking their last look at me and going, “Ooooh, man, her death must have been tragic!”
I wonder why sports announcers always say, “It's going to be a fight to the finish?” I mean, no duh! Teams have no reason to fight for a victory after the finish. And boxers usually do finish the fight one way or another, right? What, after a round or two are they both going to say, “Crap, this hurts? Wanna' stop and go get a cold one?” (People who remember Roberto Duran can insert their own joke here.)
And most of all I wonder: Why is it there is artificial flavoring in lemonade but real lemon juice in dish washing liquid?
Just sitting and pondering — and keeping it real!
The Real Nurse Jackie is written by Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC, an APEX Award of Excellence winner for Blog Writing. Vance is a real life long-term care nurse. A nationally respected nurse educator and past national LTC Nurse Administrator of the Year, she also is an accomplished stand-up comedienne. She has not starred in her own national television series — yet. The opinions supplied here are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of her employer or her professional affiliates.