The Aging reality show

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You know you're a nurse when ...
One of the things about working in long-term care is that it's both a blessing and a curse — knowing about aging. For example, it's not a good thing when you aren't prepared for it, right?

I remember clearly (it's actually indelibly imprinted on my brain for all eternity) the time I was not prepared for the changes aging brings. I was 18 years old, in nursing school and it was my first semester break. My father had gotten me a job at “his” hospital as a nursing assistant. So it was on my FIRST day, that I was asked to go clean Mr. Johnson who had a “BM accident.”

Now I thought I was savvy as a first year nursing student — even though I had never actually taken care of a real human being before! After all, I had been around “medical” people since childhood; I had seen my first autopsy already so I thought I could handle anything. But when you are 18 years old and the first naked man you see is 85 years old … yeah, all I can say is I took anatomy and physiology and nothing was where it was supposed to be!

Put it this way: My dad couldn't have purchased a more effective birth control! (And seeing how he was the one who had gotten me the job, do you think … )

But see, now that we study aging, we know what happens to the body as we age. We know our skin has a secret will to hit the ground before we do. So while it's scary knowing this will happen, it also completely skews our outlook on life.

For example, I can't look at a tattoo and not wonder what it will morph into. That cute little butterfly on the hip? At 75, that sucker's a pterodactyl!

That rosebud that's strategically placed? Um, long stem and NO longer attractive! I actually think we should have a new reality game show. Get a bunch of aging bikers together and let's play “name that tattoo.”  That might be fun.

So, OK, if you really have to get a tattoo, go with the evidence, go with what we've learned, right? If you need a tattoo in that “strategic spot,” how about a dachshund? That way, when it elongates, it looks normal. Cool!

Don't you wish you could pass on this wisdom to Generation Y? So many are not only tattooed from head to toe but also multiply pierced. Not one or two piercings in an ear but so many that the ear looks like a spiral notebook. Ahhh, but we know something important, don't we? We know that as you age, the ear continues to grow. Yup, there's going to be a whole generation of people who will whistle when a strong wind goes by! I can hear it now: Screechy little voices yelling, “What the heck is that noise?!”

So when the “job” starts getting to you, just stop for a minute and smile. This could be 40 years in the future and you could be looking at a morphed tramp stamp that looks like a gargoyle!

Makes your day not seem too bad, eh?

Keeping it real,

Nurse Jackie

The Real Nurse Jackie is written by Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC — a real life long-term care nurse who is also the director of clinical affairs for the American Medical Directors Association. 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.

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The Real Nurse Jackie

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. The opinions supplied here are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of her employer or her professional affiliates.

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