We’re Being Watched.

Daily. Hourly. By the minute for the next week and a half. Walking around with their laptops and making notes on every little thing that we, the PSWs and nurses do. I understand they have a job to perform. I understand it is to benefit the residents and us, the workers, but it doesn’t feel that way. When they MOHLTC (http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/) decides to pay a LTC home a visit, it’s just never as much fun as it should be. Wait, should this be fun?

I don’t mind answering your questions. I don’t mind you watching me to make sure that I am doing my job correctly. However, I do not have 30 minutes to sit and talk about bedrails with you. I have a JOB to do. I have residents that need my assistance and in order for me to do my job correctly, you need to leave me a lone. Because there are only 3 of us on the floor – on a good day – and it is hard enough to get the job done stress-free. I don’t appreciate you leering at me and talking to me as if I don’t have the slightest clue as to what I’m doing. Give us some credit. Spend a day in our shoes and talk to the residents we take care of. Watch us when someone has a conniption and decided to urinate all over the dining room floor. Pay attention when we’re being called names and risking our lives all to give someone a shower they so badly need.

You’re not there to judge us. You’re not there to look down on us. You’re there to make sure this home is running properly and that the residents are being properly taken care of.

Let me do my job and they will be.

Quality vs. Quantity

What is this obsession that the human race has with keeping people alive for as long as possible? Is it worth it? Is it worth the time? Is it worth the medication, the oxygen tanks, the feeding tubes, the time, the money, and the sadness in a loved ones eyes of not being able to get closure? Is this not cruelty of the worst kind? I think it’s pretty close.

I’ve known her for 3 years. In those 3 years, she’s never said much to me, or anyone for that matter. On occasion she would mumble incoherently or randomly ask about a subway fare. Bound to a wheel chair, he limbs are stiff and her joints are locked like the Tin Mans was. Oil won’t help her. Nor will medication. It’s the nature of the beast, of her illness slowly taking over the beautiful woman she once was.

She’s  not eating much. She used to, sometimes two plates worth at lunch! Now we’re lucky if she even looks at the spoon full of puree meat. A delicacy where she lives.

She’s alive but only with the aid of an oxygen tank, a feeding tube and a relative who comes to see her once every blue moon.

She was sent to the hospital because she was refusing food. That’s a sign. A big, red, flourescent sign telling me that she wants to go. Her business on our planet is over. She can’t speak or let us know of her feelings in any way. She won’t eat. Other animals perform the same actions when they are about to die. Yet for some reason, either by her will or her POA’s, someone has made the decision to keep her going by all means necessary.

Why? Why is this done?  If there was any shred of hope to a healthy and happy recovery then by all means. But just for the sake of it? Are we waiting for a miracle cure to all of life’s ailments? Do we secretly enjoy suffering? Are we so desperately attached to our loved ones that we can’t let go?

I never want to be like that. I’ve taken care of far too many bodies who lost their souls well before the mechanics gave up. I want to live & die with dignity. Not tied to a bunch of machines.

A Party For Two.

It is March Break, was anyone else aware of that? The only reason I know is because I have extra shifts this week on account of this lovely holiday. It’s been so long since I counted down the days since New Years to that wonderous week off from everything. March Breaks, long weekends, all of these things disappear once in healthcare. You get used to it believe it or not.

We were short-staffed today at work. Someone called in sick, so for 4 hours we had 3 PSWs on the unit, and for the other 4 only 2 of us remained. 2 PSWs for 30 residents.

This is a regular occurence. It happens more than I’d like to admit and unfortunately there isn’t much that can be done about it. It’s about money, it’s always about money. It isn’t about senior care and it certainly isn’t about quality of care either. It’s disgusting and it’s wrong. Should the unthinkable happen, what are we to do? There’s a fire. The entire floor has the flu. I am helping my co-worker toilet a resident with a hoyer lift when another resident has a fall. We haven’t got eyes everywhere yet we are punished as if we should have. If we call in sick we’re asked a million questions why. If we come into work sick we’re sent home and told not to have come in the first place.

A PSW life isn’t easy.

My seniors keep me going.

I do this for them. No one else.