Popcorn & A Movie?

 

When I first started working in homecare I had this ill pre conceived notion that it would be easier. Our clients may have an advantage physically, which in turn means that the chances of us cleaning up soiled linen is slim. However, the emotional load is something  that I was inadequately prepared for.

I’m visiting folks who for the most part are potentially preparing for their next life in LTC. When living at home becomes too much a care facility is often the next daunting step. As a PSW, I’m privy to the intimacy’s of their thoughts pertaining to this daunting change:

The husband who has severe guilt with the inevitability of his wife leaving him for a care facility. Not because he DOESN’T WANT to take care of her, but because her illness has digressed so severely over the last 6 months that neither of them can cope anymore. That damn brain tumour that just won’t stop growing has stolen both of their lives. And I watched it slowly do so.

The single mom, who with two kids, has no social life because she spends 24 hours a day caring for her severely disabled teenage son. Maybe if the seizures were more predictable she could leave him on his own for just 10 minutes to take in the sun that shines outside their window.

When working in LTC, I wasn’t privy to ANY of this. All of this had already happened. I was solely there for the aftermath of the hurricane that left a family in ruins. Many, many family’s.

So if working in LTC is the movie, then working in the community is the prequel to this million dollar blockbuster.

 

Safety First

I laughed to myself as I typed in the title for this post; A post I try to do once a year at this time of year in regards to heat safety. I laughed because I am burnt to a crisp after spending 2 days in the sun with out the proper protection. And the funny thing is is that this happens to me EVERY YEAR. And every year I say, nope, NOT next year. It’s embarrassing. But you know what’s NOT funny or embarrassing? Skin cancer. A very real threat that shouldn’t be taken lightly. I tell you I am PAYING in spades today for my stupidity. Not only do I look like a tomato with raccoon eyes, but I feel like absolute crap.

I like to talk about this not just for OUR safety, but for those we as PSWS take care of. The biggest problem I have in working with seniors in the summer is getting them to drink water. Or any liquid for that matter. Even if you’re not thirsty, I can’t write for words HOW important this is. I’ve seen people faint; become delusional, lethargy and a whole slew of other ailments that could be prevented with one simple trick.

So far this season I haven’t had too many concerns with those that I visit. But EVERY TIME I am there I make a point of emphasizing water, water and MORE water. My clients have told me that drinking a lot is a concern due to incontinence issues. I’d rather a slightly wet pant than a trip to emergency, and once they get that thought through their head they usually comply.

Do any of you have trouble with this as well? If so I’d LOVE to hear your feedback and any tips & tricks you may have.

And remember. Wear sunscreen.

Walk For Alzheimer’s 2016

A week ago today at this time we were tired, sweating buckets, eating water melon & drinking water like it was going to run out. But we were happy. All 140 or so of us who showed up at 10 am ready to walk 5km in 30 degree weather all for a wonderful cause to raise awareness & funds to combat a devastating disease: Alzheimer’s.

My alarm went off at 7:45 am thinking I had enough time to get up, WAKE up and get hyped for the day. Little did I know that my beautiful friend was already here waiting to get pumped with me. Another friend showed up half an hour later & together we pumped ourselves up, tied our laces & put on sunscreen ready to kick Alzheimer’s in the ass.

Well, unfortunately the disease still prevails, with an estimated 747,000 Canadians living with Alzheimer’s since 2007. By 2031, if nothing changes, those numbers are predicted to hit 1.4 million.*

Scary, huh? As a PSW I can’t imagine what my work load will be like. But more importantly, as a HUMAN, I’m worried someone I know will be dealt the horrible blow of a dementia related diagnoses.

I am super super proud to say that our team apswlife raised  $685 for The Alzheimer Society of Perth County, with all proceeds going toward education & research for a cure. Over all Stratford raised over $20,000 & I cannot thank you enough.

Thank you to those who could support financially. Thank you to those who could support emotionally & spread the word. A huge, HUGE thank you to my beautiful friends Gloria & Barb who made the trek out here just to walk with me. I can’t ask for better friends.

Can’t wait for next year!

*For more information, please visit alzheimer.ca

12 More Days!

Good Morning!
I don’t know about you, but I was thrilled to wake up this morning and see SUNSHINE! Yesterday we had wee snowflakes falling down here in Stratford. Pardon me? Unacceptable! I’ll be paying close attention the weather now. Not because I am desperate to always wear sandals – which I am – but mainly because in just 12 days time team apswlife will be walking to raise awareness for Alzhiemer’s Disease! May 28th is the magical day for the Stratford walk and I am so so pumped!

To date, our team has raised $685, that’s $185 more than I had hoped to raise! Not only that, but our team is #2 in raising the most funds in Perth County! Thank you! I am so so grateful to everyone who has been able to support us – whether it be financially, emotionally, morally or in good friendship. Thank you.

In other news, work has been going very well. I have really taken to my new role as a personal support worker in home care. I still remember not too long ago how I was dreading it and wishing I could do anything but. Now I’m content. I adore my clientèle. I love not ever having to work the midnight shift again. Hell, I love not having to work past 10pm!

My mind has been all over the place lately with blog post ideas, so as soon as I can sort those out I’ll be right back here typing away. Now I must go fetch some coffee.

Hope you all have a great day!

(To donate to team apswlife, please click here.)

Update On Life. Sort Of.

Wooooah! It’s been awhile, eh’? Sorry, but I WORK.
No, I’m not yelling at you, it’s not your fault. It’s no one’s fault really, but some days are more frustrating than others. I’m sure you can relate.
So you can imagine that when ever I come across a reading or hear anyone say something along the lines of “well, it’s not like you’re a nurse or anything, you’re ONLY a PSW” it just creams my corn.
Only? You’re right. Why don’t you show me how it’s done. My morning consisted of working with a woman with a brain tumour therefore dealing with several seizures. My client after her had severe Cerebral Palsy. #3 is a woman who I’m convinced hates me because she ALWAYS refuses care and yells at me in her native tongue and tries to hit me – and SUCCEEDED the other day might I add. And lastly – at least for the morning – is a gentleman I very much enjoy visiting and working with except when he’s on the verge of a Diabetic coma & you’re like -_-
So yeah. I’m ONLY a PSW.
Take a look at my buddy PSWHQ’s page here & take a read on the job description of a PSW.

Phew. HAD to get that out.

Secondly, it’s LESS than a month until my team aptly titled apswlife walks for The Alzheimer’s Society to raise awareness and funds to fight Alzheimers! I’m very excited about this & so so thrilled with all the support we’ve been getting to date. Still, if you’d like to support our team, take a looksy over here to donate! Just search for our team, apswlife.

And thirdly, I’m off this weekend so insert happy dance here! 🙂

The Decision.

I either just did something really dumb or really smart. Either way, I’m confident with the path I have chosen and can already feel the stress and tension lift off my shoulders.

I quit my job.

Guess which one. I’ll give you a hint. Remember a while back when I went on a rant about homecare and about how much I loathed it? Yeah, NOT that one.

I gave in my 2 weeks notice for my casual position at the long term care facility. I’ll tell you why, because there might be a lot of you out there in a similar boat.

I love LTC. And until now I thought that was where I was supposed to be. And who knows, maybe in the future I’ll be back there again. But for now it isn’t worth it. I have FULL TIME hours while working in homecare. Why am I working another job ON TOP of that? Why am I exhausting myself with 16 hour days when I don’t need to be? It finally got to me and something had to be done. So I made the decision to let go of the job that wasn’t getting me further. I had been told when I was hired last July that getting a part-time or even full-time line would come easy and that I should have one by September. It’s almost February and I’m tired.
Despite my moaning I’ve come to enjoy homecare. I can more or less chose my hours and the work load isn’t as heavy as in LTC. I worked in LTC for almost 6 years. I think it was time for a change. I don’t want to worry about 2 jobs and balancing them both. It isn’t worth my sanity & it isn’t worth the extra $300 or so I’d be bringing in every 2 weeks. There are A LOT of things in life far more important than money and work. I intend to enjoy it. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about this job is that life goes by pretty damn fast.

No body on their death bed has ever said “I wish I worked MORE”.

#WalkForMemories & #BellLetsTalk

Someone’s a little hashtag crazy. Yes, unfortunately you need to work that pound key when you depend on social media to get the word out there!

Two things:

The Annual Alzheimer’s Society Walk For Memories is upon us & I am estatic to say that I will be walking on May 28th in Stratford! Last year I participated in Cambridge & although was thrilled to be donating my time to a wonderful cause, didn’t so much enjoy walking circles in a mall. SO, this year I will be out doors with two of my closest friends in this wonderful town (that thinks it’s a city) where I now reside! So far team #apswlife has raised over $300! I am beyond grateful for everyone’s generous donations and kind words of encouragement.

I am doing this walk for several reasons. The main one being that we need a cure YESTERDAY & I certainly don’t want to have to endure this illness nor do I want that for any of my loved ones. Secondly, I work with far too many clients who are already afflicted & it breaks my heart to see them deteriorate day by day.

If you’d like to support our team, please click here for details.

Item number two for this evening is about what has been going on today: Bell Let’s Talk Day. Another cause that’s very important to me for several reasons, the main one being that I too have dealt with Depression and know all too well how debilitating it can be. Mental Illness in 2016 still carries with it a terrible stigma that needs to be destroyed. You find me one person who hasn’t dealt with SOMETHING and I’ll call you a liar. I wrote a post on this last year I do believe & if you’d like to take a peek, please do so here.

For each time that someone uses the hashtag #BellLetsTalk on Twitter or other media outlets, Bell will donate 5 cents toward mental health initiatives.

Get pressing on that pound key! I have to get back to watching American Horror Story. It’s my new obsession.

It’s OK To NOT be OK.

For as long as I can remember I’ve been a generous person. A nice girl. Someone you’d bring home to your parents. A fucking doormat.

It took me A LONG time to grasp the concept of “It’s OK to not be OK.”. Attempting to deal with depression on your own in a futile attempt to “fix” yourself will do that to you. Sometimes you’re NOT ok. Whether you’re depressed or just woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

I was inspired to blog this in the middle of watching Just Shoot Me (David Spade is awesome, yes?!!) because I came across a wicked blog posted on Facebook by my cousin who is a paramedic. The blogger, also a paramedic, posted her own post on this topic, detailing what they DON’T teach you in school and the emotional toll a job like that can have on you.

I could somewhat relate as a PSW.

Going back to that whole nice thing, I still have trouble being ok with not being ok in regards to what I deal with at work. Yes, I have to act professional. But when I come home I expect all of that to go away and not affect me.

I get called names. I get threatened. I get pinched and purposely urinated on. Sometimes I CAN’T do anything and that bothers me even more.

Last week I had to make a 911 call. I was making a house call and upon arrival I found my client lying on the floor. Apparently it had JUST happened and according to her, her legs just gave out. She was concious and able to tell me what happened. I was weirdly calm when calling the paramedics because THANKFULLY I had never had to make that call before. They were very nice & extremely good with her.

Two days later she died in hospital.

….. Uhm. Ok..? I had no idea what to do with that information. All the “what-ifs” that could possibly go through my head did so at warp speed. What if I wasn’t there?! How long would she have been laying there? What if she had hurt more than her leg? WHAT IF I COULD HAVE DONE SOMETHING!

I’m ok. And sometimes I’m NOT and you know what, that’s OK too.

Check out http://chickyparamedic.wordpress.com to see her story.

Christmas Time.

I have to say, it is such a beautiful Sunday morning to spend in pyjamas watching Friends ad- nauseum on Netflix. Otherwise called HAVING A DAY OFF.
Sometimes it feels as if this time will never come & then when it does it’ll pass just as quickly. Yesterday I delighted in my Christmas obsession with checking out the first of many craft shows of the season in Kitchener. I do love shopping local and checking out some of the neat finds for potential gift giving. Afterword I met up with a close friend who also happened to be in town and we delighted in sushi which completely made my evening as Stratford doesn’t know what sushi is.
Today my man and I along with some friends will be taking in the Christmas merriment in St. Jacobs. I do love this time of year.

Work has been… well, work. I’m getting used to the whole home care deal – NO, I haven’t quit – as I think its making all the difference now that I have more of a schedule with regular clients. And even though my company is un-organized beyond belief, I DO love love love my clientèle. I leave after my time with them feeling happy and satisfied that I was able to help them and that is WHY I am a PSW in the first place.

On the weekends I do work I work BOTH jobs so that I can always have one weekend off. It’s tiresome to say the least but I keep telling myself that this is only temporary.

I have no idea what I will be doing come Christmas Day. Maybe I’m working? I hope to find that out soon so I can attempt to make plans with people, I miss so many people.

Also. I know this has NOTHING to do with the overall theme of my blog, but I feel compelled to say something. Paris breaks my heart. Syria breaks my heart. Violence of any kind in the world hurts me deeply even though I don’t express it much. What REALLY scares me, is the “us vs. them” mentality that’s slowly coming out of this. Have we learned NOTHING from history? We cannot blame an entire population of people – regardless of creed, religion, hair colour, WHAT EVER – for a group of loonies. Stop that, stop that right now.

Until next time.