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.
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.
Do you freak out about your birthday? Depending on my mood & age-to-be, I get a little anxious. For instance, in December of this year I’ll be 30. THIRTY. When did this happen? What did I do in my twenties? A lot of it is a blur, but the majority of it is nothing but good memories. That’s what I think birthday’s are: Celebrating another year of life passed and another one to come. I’ve always enjoyed birthdays, even the ones that weren’t my own. Birthday’s are a big deal! Every year is a blessing and should be treated as such.
So imagine celebrating someone’s 100th Birthday. ONE HUNDRED. This occurred yesterday for one of my favourite residents. And for 100, being so “old” and “fragile”, she’s as spunky as anything. She’s so vibrant and full of life, it’s remarkable. Every day is a positive, new beginning for her and it makes me smile every time. Her lust for life rubs off on you. And even though she can’t see the balloons & greeting cards surrounding her (she’s blind) I’ve never seen someone so content just knowing they were there. That after 100 years of life on this planet people still care as if it were her first.
Happy Birthday my angel.
P.S Don’t forget to sign up for the Montessori Dementia Course! Seats are filling up fast! (See my last post for details!)
The smell is different from that of a nursing home. Adherence to extreme sanitation measures is present. Probably covering up the layers of stale urine from days gone by. I’m not comfortable in this type of environment at all. I’m not entirely sure why, but hospitals always seem to be in a hurry. Nurses walk at the speed of light & doctors look pensive with their clipboards.
I’m here as a professional and as a friend who would do anything to help another friend out. The woman I am sitting beside isn’t the woman I once knew. She looks more or less the same,if not a little older. Aging elegantly like a fine wine. Her eyes sparkle when she smiles. She doesn’t remember me at all. I’m used to this at work, not with people I once knew.
Waiting for death is an awfully tiresome experience. Not knowing when they’re going to go. Not knowing if this breath will be their last – despite the use of an oxygen tank. They’re no longer responsive to your voice. Your touch. It’s like you’re holding the hands of an empty shell whose soul has already departed. But you can’t properly grieve because their body is – for all intents and purposes – alive. Not living, but existing. In a never-ending time capsule that won’t open.
I watch this every day. 2 beautiful souls who were once so vibrant with life lie motionless in a single bed. I no longer get hit on. I no longer see their smiles when I walk into work. Their jokes aren’t being told to anyone.
It’s hard. Being a PSW and dealing with all the things that come with this position doesn’t mean that I’m completely devoid of emotion. It is excruciating to watch someone die a slow a death. As awful as it sounds, I find myself wishing for death to hurry up and take them. Their quality of life is nonexistent.
The hardest part for me is watching their family members. Not only seeing them cry, but watching them slowly lose every ounce of sanity they have left trying to keep it together. Frustration and anger take over, asking over and over why they can’t do anything to help.
One of them is going to go this week. The waiting game, even while at home and in my pajamas plagues me. Dealing with death once it happens is far easier than dealing with its disturbing game of trickery.