One Year On, One Year Strong

She loves to gossip. It doesn’t seem to matter that I dont know who shes talking about. She just likes the company. 
They have the cutest little pup who we joke has a lesbian crush on me. She goes nuts every time I make a visit and I love it. 
Hes not social. Hes more of a come in, do the job and get out, kind of guy. I’m cool with that. 
Shes got to be at least 90 years old. Lives alone, has visitors from time to time. She really and I mean REALLY loves a good cup of coffee. 

Its been a year. One whole year today that I moved my life to this beautiful little city and started 2 brand new jobs not knowing a single soul. I dont regret one day. And there have been hard ones. Tiresome ones. More importantly there have been really really HAPPY ONES, both in my personal and work life. I’ve gotten to know my clientèle. So much so that there will be a mutual missing as I embark on my well deserved vacation this week! It took a year to get here. One whole week with no obligations.

Sadly my other half does not have vacation time. He caught my cold during his week off (hard AND tiresome times).

Sorry I haven’t been updating a lot. I’ve been working or trying not to boil in this blasted heat. Ill try to get it together by September, but no promises.

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! 🙂

No Regrets.

Yesterday marked 6 months of living in Stratford. 6 months of learning a new city, learning new clientèle, learning a new job and adjusting to a totally new life. Oh, it was also Valentine’s Day so a Happy Belated to you & yours!

I have 6 months under my belt of no regrets & I am still so happy about the changes I have made in my life. I have no regrets about quitting my LTC job (Thank you to those who supported me!!). I feel less stressed AND I have 3 days a week of sleeping in! It’s the little things that make it worth it. It’s the little things in life we have to look to for happiness, to get us through the days that sometimes aren’t so easy. I have finally adhered to my father’s very smart way of thinking: Work SMART, NOT hard. We need to give ourselves a break or we’re no use what so ever to those we help.

Today being Family Day (in Canada, not sure what the American’s are doing) I surprisingly have the day off! AND I didn’t call in sick or put in a request. It was GIVEN TO ME – see? LITTLE things. I’m not questioning it. I’m actually really enjoying the snow fall from inside my apartment and not the dashboard of my car. I’ve also got 3 loads of laundry on the go & Netflix at my disposal (at least until the boyfriend comes home) – LITTLE things!

I did work this weekend & on my adventures I have gotten stuck in driveways and I’m fairly certain I ran over a rabbit. I’m still feeling guilt over that even though it was totally the bunny’s fault.  I can’t slam on my breaks on a slick country road in the dark! Goodness.

Give me a break people!

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”.

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.

Call Bells Will Be The Death Of Me

It’s been busy. Work wise & life in general. When I’m not at work I’m “working” at home by applying to other job possibilities & doing laundry & such.

Working casual isn’t much fun, to be honest. You rarely know when you’ll get hours & if you get more than 3 hours notice you’re lucky. I’m still at the bottom of the barrel, slowly paying my dues in order to climb up the ever steep ladder of PSW employment.

I work a lot of weekends, which don’t bother me much. Lately I’ve been getting a lot of 3-11 shifts. Work wise, it can be just as – or sometimes MORE busy – than a morning shift. The work load consists of serving dinner, bathing, and general toileting care prior to getting residents into bed. Going to bed on a schedule and STAYING in bed are all challenges the PSW accepts when taking on this shift. Residents can have nightmares. Hallucinations. Hunger pains. Toileting needs. Or even wander at any given time. I cannot count the number of times a call bell will ring during one shift. I don’t go to a gym. I work in LTC.

Due to casual hours & slowly becoming stir crazy, I’ve applied for & obtained a position with a home care company who GUARENTEES 40+ hours a week. I haven’t done home care in a couple of years so it will take some getting used to, otherwise I look forward to the change. Home care is apparently HUGE in Stratford, so if that’s your calling come here. You’ll get work.

A New Leaf

Friday, August 7th 2015 was the most difficult work day so far during my career as a PSW. On this day I had to say goodbye to all my wonderful residents & co-workers that I had the privilege to work with during the last 4.5 years.

This PSW is moving to Stratford in 3 days to start a new chapter in her life. I will be living with the love of my life & starting a new PSW position in LTC. I’m nervous, excited & extremely emotional regarding everything.

It still doesn’t feel as if I quit my job. That this is REALLY happening. The last 4.5 years have felt like home to me. Everyday was an adventure but I always had faith that I would make it through because of the most wonderful co-workers a PSW could ever ask for. I can only hope for such beautiful people in my next job. These ladies are some of the best. Always having each other’s back & making work fun no matter how tough the day was.

My residents felt like family. Even the ones that called me names & threatened to kill me. I’ll miss them terribly. Knowing that the next time I visit some of them will no longer be with us. Rest in peace beautiful angels.

Packing. Labelling. Repeat. This has pretty much been going on the last couple of weeks and I cannot wait to finally be there.

Wish me luck.

I’m Tired.

Monday. Crap Day. The “I just want to lay in bed and do f*ck all day”. But I’m working – as most of you are as well because that’s what we do. We work. Some of us in illegal business but most of us on the other end of the spectrum, doing work in exchange for monetary benefits. I’m not in LTC today, I’m in Cambridge working with OPSWA. It’s fairly busy today & the heat out side doesn’t help matters.

I just feel the need to rant. Yesterday was a complete & total sh!t show at work and it’s still bugging me today. Sometimes I am just absolutely appalled with the events I see & the fact that nothing seems to be done about it irks me even more. I write about this because, well, A) this is my blog & B) most of you PSWS reading this can probably relate.

Not only was I exhausted already (my own fault for staying up late) but yesterday consisted of orienting a fairly new PSW to the floor and dealing with meals that consisted of NO COOK in which to prepare them. Uhm, hello? Apparently the cook called in sick the night before and they couldn’t get a replacement.

Breakfast normally consists of the option between cold cereals & oatmeal. Well, yesterday was just cold cereal so if you didn’t eat that OR were on a puree diet, you didn’t eat. Lunch then consisted of ham sandwiches, chicken soup & salad. Excellent options, considering that on every other day they get a choice between TWO HOT meals. I have a resident that doesn’t eat pork & 5 residents on a puree diet. I don’t know who was down there preparing all this but thankfully they thought to make mash potatoes and enough puree meals to feed those who needed them. Needless to say we had A LOT of residents and family members who were non to pleased.

This is their HOME. These people live here. It’s not a hotel, it’s not a restaurant.They are paying some absurd amount of money on a monthly basis to live and EAT here and this is what happens? WHY was there no part-time cook to stand in? WHY didn’t the dietary supervisor come in and take charge when notified of the situation? This shouldn’t be labelled a “one off” because this shouldn’t happen to begin with!

I advised – after profusely apologizing for an error I didn’t make – my residents and their families to make noise in order to ensure that something like that DOESN’T happen again.

And how was your day?

Heat Wave.

Come January you will not hear me complain about the cold. I may have a few choice words regarding the snow & it’s nasty ambition to destroy my commute, but otherwise I’m quiet. Come July… or in this case, today, May 28th, I’m a bitch. I’ll be honest. The heat and me do NOT get a long. At least, not while I’m in the city breathing in smog & working in what to me feels like a sauna. And it’s this time of year – whether you’re a beach babe or not – that you, as a working PSW need to be careful.

Now, I can’t speak for EVERY work place, but I can tell you that mine is unbearably hot at times. In my personal opinion, it’s because they’re cheap (let’s face it, in most cases this is true) so they won’t turn on the AC until June or July. To cope, I drink copious amounts of water. A lot of my co workers make fun of me because A) I LOVE ice water, even in winter & B) I drink so much that they worry they’ll have to give me an incontinence product to wear. But in all seriousness, keeping hydrated is a MUST while you’re working, especially in the summer. NOT pop (hello dehydrating sugar fluid) but water. Even flavoured water, with lemons, limes, cucumbers, mint, etc. Push yourself to drink it and you’ll find yourself not quite as bitchy.

Take your breaks. Sweltering summer weather is not the time to be a hero and work straight through the 8 hour shift. Co ordinate with co workers so that you all have time to leave the floor and catch a breather. Remember that thing… what’s it called, oh, TEAM WORK, that I’m always on about? Now’s another good time to use it.

And obviously, make sure that your residents are as comfortable as they can be.

For more information on how NOT to die in the summer heat, check out St. John’s Ambulance page on Heat Exhaustion & Sun Stroke Prevention