Tag Archives: nurses

Marking National Nurses Week

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Pixabay

The week of May 6-May 12 is National Nurses Week. Caregivers of loved ones with chronic conditions resulting in frequent hospital stays get to know the profession and its members quite well.

Being a nurse means often seeing people at their worst: in pain, with mental confusion, combative or frightened. Nurses who treat those with dementia know an extra level of care and patience is required.

Nurses sometimes get labeled as superheroes but they are human, with their own families and struggles. But when they come into work, they attempt to put their own troubles aside to make someone else feel better. It’s a true act of giving.

I am grateful for the nurses who cared for my father and mother during their hospitalizations. One particular incident that stands out in my mind were the nurses at Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque. When they found out that it was my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary, they brought my mother a slice of cake while we were in the ICU room with my father who was in a medically-induced coma. Those busy nurses didn’t have to take the time to make that sweet gesture, but they did. I’m forever grateful.

If you know a nurse who has touched your family’s life in a positive way, reach out this week to let them know.

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Another heart-stopping false alarm

So I finally was able to set my mom up with a personal care service, in addition to the home nurse visits. The personal care attendant was supposed to take my mom grocery shopping yesterday afternoon. Around noon, I was at work and received a call from a number that I did not recognize but with the same area code as where my mom lives.

I answered and it was the woman who runs the personal care agency. She said the attendant going to see my mom finished up a bit early with her previous call and she headed over to my mother’s house a bit early. But she knocked on the door multiple times and there was no response.

alarm bell

So of course I go into immediate panic mode in my head. Just like in those commercials, Mom’s fallen and she can’t get up!

I told the woman I would try calling her phone number and if she didn’t respond, there is a house key in a lockbox on the property.

I could feel my heart pounding with every ring on my mom’s line. Finally, Mom picked up. She sounded a little frazzled.

Turns out Mom was getting ready in the bathroom which has a loud heat vent. She couldn’t hear the knocking.

So Mom was okay, just a bit annoyed that the attendant was early … don’t mess with elderly people’s schedule! This is true also for those with dementia, any change of plans or a schedule can really upset them. It’s something many of us caregivers have learned the hard way.

It took a while for my heart rate to return to normal, but so grateful that it turned out to be a false alarm.

What kinds of false alarms have you experienced as a caregiver?

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“I want to take him home”

As I mentioned recently, it’s almost been a year since Dad’s final round of hospital stays began. Most of the memories from that time period are sad, naturally. But there were a few innocent, sweet memories collected along the way.

When Dad came back to Ruidoso after being in the dementia wing of the nursing home in Roswell for almost a year, he ended up at the local hospital for a respiratory infection. It was the first time I had seen Dad since summer and I was shocked by his emaciated frame and his non-responsiveness. It was pretty clear that this appeared to be the beginning of the end.

One day, two fresh-faced nursing students were making rounds. They stopped into Dad’s room, perky and bright. One of them exclaimed about Dad: “He’s so sweet! I just want to take him home with me!”

She could have been talking about a puppy, but instead she was referring to my Dad, who was slowly wasting away before us. Yet in her youthful eyes, she saw something precious. Perhaps that was naive on her part, but it was refreshing in the moment.

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