I feel like sometimes my work has taken over my life. This time of year it has taken over in a huge way. As some of you know, I am the Employee Health Nurse and Infection Control Officer for our community hospital. With 357 employees, the Employee Health Nurse is job security alone. With flu season, that responsibility magifies 100 times. Not only have I been giving the seasonal flu injection to all staff, but the H1N1 to front line staff (Emergency staff, registration, lab, radiology, etc). My office has become a revolving doorway. I have huge stacks of required government paperwork to complete and getting logged into the Ohio Department of Health's website, and then turn around and file it in their individual health files. Busy Busy Busy -- I do have to say how proud of I am of our staff. They are stepping up to the plate and taking the seasonal and H1N1 vaccinations to protect themselves, their co-workers, their families, and their patients. Have you got yours?????
My Dad is settling into the Alzheimer's unit at the VA facility in Ardmore. He gets regular visits from my sister and her husband, my uncle, and my Mom. We've all had adjustments to be made in routines, but overall, I believe we've all come out stronger. My sister is getting her chaotic life back in some order and has more weekend time to rest and refresh. My Mom has made decisions that I thought she would never have to do. She took ownership of property and has sold the older farm truck that Dad had. She's chosen new siding for her home and had that put on. She's had the driveway gate turned into an electric gate so when she gets home late at night, she doesn't have to get out of her car. She's closed bank accounts and had everything put into one account, she's taken out CD's and paid off her car loan. Through it all, she's found out that it's okay to ask questions and ask what our opinions are. She's learned how to deal with salesmen, banks, and auto mechanics. The only issue left is to help her realize that she has family and friends there for her, all she has to do is ask. Unfortunately, she doesn't quite know how to do that yet. But we are working on it. Finally at the age of 75, my Mom has become more or less her own person.
Back to Dad--I feel so sorry for him. He apparently doesn't sleep, he only naps. At home, Mom structured his day and night for him. She made him go to bed whereas in the unit, if they are up, they're up. He tends to nap only in one of the recliners. His health is starting to gradually improve. His severe Congestive Heart Failure he had when he arrived has eased. He at least can get his shoes on. He was also retaining urine pretty badly. So much so that he was having to be straight cathed to empty his bladder for him. At home, Mom would help him go to the bathroom and make sure he washed his hands, whereas at the unit, he doesn't get that attention. They have him wearing a depends and no one is around to remind him to wash his hands. His clothes, socks, and shoes have been walked away with, some have returned, some have not.
I am also extrememly upset with their family physician in Chickasha who let Dad get to the point that his heart was in Atrial Fibrillation (extrememly irregular and rapid) and in severe congestive heart failure. The doctor at the VA picked up on all this with his initial checkup. I have been a cardiac nurse and there is no way the family physician missed all the typical signs and symptoms unless he was a quack. Now before you get in an uproar, I'm not the only one who thinks this. He tried pulling the wool over my eyes when my mom was sick 2-3 years ago and had to have the heart abaltion, went into renal failure, had an infection and spent the whole month of August except for 4 days in the hospital. He kept wanting to keep her at the small community hospital and he take care of her instead of shipping her back to the city where her heart doctor was. Once I got ahold of him via phone, he knew exactly what I thought, where I stood, and where he should shove it. (Sorry).
At least with my Dad in the VA, I know his new doctor is keeping a closer eye on him.
For those caregivers out there, please continue to keep my family in your thoughts and prayers as I have added each of my new followers to my prayer list. Unless you have been there, there is no way to accuratly describe the daily struggles, heartaches, and feelings that you have to experience. Just know that there is always someone out there who is feeling the same or similar, has gone through what you are going through, or is just beginning to venture into their journey.
Wash your hands
Cover your cough