Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Day 18 - A separate encounter with his Royal Polishness

Today my shift was cancelled but I knew that I would get called in late or just before my shift was supposed to start. I had the chance to particicpate in some other 'endeavors' however I did not because I was waiting for the call. (note to self, ask my sister what these endeavors were, was it pot related as I suspect or was she part of a white slave ring???).

The patient is a man who is very tall and solid. APparently he was trying to get out of bed, but he hasnt even moved since ive been here. Today, at some point, he pulled out his IV, i dont even have to worry about that at hte moment. I'm not sure if he had a stroke or if he has alzheimers. he cannot speak very well but seems to understand simple sentences. He has this big rash all over his body that the nurse had to put cream on. It looks a bit like dermititis.

Today my farts are really stinky and its making me laugh inside because i know each time the nurse walks in it probably reeks and she wont say a word as she probably thinks its the patient. Surprise! His diaper is clean!

The man laying in bed next to my patientis is either Polish or Russian. He has a wicked accent, some nice thick brown glasses and likes to talk about 'woman power'. I think he thinks the nurses are all crazy because they moved him from a 4 person room to a 2 person room. He doesnt think there is enough oxygen per space in a 2 person room. The reason hes been put in here is because he likes to wander the halls. This isnt generally an issue with most patients however most patients dont usually hassle other patients. Especially other sleeping patients. Apparently he is an architect (im thinking in the vein of Art Vandaley) who helped build this nice circle building at M St. V University.

I did manage to get a juicy bit of gossip from the old crank. A lady that was visiting him talked about an old professor that would do sexual favors for the school priest. The woman said she would see the priest pick up the Prof and would drive away together. Apparently the prof would also 'babysit' the priests dogs, whatever the fuck that means.

Several hours later-

It would seem that my patient keeps trying to get out of bed. I just let him try for about over 1 hr until he wore himself out. But it would seem that he still has some energy left in him, which is unfortunate as its about 5 am and i want to resume farting and reading. I wont lie when i say that this technique usually works.

He is a large man about 6'3 and 325lbs. Fuck I want to yell at him and tell him to lay the fuck down. This doesnt normally bother me but how is it that these people cant usually sleep? They arent being paid 7.25/hr, why are they satying up?
They have a bed with nice sheets!!!

Im still loving this polish guy, especially as i cant understand a word he is saying but it is awesome as all hell. Hes always going on about architecture and how it sucks at the hospital then laughing. He keeps saying "I dont want to criticize", then quit talkin guy! Nah, yer cool.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Oh you girls (or padded cells arent for everyone)

Today was supposed to be a suicide watch (not in the sense that i was going to watch someone commit suicide but in the sense that i was going to prevent them from doing so. Spose thats obvious, isnt it?), but the patient cancelled.

Although i was initially slightly nervous because i didnt want the girl to take advantage of me being naive, i was still very interested to see who this girl was and how she was going to act. Although i didnt get to see her i did get a good look around at the psych ward.

Now i am aware that we have made significant steps from the former asylum days, there are still situations and scenes that are shocking as all fuck.

The first of which was a man who was locked in a room and had nothing but a mattress and a window with which the nurses could look in (or he could look out of). It was literally a padded cell.

To be honest its one of those things you always imagine or see in movies but its still a shocker to see. Shit seems so brutal and unreasonable. Cant we just treat that mans insanity with a hug?

Well, needless to say the padded cell was getting alot of use by one gentleman who spent the majority (or what seemed to be the majority) of his time smashing something into the wall. The nurse then came over and tried to get him to lie on the mattress. Needless to say she wasnt stupid enough to open the door and ask him but she wrote it down on a piece of paper and placed it in the window while knocking on the door, so that he could hear and understand. Ya gotta wonder if that technique actually works. Even if he does lie on the mattress how do you know that he wont try and make a break for it or start smashing you against the wall (which is padded but im certain it would hurt none the less). Talk about a life of danger.

I was then sent to the seventh floor which is the cardiac surgery ward. Like any floor that has patients in semi stable/unstable conditions the nurses are total dolls. They call every patient love and are gentle as all hell with them.

The man i had had particularly cold hands and i wonder whether its a blood circulation thing. Im supposed to get an oxygen level from him on a regular basis. This has been particularly hard. I mentioned this too the nurse who told me not to worry about it. Needless to say it became a little problem for me later as my patient had to pee and the nurse motioned for me to put it on his dick.

I wasnt sure if she was serious i do know however that im not touching up some old man so i left it to her. She then offered to put the catheter in. The other nurse was loving it and laughing her ass off. The first nurse (we will now refer to her as the dick master, youll see why soon enough) continued to tell me about they recently had a stagette party for one of their fellow nurses. They had got this gorgeous black stripper who riled all the girls up. Later on in the cab home the dick master asked the bride to be whether she had a dildo handy for when she got home. Her friend told her no as she had hoped to use the dick masters. Gotta love these girls.

Oh yeah, the dick master was inserting the catheter throughout the story. It looked like the most painful fucking thing ive ever seen and i dont have a penis. Everything had to be sterile to prevent a urinary tract infection. You can only imagine how fucking foul and painful one of those could be. Thankfully they are supposed to be rare. The tube is inserted into his bird was prob about 30 cm long and i twas slightly difficult to get in which means he had problems with his prostrate. Theres also a bottle next to the bed which has 500ml at least of blood draining into it. Dont worry this is from a tube in his chest which he doesnt seem to notice much. Which is a bit surprising as id sure as fuck notice if a tube carrying blood came from my chest.

All of the patients in this ward that are fresh from surgery have these red pillows they are supposed to hold to their chest when they cough, from what i understand its so that they dont rip their incisions. Gross. Apparently there is a correlation (although no formal documentation) between diabetes* and heart problems. All of the patients in the room seem to be approximately the same age, 65-70, none of them are overwhelmingly overweight and 1 out of 4 used to smoke.
Fun facts!

I guess the highlight of the shift was when i got paid 7.25 to file my nails for 45 mins.


*so many other amazing videos involving that clip that i had to share em, that was the one that gave the most lulz tho. Here, here and here.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

A slippery predicament

I was about to announce a hiatus from this blog as I have recently been copying notes and stories from my sisters journals of when she too was working as a candy striper back in the summer of 2003. Her notes are great but I have to admit that it can be a bit difficult to find the inspiration to meld a good yarn out of it as they are all her notes and memories.

I more or less was gonna focus more on my smut which sadly has also stalled but not nearly as much as this blog.

However, whilst reading through my sisters notes i found one particular story that was of great amusement to all of us at the time (for the actual time line of these posts read the intro/first post for details). As a result I will definitely post this bit and perhaps inspiration will ensue.


Day 12-
I've worked in the rehab hospital today with a woman who was about 45. She has 2 children (a son and a daughter). The first thing she said to me when i entered her room was "Hi, youre wearing something scented"*. I asked her if it bugged her and she said yes and asked what it was. I said it must be my 'do. She later again asked what it was. Obviously at this point i got a bit suspicious.

It turns out that 2 years ago she had a stroke, heart failure and a double by pass. Ouch.
Im not sure if she as altogether normal before that but now, as a result of all that shit, she has a fetish for Vaseline. Im not fucking kidding.

When i tell people this story (or my brother or his gf, who has also taken care of her) the never initially believe it and fair enough, it comes off like like one of those people on Maury that are scared of pickles or mustard or whatever.
Just seems like horseshit.
My brother always tells me about how he used to threaten a friend of his who was supposedly scared of fruit (i mean cmon guy) by saying he was going to hide oranges and bananas under his pillow. Yeah youre screaming but do you really mean it? Well this lady is totally fucking obsessed, in the nastiest way, with vaseline. And drinking water.

Mind you, its nothing sexual*1. She just needs to apply it to her lips.
For about 15 minutes. Usually before she smokes. Which she does constantly.
Also in her nose. She likes to take a cue tip and put a huge gob in there which she then sniffs.

She also likes to use eye drops really frequently.

Id also like to state that her sense of fashion seems to have taken a hit as well. Granted this is the east coast of Canada which is not renowned for being a hub for the avant garde fashion scene so we cant necessarily attribute this to her unfortunate circumstances. She likes to wear two pairs of pants (joggers, or sweatpants for you laymen) in which she likes to tuck her sweater and her jacket into. Oh yeah, she also wears an ascot.

I was instructed as we went out for her to have a cigarette to assemble a lawnchair and an umbrella as it was going to storm outside. It was sunny and the middle of June.

When she smokes, she lights up the cigarette everytime she inhales, much like a crackhead. She smokes about 2 cigarettes every 15 minutes then we go upstairs where she will claim that she has to vomit and goes through the whole vaseline/eyedrop process again.

She is also quite opinionated which although particularly cold of me, always seemed to be amusing for a person under such duress and in such a situation to be nit picky.
She likes The Pressgang and redwine BUT not in excessive amounts. Ah her conservatism still shines through. She loves chocolate but claims not to be a chocoholic. She hates people who drink and drive (not sure how this came up or what the connection was, outside of the 'olic') and openly tells people who are overweight that they need to join weightwatchers. She also thinks her son is gay, hes about 16, not that theres anything wrong with that. She hates the nurses and doesnt really like men unless they are particularly good looking. She loves crosswords. Oddly enough I suspect she'd be really good on jeopardy. She is from Montreal but loves the US of A and thinks that people from Nova Scotia are snobby. Not sure how that came about, people havent got enough money to be snobby here. She also knows which elevators are 'the quickets' and has amazing greeny/blue eyes.

I did feel terrible for her as she told me her son has only been to visit twice in 18 months. To be honest I cant blame him. Who would want to see their mother like this? Shes still young but nowhere near what you want/need/wish your mother would be. Its gotta be crushing for the family, let alone the children. I hope to god the kids have a decent father, shes never mentioned anyone and you get the idea that he might be out of the scene or they just dont get on. She continued to talk about menopause and how she had alot of blood loss and cramps. Makes me scared to grow older as a woman.
I think i could see where she had a piece of her brain removed as there seems to be a slight groove in her skull/head on her right side.

I definitely want to work with her again, Sweet Sweet D.

*Side note: For the record we were to never wear anything scented like deodorant or perfume etc which makes sense cuz what kind of sick fuck gets dolled up to work around sick and dying people? What you wanna remind them of what they are missing? Youre just twisted.

*1 Apparently This statement was debateable as i later talked to my brothers girlfriend who told me that she had spoken to some other candy striper and apparently the lady liked to put it on her vag as well. Apparently this happened everytime she went to the bathroom. A fucking mess. A nasty fucking mess.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sore vag in the vg

Day 5:
At VG again. Saw lots of rotten poop. Not sure what the operation was on. She was fully responsive and could get out of bed without aid. Reason im here is to make sure she gets help getting out of bed, go figure. Im in the palliative care unit. She didnt mind telling me her vag was sore as a result i suspect it may have been the same body part that was operated on. I think she may have had cancer. Gotta love the old school. Shes refusing to admit to pain.

Remember how i said she was fully responsive? Well that doesnt necessarily cover her brain apparently. Poor thing was confused about who I was and insisted on talking about her will. Kinda tempting to get her to write my name in there. I gotta say that one does tend to fantasize about their patients outside of the hospital environment. Shes a cute old doll but no different than any old biddie you might see at the grocery store. Her house however (as i imagine) is a giant victorian that sits on the harbor (prob have to be in Dartmouth if thats the case, unless its on Southpark somewhere) with a beautiful garden (obviously including an old green house overflowing with lilacs etc). Im sure its stuffed full of crap collected over the years sitting under 2 inchs of dust because she only really used 3 rooms in that place. No, make it 4, she has to go to the bathroom. Of course the rest of her family is dead or has forgotten her. Thats what makes our bond that much more severe. Im the only one that cares for her and has cared for her in a long while. This is why she will leave it all to me so I never have to work again at the age of 20.

Oops, not quite. Shift ended just like the rest, smelling like hospital, hand cleanser and old people. Time to go home to sleep until the birds start chirping and the heat sets in. So for about 4 hours.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Deaths doorstep

Day 10
Today I was sent to the Veterans Hospital. The man I am taking care of is in his final stages of Parkinson's disease and on top of that hes got pneumonia.

Talk about shitty luck.

i was asked by one of the nurses if I'd ever been with anyone who'd died. I said no and she told me it may happen. If I feel him slipping away, I am to walk up to a nurse and quietly inform them. She asked if I was nervous and I said yes. She told me I had nothing to worry about, it is actually a release to know I was holding his hand throughout the last few minutes of his life. I was to call the nurse if I saw any shortness of breath or gurgling. If the gurgling was not solved, he could drown.

It was a wonder that they didnt let him 'drown' as drowning is supposed to be one of the most peaceful deaths. Although the body struggles at first, the body eventually gives up and falls into a type of sleep. Id love to go out in my sleep as opposed to bewilderment and pain.

The nurses here are the nicest, right away they were incredibly comforting, the showed me around, offering me food and drink, telling me to not be afraid to take a break. You have to wonder what kind of comfort they are given. Day in and day out they are surrounded by the dying and the dead. They have to channel and direct all their energies to these people and deny themselves. Do they go home feeling empty or fulfilled? Is it just another day at work?

The room my patient is in looks like home, its extremely comforting for him. He has uncontrolled moments and he can hear well but cannot speak.

-The body decreases in dopamine which means acytyl choline takes over causing symptoms
-Dietary habits can affect treatment, its more a chemical inbalance rather than a brain deterioration (doesnt affect mental capacity)

-below normal levels of acetylcholine and altered levels of neurotransmitters, somatostatin and norepinephrine
-There are higher deposits of aluminum in cerebral tissue (why people think aerosol and deodorant contributes to alzheimers), high numbers of antibodies have been found in etiology (inherited chromosome)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Lil Eyetie lady (or sugery sweet nights)

Day 4
Today im in VG-5A taking care of a cute as hell little woman from an Italian family.
Shes about 4 foot nothing. Im not a big girl but shes a midget next to me. Its not even like shes at that age where they start to shrink. Well, ok, thats not true. Regardless shes short.

The Family was here when I showed up, they seem to be pretty incredible. Living stereotypes if you will. Definitely the stereotypes you want to see in people, you know the kind you see on those shitty romantic comedies where the family is kooky but loving. They really remind me of my Nana and Grandpa. The Husband seemed to be extremely concerned, he didnt want to leave but was showing it in an indirect manner.

He was going to stay all night, they had said something to the nurse about her being all fidgety so they called me in. I explained to them what it is that I do and they were visibly happy. I explained to her what I did and who I was and she said that I was 'perfect'. Sigh. What a sweetie.

We spent a majority of the night talking about books and brothers and sisters. She woke up at one point really wanting to leave. Sadly this entailed a tugging of the catheter, its purpose, she didnt understand. She kept saying that she had to go pee. I told her to go but she insisted that she had to use the toilet. Eventually she calmed down, went to sleep and I suspect 'released'

The nurses this shift were pretty sweet too. They were kind enough to get me a lamp and a flannel sheet for my chair. We discussed the book I am reading (cant remember what it was, feel like a retard for not having written down these details).

Did make my first few steps to becoming a doctor (just kidding) as the nurse instructed me to press the reset button when the IV machine beeps. Thats not to mention the fact that the Doctors asked me my opinion (highly vaunted, ill have you know) as to how our sweet lady was doing.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

JC: The Origins

Went from taking care of 2 patients to only one. He was restless at first but has eventually fallen asleep. He had a severe stroke. I would like to say its effected his speech to the point that I cant understand him however Im certain that if he hadnt had a stroke I still wouldnt have understood him.

He seems to have an accent of eastern european origins. From what the nurse told me he was particularly dirty when he first came in. She described his nails as being like 'knives'. Also apparently the night before he pulled out his catheter which sprayed everywhere. Glad I missed out on that one.

My brother has come to visit and has seemed to take a liking to this gentleman. Having heard his last name he asked "Oh, are you from the Czech republic?". The patient scoffed "NO! Why did you think that?" in a disgusted manner. My brother sputtered "Theres a midfielder on the national team with the same name, I just thought..."

It would seem the old boy was an architect at one point that had designed one of our fair cities universities. Ironically it was a womans university. Whats ironic about that little tidbit is the fact that he quite sexist. Mostly hes a helpless filthy (as in laden in dirt) man who likes to lash out at woman who laugh at him only furthering his rage. Surprisingly I have escaped this. Not sure if its my youth that scares him or the fact that im simply pleasant to him. Regardless, hes not tugging on his catheter so im pretty content with that alone.

Later that evening after he fell asleep i overheard one nurse talk to another about how she had been sitting at her desk late at night when she saw someone walk past the desk from the corner of her eye. She quickly turned her head but noone was there. Not two seconds later did another nurse rush over to the desk to report that a patient in a room not far away had died. Perhaps shes been dipping into the dilaudid?

Holy Holy

My patient today was transferred from the infirmary to VG. I arrived slightly late (about 20 mins, terrible, I know) so the guy previous to me had already left. Much to my delight I had a Nun. Its always nice to get someone completely out of the ordinary. Mostly it allows one to compile a list of questions that will help pass the 12 hours (or 11 hours and 55 minutes in this case). More often than not these questions go relatively unheard but the activity of compiling + the task of asking generally is quite amusing and worthwhile.

Like the majority of older people she was suffering from some sort of dementia. She really was a small bundle of joy. Guessing her age, one would have to say in her mid to late 80s and smelt of lilacs. She was unbelievably elated when I told her we were going to have a sleep over. It makes you wonder if she had sleep overs back in the day as I really didnt think they were common for our grandparents generation. Most likely she came from a large east coast catholic family (send one to the army, one to the church and one to civil services or something like that).

Its always mindboggling that these people that basically lived subsistence lives would bang out 9 or 10 kids. Its always suggested that it allows for parents to have help in the fields etc but to be frank I suspect is a result of a) a lack of heat, b) a lack of condoms and c) a lack of tv.

I really imagine trying it on in a dark coal shed like house packed with 7 kids, pregnant with another. Then again I have been spoiled with the benefits of modern technology.

We passed a great deal of time in silence, holding hands, with her whispering to me "Godbless".

Definitely one of those shifts that makes you contemplate going back to church but the fact of the matter is you can live your life without the religious structure doing the same amount of good. Abide by the golden rule (or whatever its called elsewhere) and youre generally ok. It does also make you wonder how the church provides for their own flock if im coming in to do something their own people could do. Was this a particularly short term situation? Do they even have retirement homes for clergy? Do Clergy even retire?