My job is hard. It's very rewarding, interesting, heart tugging, tear jerking, frustrating, hilarious and hard.
For me, physically it is more difficult now than it ever was before. I have a broken ankle, that, yes, it's healing, but it still hurts. It's making my knee hurt, which makes my hips hurt. And, my back. I'm taking more pain pills now than I was when I first broke the darn thing. I'm hoping my knee is residual and not a different injury all together.
But, I do love my job. The people I take care of make me laugh and cry. I enjoy giving them love in return and in some cases, making their last days, comfortable and dignified.
We do have hospice patients at the Home. Sometimes, a resident will be put on hospice and will only last days. Sometimes, weeks and even months. Everyone is different and dying is no exception.
Ingrid was put on hospice during my first round of employment at the Home. So, that would've been almost three years ago. Some days, she's barely conscious and doesn't interact with anyone. But, most days, she sits in her recliner, with her door open and yells things at us as we walk by. She gets lonely. She loves to have her hair brushed, her nails painted and for anyone to come in, sit down and just talk to her. She does have a catheter and can't walk without assistance. Her mind, however, is sharp. As a tack. That you step on in the middle of the night. You sort of wish you hadn't encountered it.
Her sense of humor is my favorite thing about her. Her comebacks are amazing and her smile lights up the whole room.
She loves milk. But, milk doesn't agree with her. One day, she decided to try almond milk. She had it for lunch. And dinner.
We quickly realized almond milk doesn't like her either. I think I had to clean her up 3 times. And, when someone can't stand alone, let alone use the toilet alone, you can imagine how fun it was. For both of us (neither of us??) but it had to be done.
It was during the third cleaning, as she lay naked on her bed, me washing her from head to toe, that she told me she thought she was dying.
Now, she knows she's on hospice, I know she's on hospice so yes, she is dying. But, she meant right then and there, she was going to die.
"Ingrid, why on earth do you think that??"
"Well, LOOK at me!! Have you every seen anyone in this bad of shape?"
"Ingrid, when people are dying, they don't eat 4 cookies, sit and watch Wheel of Fortune, poop or pee. Let alone carry out a conversation about Rachel Ray and whether or not one should get a boob job!" (yes, really)
She flops back on the bed, still totally naked.
"Oh for God's sake, I can't even DIE right!!"
Like I said, I love my job.