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Hi. I'm trying to think of another description to put here. Any ideas? I'll try again at 420.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


...I'm back! My company has left and right about now, he's somewhere on the top-end perimeter headed to 400. (That's traffic talk here in Atlanta.) I bet he has a smile on his face, wherever he is. Tonight I paid him back for last night.

Earlier, I said that I would tell you about some people whom I've met over the years. Caring for old people is an amazing job. Think about your grandparents and then think about getting paid to hang out with a bunch of grandparents. When most people get to a certain age, they treat younger people like they're children in the way that they love them and find them pleasant to be around. They just love to be around people.

And most of them are very wise and patient. And, even after some of their logic and reasoning skills are gone, their memory is still there. They might be in 1954 while you're in today, but they are just as alive and alert as we are. They're just alive and alert in a different time. You can't ever underestimate them.

The first and last time that I listened to another nurses' opinion regarding the mental capabilities of a person was a learning experience. A nurse told me that a man named Mr. Berman was "not all there". I believed her.

I was in his room feeding John, a man who had been institutionalized for his entire life because of severe "mental retardation", as it was called then. Mr. Berman was on his own side of the room in a geri-chair (They don't allow these anymore. They're considered a "restraint". That's ridiculous, they saved many people from suffering broken hips. That's what lawsuits will get you. All you have to do is take it off if they ask or if it appears uncomfortable.). A geri-chair is a high-backed chair on wheels but it has 4 small wheels instead of two small and two really large wheels. It also had a retractable tray that could be stored on the side of the chair but it could also be "locked in place" in front of the person so that they didn't fall and they had a place to eat and put books or whatever they might have with them.

Anyway, Mr. Berman was sort of babbling on about something and I was absent-mindedly responding to him. I wasn't really hearing what he was saying. The guy I was feeding wasn't capable of carrying on a conversation so I kept "talking" to Mr. Berman.

At some point he said the word "Arkansas". I said to him, "I bet you don't know the capital of Arkansas...do you?"

He banged his fist on his table and said, "Little Rock! Know it well!" My father made me memorize all of the state capitals so Mr. Berman and I quizzed each other on them. He knew them all. Well, he didn't know about Alaska and Hawaii...but he knew the other 48. We actually had a conversation, in the present. He was fine. It was just that at times, he liked to visit the Forty's and Fifty's. The man never forgot my name after that.

Another old lady named Belle, who had 8 long hairs all held back in a pony tail comes to mind when I think of people who always made me laugh. She weighed no more than a pancake and she sat hunched over in a wheelchair. She was a mean and nasty lady (as my son used to call me when I was not making him happy.).

One day, for some reason that I don't remember, she was calling me names. They made no sense but I could certainly make sense out of the way that she said whatever it was that she was saying. She was obviously trying to call me names and I specifically remember being called a "Schlah" to which I said, "Now Belle, that's not nice."

She looked up at me and said, "Shut up or I'll bite your head off." I chuckled and said, "Belle, you don't have a tooth in your head."

She, still looking me straight in the eye, responded...without missing a beat..."Well then, I'll gum you to death!"

It may not be the most glamorous nursing job out there, but it certainly is interesting. You never know when something notable is going to happen.

Oh, when I worked at the Villa, I had an emergency to take care of in a patient's room. As I was going into the room, a man stopped me and tried to ask me something. I didn't know what he was saying. He only spoke Italian (they can forget English after speaking it for 60 years) but I speak some Spanish so we usually could communicate but I didn't know what this guy was asking me. But, I had to get to the emergency so I told him, "Yes, just wait until I'm done in this room." in Spanish. He understood me.

In the course of handing the emergency, I ran in and out of the room a few times and when I did, the old man would catch me and ask me this question again and again, I would assure him that, "Yes, I will...but after I finish with the sick lady." He was fine with that.

After I took care of the woman, I walked back to the nurses station where I saw the old man...standing next to the station. He had one hand on the counter to hold himself up and his pants were down around his ankles. He was whacking off with the other hand and saying, "OK...now? We do it NOW?"

Apparently, I had assured this man, numerous times, that I would be doing him that night. I felt badly, but I just couldn't screw him. I'm no Anna Nicole Smith.

I had a bit of a problem. I had to sit at the nurses station to do my job. I didn't want to run the risk of annoying him further by stopping him.

Actually, I didn't know what to do. So, I took the large coffee pot that sat on the counter and put it between us. We couldn't make eye contact. Then, I called my supervisor who advised me to stay calm and let him finish. She said that I wasn't in any danger because I could "run faster than he could". She was right, of course. So, I let the old man whack off right there at the nurses station. Thank God that all of the other patients were in bed. This was right in the middle of the day room, where almost all of the residents were during the day.

Well, I think that I'm going to go to bed now. I'll see you all later.



Blogger Karin's Korner said...

What wonderful stories and wonderful memories. Thanks for sharing them with us.

June 26, 2006  

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