Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Awkward Realities of Home Health Nursing

The setting: My patient's family's apartment. It's 9:00 PM, time for me to head home. I can't just walk out and leave, I have to make sure there's a responsible adult in the home. I open his bedroom door and the rest of the apartment is dark, except for a light in the kitchen. I peek in and see my patient's younger brother, playing on his iPad at the kitchen table as he eats a bowl of cereal...

Me: Hey, Pete! Is your mom or grandmother home?

Pete (9 years old): I think my grandma is upstairs at my uncle's, I dunno where Mom is...ask my sister.

Me: OK, thanks!

I peek into the kids' bedroom, the door is open, and Hazel (age 11) is on the top bunk, perusing HER iPad...

Me: Hey, Hazel! Do you know where your mom or grandma are?

Hazel: Grandma is upstairs, sleeping at my Uncle's place. I think Mom's in her bedroom.

Hazel proceeds to climb out of bed, leaves her room, and blithely walks over to her mother's room and opens the door, WITHOUT KNOCKING OR WAITING...

Mother's boyfriend (scrambling off of mom and off the bed): I'M CHANGING MY CLOTHES!

Hazel meanwhile calmly closes the door, turns and walks back to her room.

Me: Okay then, Hazel! Your mom is home, your brother is doing fine, I'll see you next week! And you should really knock on doors before opening them. BYE!

Then I hightail it out of there, probably leaving a contrail.

How hard would it have been for mom to poke (ha!) her head into my patient's room when she got home from work, just to tell me she's actually home. Or she could've even texted me if she didn't want to do that. And have people forgotten how to lock their bedroom doors? And hell, what about WAITING TO GET BUSY WITH THE BOYFRIEND UNTIL ALL HER CHILDREN ARE ASLEEP AND THE NURSE HAS LEFT?!

I'm so glad next week is my last in homecare. I can't wait to work in the hospital, which will bring its own challenges, I'm sure, but hopefully nothing quite this crass. I move to New Hampshire a week from Monday.



Knucklehead said...

Working in the hospital isn't necessarily going to keep you free of those "difficult" moments. As an example (a recent one, there have been many over the years), one of my wife's patients in pulmonary rehabilitation lost control of her bowels while driving to the rehabilitation site at the hospital.

My Better-Two-Thirds and her coworker noticed the... ummm... disarray of the woman's white slacks and mentioned it thinking surely she was unaware. Not at all. The woman explained that she'd cleaned up as best she could and that she intended to go on with her exercises. Naturally it was explained to her that she should go home rather than foul up, so to speak, whatever equipment she used.

At what point does one begin reaching the conclusion that when one loses one's bowels on the way to wherever one is going to do whatever one is going to do when one gets there, that returning home is not the best course of action?

Best of luck to you. You've embarked on a difficult but often rewarding career! Be well!

doubletrouble said...

Gonna end up anywhere around here?

Blondefabulous said...

Cheese and Crackers! Reminds me of when I'd be doing company cleaning and I'd walk in on some naked person when I'm trying to clean their house!! The things I've seen.... they don't make enough eye bleach!

Old NFO said...

Ouch... Yeah, I'd have hauled it too...

Christina RN LMT said...

Knucklehead, thank you! Yeah, I'm focusing on stressing out about the technical aspects of the job, but I'm sure the SOCIAL ones could just as easily trip me up!

doubletrouble, catch you on the Book of Face.

Blonde, I have marveled at your stories! We've both been in the trenches, so to speak. :D

Old NFO, the awkwardness propelled me!

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