Home health

I was on the roof of the shed working a bit back and got to thinking of the adjective – just.  It seemed like a useful word and full of meaning when applied to one’s job:

I am “just” a nurse.

That has the connotation that there is something else or better than the noun stated.  I played with a couple other names and decided it had the same effect – that of lessening the stature of the job to which the word was related.  While on this mindset,and considering banning its usage, I found a usefulness for the term.

The patient asks, “do you think I have rhabdomyolysis?”

My reply: “I’m sorry, I’m just a nurse.  You need to ask your doctor that one.”

I guess I’ll keep the term.


Today was rather busy. That is putting it mildly. It fit the reputation of Monday. But, there was a silver lining. I was on call last week. Patients need attention other than normal business hours and we cover that need with on call nurses. Those filling that role are available 24/7 for the week. After a few calls and short or interrupted nights, I can fully say that I appreciate Monday coming as there will be no call tonight. Rest. Sleep. 🙂

I work for a home health company. My boss is a really good individual for whom to work. How so? Besides the usual operation of the business, we are able to discuss work, personal, and leisure. The atmosphere with this boss is pleasant. There was a position open that I was filling to help until a replacement could be found. This same boss informed me that I was the best field nurse out there. (I sat on that thought for a while and it still hovers in the back of my mind.) It’s not that there is anything great going on back there, just the idea that I have reached the top of my ability in this area. With that in mind, I proposed to my boss that I stay in this open position. My presentation was that I had read that one should not take a job just for the money, but rather for the opportunity to learn. This job would force me to perform tasks on which I was not really good. The full intent of this was to force me to improve in those areas – and that was what I told my boss, who gave me the job. I am humbled and feel responsible to provide my best effort on this position because it is for my growth as well as the need of the company. Therefore, I thank my company for giving me this chance for self-improvement.
On the way home I was contemplating this interaction and it occurred that the only place for one to improve is on their deficits. It is only on those areas of lower abilities that one can improve. Focusing on strengths only aides maintenance, not improvement. It takes quite a place to accept one saying, “I’m not really good in this area, but I want this job so that I may get better at it.” Thank you.

For the uninitiated, the urethra runs from the bladder out of the body. On its trek in the male, it passes through the prostate. This little organ sometimes swells providing a diagnosis of BPH – benign prostatic hypertrophy. Basically, that means the prostate has swollen without having cancerous cells. The biggest problem of this condition is that when one increases the pressure around a straw, the size of the straw decreases and the amount of fluid allowed to pass through this straw decreases accordingly. There are a couple of pills commonly used to treat this, one being Hytrin. A patient who had started on this med was asked the change noted. His pleased reply – “I can stand on the ground and hit the roof.”

I had a patient the other day with a problem. The patient lived in an assisted living facility, used a walker for mobility and had constant pain. I walked in to view an empty bottle with the label of a rather strong pain medicine. The date on the bottle was about 2 weeks prior to me seeing it. This means it cannot be refilled for another two weeks. For a good part of the visit, we discussed possibilities to deal with a new pain medicine bottle once obtained, and how to tolerate the pain until such a time as the medicine could be refilled. Once medicine has been stolen, the doctors and pharmacists are not at liberty to refill as it appears the patient is supplying the street trade. So what do you call someone who steals pain medicine from an old, retired, walker-using individual? I was thinking snail scum. My boss said that was too good. I looked it up to discover snail scum does have some uses, so I have to agree with my boss.

I had a patient the other day talk about the kids. A little into the description, the kids were mentioned as being 71 and 69 years old. Now I can think of may descriptive terms for adults 71 and 69 years old, and “kid” would not be included.

I had many visits this morning and only two this afternoon which left a nice pause in the middle of the afternoon. Just prior to this pause the office called me to assist an individual in a rather practical matter. A cat had died and needed to be buried. I said that would be all right as the last visit had been with a smoker and I didn’t feel that dead cat would alter my olfactory senses further.
Upon arrival, the individual answered the door and seemed surprised to see me. Granted, I hadn’t done a nursing visit in probably a year, so was out of the loop nursing-wise, but still remembered Fluffy. This individual started to share how attempts were made at the vet for 8 days to keep Fluffy with us, but to no avail. The vet cost was high and one may wonder about such expense on a cat. Fluffy had crawled behind the couch and breathed his last.
I started with the grave plot and requested directions as to where Fluffy was to rest. Directions were received to an area near the corner of the lot with the directions that there were two others there and Fluffy would lay next to a former occupant of the household. Digging was kind of tough, but not too bad as this was a flower bed and the dirt was lower in clay content. Once that task was accomplished, I went back to the house to retrieve Fluffy. The couch move was reasonable, and lighter than anticipated from the front appearance. I was presented a hand towel and retrieved Fluffy from his location as gently as possible noting the shaved leg where the vet had done the IV. I rolled him so that the towel was underneath and held him so that the individual could have a last look, then offered the collar. This was removed per the individual who commented on losing a friend. That’s where the vet cost makes sense. This was not just a cat. This was a companion and daily joy to this individual. I set fluffy in the grave being careful to adjust the feet and wrap the tail in a reasonable orientation and then was offered the towel as a cover. I placed this as a shroud and proceeded to return the dirt to its original location.

It brings a tear to my eye recounting the event while at the same time a pleasant realization that I was there for a need, and able to assist someone during their loss. I may describe this as one of the joys of home health.

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