Yeah, I don’t know what that means either.  I have a valid excuse though- I’m tired.

Last time I worked double shifts was um, 18 years ago.  Hell, then I worked triple shifts (1000-1400 job 1, 1600-2000 job 2, 2100-800 job 3) and I don’t remember being this tired.

Behold the difference in 22 & 40.  >.<

Anyway, last night was my first night alone.  At nights, there is but one nurse to serve the entire nursing home.  You’d think it would be easy as pie & the nice little old folks would sleep all night.  Not even close.

I tell ya, nursing homes at night remind me the world of the college days in dorms.

Loud music ALL night.  TVs at top volume- ALL night.  Moaning, groaning & various other shit kickin’ noises- ALL night.  Kinky sex in some really odd places- ALL night.

Drugs- ALL night.  Only difference here is that the nursing home drugs are “legal” narcotics.


It was a basically decent night if you don’t count the one lady nearly dying.

She’s a pretty cool lady.  80+ years old & still in complete control of her faculties and pretty much in control of the body.  Seems she took a notion to paint her house, fell off the ladder & broke her ankle.  She had no family, so she thought while she was unable to bear weight on that foot, she’d come & kick back, & convalesce at this nursing home.  Her only other medical “condition” is being diabetic & apparently up ’til now, it’s been fairly well controlled.

I figure she’s probably a grazer at home, snacking on this & that throughout the day, keeping her blood sugar in check with the daily insulin shots.

Anyway, when she fell & went to the ER, she was assigned to a doc on staff at the local hospital.  I hate the SOB she was assigned to.  He is Dr. Everyone Isa Diabetic.  Even if you have a blood glucose of 99, you ARE diabetic & need to be on drugs.

He took the liberty of upping her insulin.  In a day’s time, she takes about 100 units of regular insulin AND 60 units of 24 hour insulin.

All well & good, I guess, IF you eat all day.  Yesterday though, she didn’t eat all day.  She had to get up early to go to the doctor’s office to get her foot recasted.  She was anxious about that & didn’t eat much of her breakfast.  She didn’t get back until after lunch, so she missed a good meal there & instead received a sandwich, apple slices & milk.  Supper looked like barf.  Seriously.  She didn’t eat much of that.

And the nurse on the shift right before I went in didn’t bother to take that into consideration.  Zapped her full of regular & long acting insulin and went home.

When I got around to her on my first med pass, she looked like hell’s half acre.  Generally, folks I’ve seen suffering from low blood sugar are pale, clammy, & shaky.  She was sweating up a storm, red as fire & shaky.  Then she told me she felt weak.

Checked her sugar & it was a whopping 43.

Oh shit.

Got the glucose gel and loaded her up with it.

Checked sugar again, 15 minutes later 37.

Oh shit, oh fuck, oh double shit.

Remember, this is my FIRST shift alone.  Well, there were some CNAs there, but unfortunately this crowd wasn’t the smartest of the CNAs employed at this place- they had a collective IQ in the negatives.

Second bolus of glucose gel and grabbed the phone.  If it didn’t start going up, EMS would have to be called per facility protocols.

While waiting for that second bolus to kick in and do something good, I smacked together a PB&J sandwich, bought her a candy bar & a Coke.

15 minutes later, the blood sugar was a respectable 89.  Fifteen minutes after that, it was back up to 135.

One hour out of my schedule and a near death experience by a lady with very few medical issues, certainly none that should have had her that close to dead anyway, and it all could have been avoided by the previous shift nurse using her brain…

I was behind the rest of the night & subsequently ended up working an hour late to get through.

To say I’m tired is an understatement.

If you need me, don’t count on bringing me out of hibernation any time soon.



10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Crucis
    Nov 11, 2010 @ 11:47:17

    My daughter, the CNA, worked her first shift Monday having completed her “training” period. The Rehab/Nursing home is shaped like a “U” and is four floors in each leg, three for the connecting building.

    She had coverage for one leg, all four floors. She didn’t get a break, time for a snack, time for a drink except when passing the single water-fountain. According to her pedometer, she walked four miles during the shift.

    She loves the people and apparently it’s being returned by the residents. The facilities however—are of the worst examples of nursing homes. There’s paint peeling off the walls, the food is bland, inconsistent, frequently cold when delivered to those who must eat in their rooms. The supplies are of low quality (using cloth towels instead of disposable wipes and no on-site laundry,) and often out-of-stock. She buys her own gloves now since they ran out twice during her “training.”

    She’s looking already for another job but she’ll do her best in the mean time. The folks who own the site also own the site where she did her internship during CNA school. There’s a world of difference between them. One is a pit and the other is the best that anyone could want.


  2. snigsspot
    Nov 11, 2010 @ 14:50:15

    Crucis, that’s more the normal type of nursing home, at least around here.

    Every shift, 30 minutes is deducted from my pay. I have yet to actually get to use my 30 minutes for eating. I learned take something I can eat with my left hand while I write with the right. Since I’m on a med cart most of the time, I do at least have access to ice water any time I want a cup of it.

    Sounds like the exact place I’m working now, only our walls are freshly painted. I griped about trying to serve stone cold grits the other morning & it was in the dining room! The only place I’ve been yet where disposable wipes were used was one of the big hospitals. Out of the 4 nursing homes I did clinicals at, they’d all have a few packs of them occasionally, but generally, it’s wash cloths. We do have a laundry where I’m at now though! Been buying my own gloves since I started school. I’m allergic to latex and hate vinyl with a passion- too thick to effectively work in- so I buy Nitriles at $10/box.

    If you want to know what kind of place a nursing home is, find out what kind of patients they’re serving the most. Chances are, if it’s MediCAID, it will be a less quality establishment.

    My best to your daughter though. I hope she can hang in there & remember the bigger goal without getting burned out to start with. I still contend most CNAs are grossly underpaid and overworked. I couldn’t do it, that’s for sure.

  3. Rick
    Nov 11, 2010 @ 15:52:16

    Thank God you were there to help that woman.

  4. Crucis
    Nov 11, 2010 @ 17:17:14

    Snigs, she’s getting paid better than minimum wage (which was what she had been making,) but not a whole lot. There are a lot of really nice ‘homes around here. The “not so nice” don’t get much visibility. There was a lot of uproar over some marginal places a few years ago. Guess that has died down now—at least in some places.

  5. snigsspot
    Nov 11, 2010 @ 20:51:22

    Ah, it wasn’t really that big a deal Rick. Surely whoever was on duty if it hadn’t been me would have taken care of it the same way…I hope. However, it was my first “emergency” on the job. It rattled me a bit & I’m glad I decided to stick my head in on her- she wasn’t due any meds, I just wanted to check on her.

    Crucis, I’m glad she’s making more than minimum wage. Wanna know something I’ve found to be true & a bit on the funny side? The “nicer” places pay a LOT less than the others. There is one just down the road- nearly a MILLION bucks to get into the place…they pay their CNAs minimum wage & nurses start at about $12/hr. Guess the profit is going into their advertising, not the employees’ pockets.

  6. Rick
    Nov 11, 2010 @ 21:30:55

    I am sure God put you there.It is a big deal.
    You kept cool and did your job.

  7. Old NFO
    Nov 11, 2010 @ 23:30:53

    Fun ain’t it… 🙂

  8. Rho
    Nov 11, 2010 @ 23:35:49

    Good job there! I’ve mostly seen barfing and asthma with the occasional head injury thrown in the past two days. I’m working at the new high school tomorrow for the first time tomorrow, so I’ll see how that goes. It’s suppose to be the overachiever school, so the teens should be able to come up with creative ways to need to see the nurse.

  9. Rho
    Nov 11, 2010 @ 23:36:45

    After reading the above post, I’ve decided it’s quite obvious that I need to hit the sack.

  10. Mariah
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 16:12:21

    Wow. Knowledgeable, compassionate people like yourself are hard to come by… they are SO lucky to have you. 🙂

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