Saturday, October 29, 2011

Watching the end of a life..

So Nick got a job working in a nursing home.  You know, it all seemed like a good idea at the time - more money, more hours, close to home, all of the things that are important when looking for a job.

His first full day on the job was a bit of a shock to him.  First of all, we've not spent a lot of time in nursing homes.  He's only been to one maybe four times and that was down in Florida when we visited my step-mother.  I mean, maybe three hours MAX.  He came for dinner and was like "Did you know...?" and the list of topics was endless.  He had no idea that patients could not, shall we say, "care" for themselves to that degree.  He was not prepared for the fact that many patients wear adult diapers and go in the bed.

The smell was a big obstacle for him to overcome.  He is basically a janitor in charge of the floors and so he is all over the place cleaning.  There is one patient in the Alzheimer's ward who has taken an interest in him.  She's a large, 80 year old woman and she has cornered him in a closet more than once.  He's been called a "dirty Mexican" even though he does not look Hispanic and he has witnessed very sad scenes of loneliness - patients holding dolls and calling them their babies.

He works the third shift and for the first month there, if anyone passed, it happened when he was not there.  Well, the other night he was there and one of the patients asked him if he could please get a nurse and he asked if she was okay and she said "No...I'm dying".  She was very calm, he said, and so he ran and got the nurse and when they got back to the room, the woman was taking her last breaths.  He was profoundly moved by this.

This was not something that I thought about when we talked about him taking this job.  There was another patient who he had called his adopted grandma and she passed away one day when he wasn't there.  That's a lot of death to deal with in such a short time.  

I've dealt with a lot of death in my life - grandparents, aunts, uncles and a cousin, but there was time between these events.  My boor boy is having this happen in a very short amount of time and I just hope that it doesn't toughen him to the point that death or losing someone doesn't mean anything to him.  

Touch life lessons...

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