So, I went back, much to the surprise of everyone, me included, and have survived another week. It’s not been easy and I am now completely knackered but I did it without resorting to chemicals (other than those I take anyway + a few glasses of wine) or self-harm. This is a not inconsiderable achievement. What follows are some of my edited high/low-lights.
Things what made me laugh:
- Other carer: Come on, it’s dinner time
Patient: What, dinner again?
Me: Yes, we do have dinner every day
Patient (points at me): Oh, is that why that one’s getting so fat all the time?
- Being asked on a date. When asked where we were going, he pointed into the far distance. That would be the other side of the living room then! But it’s ok, he was paying, I checked…
- The line; “Cor, I don’t half fancy you!”
Things what made me mad:
- Being punched in the head, twice. True, it was by wheelchair bound little old ladies but they can still hit pretty damn hard especially when you’re not expecting it.
- Management bullshit, need I say more?
- Consistent short staffing and the reluctance to make up the numbers because I’m there despite the fact I’m meant to be supernume-ra-ra-y (I cannot say this word for love nor money!).
Things what should have made me sad:
- The death of 2 clients within 24hrs. One of them was in hospital at the time, but the other I’d given a bed bath to not that many hours previously and she’d not seemed particularly worse than usual. Now, I don’t have much experience of death – I’ve seen one dead body and lost a couple of grand-parents but that’s it – so this up close and personal experience should have affected me and I’ve waited for something to come but so far… nothing. No grief, no regret, not even a tinge of sadness. There’s the argument that they hadn’t much quality of life and were possibly better off out of it but I don’t feel happy or relieved either. I just feel devoid of emotion which worries me far more than the deaths themselves. Now I know nurses need to be cynical and hardened to a degree or they’d never make it through the day but surely this shouldn’t have happened already?
Now I just need to get through the next week and I’m done till after Christmas. Then I’m off skiing in France – I’ve never been skiing before and don’t know the first thing about it but I am so looking forward to it that none of that matters. Just got to survive the remaining four shifts….