So far..

I've really enjoyed nurse aid clinicals. Most people said, through grimaced faces, that it's a "tough" and "humbling" job, and many just flat out said it sucks. Turns out, I actually enjoy it. (Just another reason to take discouraging words with a grain of we've been learning a LOT lately.) While I can see that working as an aid in the nursing home setting could get old after many months, it's still an okay place to be. There are definitely some bad seeds, but too many crazy, funny, sweet little elderly people to get caught up with them. I have my health, and they don't. I'd probably be a grumpy old fart too if I had to press a stupid button every time I had to pee (which is often.)

Anyways, as I was feeding my resident lunch this afternoon I was so happy to see how excited she was with the menu for the day. She couldn't use her hands, but after every bite she would say "that's good! Do you like [insert food she just ate.]"

Or another resident who doesn't talk much, but if you catch her with a silly face she'll laugh and laugh and laugh and it's definitely contagious. In our experience so far, the only discouraging part has been seeing how the ACTUAL nurse aids treat the residents. Doing all of these things for people who can't do it themselves is definitely tiring, and very very similar to how you have to take care of an infant. But they aren't infants, so you don't talk to them as if they are. They have had WAY more life experiences than I have, and they are able to inspire and share wisdom if you let them. (Like C and H, husband and wife who room together and at a VERY ripe old age, he still refers to her as his "better half.")

I hope that if I'm ever working in this setting I am able to keep off the creeping complacency that happens when you get into a rhythm. These folks don't have all that much life left, but something can be learned from every patient despite their condition, and they deserve to be treated as worthy of good care.