The Calling

We are all called to do things in life. Some people are called to be priests or missionaries. I was called to be a Nursing Assistant. I was reminded today, of all the reasons why became one.

As I help these people with their daily care, they tell me of their interests. They also reflect upon life and tell me stories of their own. I am reminded that these people were once young and able bodied, just like me. They had the same hopes and dreams as I have now. I laugh and I cry with them. I am a part of their family, and they… a part of mine. They have shared their knowledge with me. That to me, is more valuable than a goldmine.
I don’t do it for the money. I am working for peanuts. My payment is the plethora of knowledge, the elder give me. The amazing stories that they share. They are sharing part of their life with me. I am sharing a part of myself with them.

I am a Nursing Assistaint because the human soul is beautiful and resilient. I do it because I am human. I love and I feel.

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A Mutual Understanding


This weekend I was reminded how every living creature is intelligent in their own way. We need to respect every living being, even if they are not human.

Every year my family has a reunion on our family farm, as we have done for 151 years. My son and I were looking at three cows. All of them were new mothers like myself. The mothers fed them from their udders, like I fed my son from my breast. He soon realized that they had nipples just like me. He started to get excited and wildly wave his hands and arms about. I laughed and told him that Mommy can’t produce gallons of milk like those Mommies can.

The cows stared at us and looked at my son and I. I believe they saw he was smaller than I, and that I was a new Mother too.

Cows are such gentle and inquisitive creatures, and for those few minutes we had an understanding and mutual respect for one another. I nodded and my son waved. They nodded back and we went back to our daily lives. They turned away and went back to theirs. Yes we are mothers. We are still learning. I respect them, and they respect me.

Hey you! Behind that desk, are you happy now?

I see you everyday I work. I come in at six a.m. and I leave at two p.m. You.. yea, I’m talking to you… hiding behind that desk. I’m not blind. I see you are on salary. You make up your own hours. You don’t care.  Sometimes you come in at 8 a.m. It’s usually 10 a.m. though. I see you walk quickly down the hallway. A mad dash to your office… where you will sit all day and pretend to be busy. Your usually talking to your kid or your hot mess of a girlfriend on the phone. I’m not stupid. Your still getting paid the same, to sit and hide in your office all day.

Here I am… knee deep in shit, and I really am. I got a resident over here that has dementia and loves to play in there poop. I have a new admission that has irritable bowel syndrome, and half my hall has been quarantined because they have c-diff. Call lights are ringing and the hallway is lit up like a goddamn Christmas tree. The nurse is trying to help me as much as she can, but she has got to get her meds passed and check blood sugars before lunch arrives.

All the other Nursing Assistants are knee deep in shit too, not to mention the five people with Alzheimers, just one of those aids has. They keep trying to get out of the short term care unit, because you neglected to put them in the locked unit for fear they would no longer be “skilled,” and you would loose your precious money. Meanwhile we are ready to piss ourselves because we were not able to take a restroom break or lunch break because we all fear we would get reprimanded and fired.

You.. yea, I’m talking to you… hiding behind that desk. You think you could help me out here! You were once a Nursing Assistant, an Registered Nurse. You used to work the floor. Did you forget what it was like? To have compassion? To treat these residents with respect and dignity?  To not just see them as a dollar sign when they walk in the door? Did you forget to show your employees the same respect as well?

You.. yea, I’m talking to you… hiding behind that desk. You think you could help me out here! It’s Christmas again! Every single call light is on and ringing. Half of these people need to go to the bathroom. You think you could put them on the bedpan, or commode for me? Im drowning! Three people need ice water. You think you could at least do that? I promise you won’t have to get your hands dirty. I got a family member thats upset. You think you could come talk to them? It’s your job to make sure complainants are addressed.

No I will handle it. Do the job of many different people. I wear many different hats. Don’t you see? You hide behind that desk and close your office door. Never do you hear the complaints of residents, because they are dissatisfied that the  administrators did not care to introduce themselves. No they dont even know who you are.

Never have you heard a person sob, because this is their first time receiving treatment in a nursing home. Never will you listen to a wife, talk about the husband she has been married to for fifty-two years, that just passed away, right before she fell and broke her hip.  Now she is here. Never will you hold the hand of a dying person, and console their family members. This person was their Father, their Mother, Spouse, Grandfather, Great-Grandfather, and so much more. To me they were a friend.

You.. yea, I’m talking to you… hiding behind that desk. I see you, papers pilled high around you now. Your stressed out and sweating. And you know what? I don’t give a damn. Squirm like the worm that you are! Should have thought about that while you were on the phone, taking personal phone calls. Ignoring these wise and wonderful human beings. These elderly, their family members, your staff. Word has it if census does not increase you will be fired. Was it worth it? Was all the money really worth it? Hopefully this experience was humbling.  I can only hope it gave you a lesson in compassion.

You.. yea, I’m talking to you… hiding behind that desk. Get the hell off you high horse and the horse you rode in on!