I am heading into work this weekend, and it reminded me of a blog I've been wanting to write for some time now. I was sort of trying to wait for the words to come... then I sort of put it in the back of mind, and forgot about it, until I was watching some YouTube videos tonight.
When I started my job at the nursing home, I figured I'd mostly be working with older people, or people who had major issues that prevented them from taking care of themselves, such a paralysis or stroke symptoms, etc.
That was before I met Joyce, Beth and Tom, 3 of 130 residents at CCC. Joyce was a new arrival on my 3rd day. She weighs over 450 lbs. She can't speak b/c of a trach. She wasn't my patient on her first day, but a nother girl and I did have to change her and straighten her sheets one night. It broke my heart when I entered that room. I fought back tears. That was my future!!
All of her dignity was lost. There she sat..fully aware of her surroundings, having to use a diaper just b/c her sheer size inhibited her from making it to the bathroom. She couldn't do anything for herself anymore.
What was most heartbreaking was the bag of Werthers Originals, and the box of cookies, I had to take off of her lap before we could change her pads. I had food addictions like that. Had it not been for the WLS, I could've been her!!
My heart went out to her, but there was nothing I could say. I did my best to make her feel comfortable as we cleaned her and got her re-situated. As she rolled from side to side her whole face turned purple and I saw the strain that such a small simple task brought her.
Tom is another resident at CCC who is SMO. He gets around alittle better. He can walk and I'd guess his weigh to be around 380 or so. He does mostly for himself, even orders his own food from outside restaurants to be brought in. The day I took care of him, he told me that he was starting a diet. This was around 9 a.m..... around 11:30 I found him in the activities room watching TV and eating an entire large pizza he had ordered and had delivered. Then around noon he ate the provided lunch too.
Again my heart was breaking.
Who am I to have been given such a wonderful oppurtunity to live again?? To be strong, and healthy and keep my youth!! To spend time running and laughing and playing with my children!
Finally, I met Beth, just last Saturday night. Beth was the kindest, gentlest soul. When I entered the room she had the brightest smile I had seen on anyone in that home. She asked if I would help her get to the toilet which I gladly would've done except, it was 3rd shift and the facility policy states that all residents must use a bedpan or brief during night time hours b/c of low staffing. I told her I was very sorry but that I would put her on a bedpan and she could use that. I could tell she was less than thrilled. She also had a trach but could speak and I'd guess she was in her 30's. I saw on her chart that she weighed 399 and one of the nurses commented about how she had gained 10 lbs in 3 days. I have done that!!
Working with these 3 people have brought so many emotions out in me. My heart goes out to them, b/c I know how strong food addiction is, and I couldn't break it on my own either. It took WLS to fix my stomach, to give me a chance to fix my head!!
What is it that makes us eat ourselves to death?? What is it in us that allows us to watch the scale go up, up, up and yet keep shoveling the food in?!?!
After I left Joyce's room, her call light immediately went back on, b/c I had put her candy and cookies out of reach. It was totally accidental, but I was sad that she couldn't have them out of her reach for even a few mins.
There is so just much to process and so many thoughts that have gone through my ehad about it. Thank God I was given this oppurtunity. I wish everyone who needed it, could have it.