I guess I am spoiled. Maggie has had the same core group of nurses caring for her for several years. When I had to make the switch to this home based system, they all came along. There are some shifts that are filled by others, but mostly it is these four. These are not young women. I would put each of them at around 70 years old. I know a couple of them are actually older than that. Because of the age and strength issues, I have to play back up a lot. To be honest, there are times that bums me out; but generally, it works out fine.
One of my “regulars”, in fact the nurse that has been with us the longest, has been out for two weeks with a shoulder injury. She did not do anything specific, but the pain was increasing all the time until it finally just required a break. This may be the beginning of the end of her time with us. She has spoken of retirement in the past and this may hasten things a bit. I have been trying out new (and younger) nurses during her absence. All I can say is I hope she wants to work another 10 years.
It is easy to find fault in people. I have been focusing on my need to be here as back up because of the lack of physical strength of the nurses. Guess what? Younger stronger nurses need back up too. And I have had more cancellations among the younger nurses who do not have the loyalty and who have conflicts because of their busy lives raising kids, etc. So, as they say, stick with the devil you know.
Last night I had to attend a meeting of a nonprofit group I work with. (Check out www.advokids.org.) The nurse has been here about five or six times before. I had a helper in the house with the nurse until about 7:45 and my husband was supposed to be home by there, but often he’s a bit later. The nurse called me at 8. She had been alone with Maggie for 15 minutes. I left the meeting to talk to her. She was concerned because Maggie was “very congested.”
Before you worry, you should know Maggie is ALWAYS very congested. She needs suctioning every minute or so. That is her baseline.
I asked all the appropriate questions, most too gross to go into and included, “is my husband home yet?” “No. I think you need to come home.” I said, “Let me call him because he’s probably on his way home.” I tried his cell. No answer. I hesitated but then I went back to the meeting and everyone just stared at me. I said, “she’s fine, but the nurse is skittish. Steve will call me in a minute.” He did. He had been looking for parking when I called and was already in the house. Maggie was perfectly fine.
I am not criticizing; Maggie is a lot of work. I am just saying that my core group of nurses had better start drinking from the fountain of youth or something. Because they know Maggie so well, they have spoiled me. And they have to stay here forever.