Not All Nursing Homes are Horrible

I have worked in a small town nursing home for over two-years and wonder why. I work with people who are grouchy, rude, and unpleasant to be around.. I am under paid and over worked. Some times, it seems no matter how hard I work or how much I go outside of my job duties, I am accused of not doing enough. It is the hardest job I have ever had-yet I stay.

The first go round, I worked as a cook over three years ago. I only lasted nine months. This go round I have been there a little over two-years. Currently I am working as a housekeeper. In the time I have been at the nursing home, I have learned the names of every resident. Like everyone else, I have my favorites.

For some reason I seem to be drawn to the stubborn ones. I like the ones who have no problems telling the nursing staff what they think. For privacy reasons I will not tell you their names, I will tell you a little about them because they are the most important part of my job.

When I think of the nursing home, one resident in particular stands out. He stands out because he stands tall. If you have ever been inside a nursing home, you would understand why standing stall makes this man unique. We used to have a handful or so that stood tall, this man is about the only one left.

If you give him a minute of your time, you will learn that he is a decorated war vet, an ex-baseball player, a coach, and more importantly, he has a family that loves him. If you give him a few more minutes, he might show you the scrapbook his niece made for him. It is full of newspaper clippings from his baseball days. He has a reason to stand tall.

I cannot think of this man without thinking of his old roommate. Like him, his roommate was one that held his head high. He held it high all the way to the end.

His roommate was a proud man, and even though he was confined to a chair, he never slowed down. You would see him in the halls making bracelets for anyone who wanted one. He spent a lot of time in the nursing home maintenance building working with wood. He even made me a cute box to keep my gardening tools in. He talked about his sons and told anyone who would listen how proud he was of them. He would tell you about the farm and his mother’s roses. He appreciated hard work. He also had a good word to say to me and on occasion would tell a nurse if she was giving me a hard time.

When I started back at the nursing home, he would come to the kitchen window and request his bacon and pimento sandwich. His wife was with him then. It would touch my heart to watch him dote on her. She was no longer capable of feeding herself, so he would sit beside her and spoon her food before he would eat. It broke my heart when she died. She held on until one day after their sixtieth anniversary. I cannot think of his wife without thinking of her sister. She was another proud person.

Her sister had been a nurse at the old hospital. After another of our current residents turned the old hospital into a nursing home-she worked as the activity director.

Whoever said doctors made the worse patients-never had a nurse for one. That woman kept the staff on their toes.

I could go on forever about some of the stunts she and others had pulled, but it becomes too painful to think about the ones that are gone. Most people do not think about the nursing home being the last stop for most of these people. That is exactly what it is. You are told when you start not to become attached. The same person who tells you this greets each resident by name and asks about his/her or her family.

The nursing home is the hardest job I have ever had, yet I stay. I stay because of the residents. I stay because I care.

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