As I’ve said before, my mother lives in a nursing home. She is in a semi-independent section, where she has a small apartment with a sink and small refrigerator so that she can prepare her own snacks if she wants, but the meals are provided. It’s a section where there is nursing help, but it is not a nursing floor. We have taken the option of having the nurses give her the medications she needs when she needs them, since she is not able to keep straight what she needs to take when.
It’s been a good move. Many of her friends have been there, and we have been able to relax, knowing that someone is available to help when she needs it (and she did, when she broke her hip).
The longer she is there–and the more we interact with the staff–the happier I am to say “Thank God for nurses!”
The ones on her floor really care for their patients–and they are not just seen as patients. They are also friends…at least, as much as is possible in this kind of a caregiving situation.
They do everything they can to keep them independent, because they know that when they have to move, it’s the beginning of the end.
They are patient–oh, are they patient! As I struggle at times with my own patience (or lack thereof) with my mother–knowing that the constant questioning and lack of memory is nothing she can help–I am thankful for those marvelous nurses who have the ability to respond to each repeated question as though it’s being asked for the first time.
Even more, this week, I have been grateful for their checking up on Mom and making sure that she gets something to eat. She’s taken another spell of not going down to meals–partially because she hasn’t felt well, partially because she has lost a sense of time, and partially because her body doesn’t seem to be sending her hunger signals that she recognizes. And the staff has made sure that a meal has been sent up for her–even though she often doesn’t eat much of it.
I don’t know how much longer we’ll have her…but I do know that the staff has made it possible for her to remain as independent as possible for significantly longer than I thought might happen.
And so…thank God for those men and women who have the patience and the desire to bring ministry to those at the far end of life.
Thank God for nurses!