Sometimes work is rough. Why? Because I haven't learned everyone's specific needs yet, so I feel like I'm scrambling to make sure no one dies. Odd. One of my coworker's favorite anecdotes about me during my second week of work is this: "And Kacey stepped in from the lunch room, grabbed her hair and said, 'THERE'S JUST SO MUCH!'" Yes. That about sums it up. There's just so much.
The thing is, everyone has all this specific health things, but most of them don't happen very often. So, like, I forget them. Luckily one of the more serious ones didn't happen when I was on duty. I came back from lunch one day and another staff pulled me aside and said, "Okay, so everything is fine, but I feel like a horrible person." Ah yes, that's exactly how I love to start my afternoons. What had happened is she was helping one of my guys to the bathroom. We'll call him Joe. Joe is older, super cheery-- except when his Alzheimer's kicks in. He is a little shaky and once in a while, not often at all, will just fall. Because of that, we have to hold his hand while he walks. Oh everyone loves "Joe"! He's a lover not a fighter! Well, my coworker was walking him to the bathroom. She let go of his hand for a second to grab something, and in that second he dropped to the ground. A complete and honest accident. She wrote the report (Our policy is CYA- Cover Your Butt) and told me what happened. "I checked everywhere and the only thing I could find was his knee got scuffed. So I did First Aide and he's fine. In fact, he will tell you he's fine."
"I trust you, Cami. He doesn't need to tell me he's fine," I reply.
"Oh no, Kacey. I know. But he'll tell you anyway. And his bad mood is completely gone."
See, he'd been in such a bad mood all morning. So much so that when his home staff came to pick him up for a Dr's appointment he would NOT get into the car. They had to reschedule his appointment. So to know that him falling put him in a good mood... that was odd. I didn't buy it.
She was right, by the way. The first thing he said when I went over to him was "I'm fine! I'm gunna be fine!"
"I know, Joe! I heard!"
"Kacey! I need your help!" another one of my individuals said. I turned to her and said I'd be there in a second, while my coworker came over to watch the others while I helped this one. As my coworker approached, "Joe" stood up and started singing. He has this amazing warble of a vibrato and it always sounds straight off a vinyl record from the 50's. What did he sing, you might ask? "I'mmmmmmmm Gunnnnaaaaaa be fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnneeeeeee!"
Yes. He sang that for ten minutes.
I understood then what Cami meant.
Oh I love him. He's one of my favorites to be around. He'll sit and sing allll day long. It's a wonderful thing!
There's another woman there with Alzheimer's. It's not as bad as Joe's, but it can get pretty bad. I love her compliments though. One time I was helping her over to Cooking Class, and she looked right at me and said, "Boy you are cute, Doll!" She calls all the female staff "Doll" at least once. Though she can get catty with the other girls. I just tell her, "you're an adult. Act like one." "I don't want to talk to her!" she'll say. "Well then-- don't!" I say back. That gets her quiet real fast. Oh she's sooo funny.
Hmmm what else... One lady that I work with always asks me "What're you doin' tonight?" I tell her, then she forgets and asks me again about an hour later. A bunch of our guys do that. Sometimes it's just for attention, so if I've already answered the question, I'll just turn the question back on them. There's one man, we'll call him Bob, who is the best at it.
"Kacey. What does High Sierra mean?" (Though he can't say his r's so it's more like "High siewwa")
"What does it mean, Bob?"
"Kacey, Kacey. What's Wal Mart?"
"What's Wal Mart, Bob?"
"That's right, Bob."
Bob has what we call "Shiny Moments," as in, he'll change topics midstream as if he got distracted by something shiny. The other morning he went up to Crystal and said, "Cwystal Cwystal, I know how to spell your name."
"Okay, Bob, how do you spell it?"
"C- Aw- I"
"Okay, that works." (because it's CRY)
"S- Linda. Wheah's Linda? Why isn't Linda hewah?"
And we all lost it. He's so funny.
I look forward to my every day question from Bob "Kacey, Kacey, what does High Siewwah mean?"
And "Joe" and I sing every day while waiting for the bus (he's obsessed with Elvis) "Wise men say only fools rush in..."
My internal song though, from now on, whenever I have anxiety is:
"Iiiiiiiiiii'mmmmmmm gunnnnnaaaaa be FIIIIIIIIIIIIIIN NNNNNEEEEEE!"
I love my job :)