Part of what is unique about me, and somewhat freaky, is my ability to see the light inside people. Some of my friends find it disconcerting and some of them suspect black magic but all of them see it from time to time.
The reason I love what I do is precisely this. There is a light within us all that longs to shine out. It can be buried under layers of life or radiating just under the surface but that light is there. My little mission is to find it in every person I meet. Some are harder than others. The ones that are the most rewarding are the persons who cannot tell you directly; the ones who for whatever reason are impaired this way.
In the hospital, I worked in the ward where housed are those who have nowhere else to go. The old and infirm who can't get into facilities. It is a warehouse for those who are about to die; who inconveniently live on. It is a very depressing place indeed.
Those who inhabit the beds there are mostly not quite aware of what is happening around them. Some of the patients were so infirm they never got out of bed at all. Personal care consisted of repositioning them and changing their *incontinence products* every 6 to 8 hours, and a bath once a week. At every meal all levels of professionals would drop everything and help feed them. Very few of these people could feed themselves. It is very labourious and time-consuming to ensure all patients get fed and volunteer staff come in to assist, thank God.
The University also sends Nursing students in for bits of their practicums which helps alleviate the chronic staffing shorting.
My big aha moment was a lady in the corner bed of a 4 bed room. She had advanced Alzheimers-like dementia and spoke but only in long sentences of nonsense.
"Then I said, I said I said then I said I said said said no go I said I said."
That was her standard type greeting.
I took a special shine to this old lady for some reason. I had lots of other old ladies but she was mine. And I was hers. She had sparkly eyes when she opened them which was not too often. But boy, did she ever love her food. She was always spot on for mealtimes.
I would sit her up and she would open her mouth wide, chewing every single bite.
One day when I came in, I looked in her room and saw her lying towards the door. She was pillowed into position. The night report indicated she had been changed in the early evening.
She caught my eye, which was usual and I noticed a tear. Unfortunatly I had alot of things that took precedence so I did not see her until breakfast time.
The Care Staff had not yet gotten to her. I rolled her onto her back to sit her up and noticed the bed was wet. In fact it was soaking wet. And cold. I understood the tear.
I changed her myself, and the bed, and had a few words with the head Nurse. There is NO WAY that woman had been changed the evening before. She probably had been laying in urine for 24 hours. And worse, some fuck had rolled and pillowed her and made the decision not to bother with a new *incontinence product*. This really burned me up as those adults diapers are designed to hold 8 pees. 6 to 8. Hers was so wet it had chafed her skin.
I understood that tear and I remembered it.
You know, when I would go in after that, she would say:
"Me Me Me Me please Me Me me." and smile.
I miss her.
She taught me a profound lesson.