This week, I have been nursing alot. Not so much hospice nursing, but dealing with wounds and IV's and medication teaching. I have been a real nurse. I have always been proud to be a nurse because I think it takes a certain kind of person to do the job well. It takes the kind of person who can deal with anything, any fluid, any smell, any situation and remain calm even though, at times you are ready to fall over from nausea, grossness or fear.
This week while I have been doing all of these clinical things, I also got a chance to cut a little old lady's toe nails. Some nurses love feet but I don't happen to be one of them. I can deal with anything but it isn't a pleasant experience to deal with feet. But...this lady had some toe nails and they needed to be dealt with. You ever see those old folks with the thick curled brown nails where they always look dirty? These were even worse than that. After I had done my assessment and taken care of the things we needed to do, her daughter asked if I would cut her toe nails. "Sure" I said thinking "I hate to cut toe nails." I got a pan of water with soap and soaked her feet. She said that it felt good. I sat on the floor, put a towel in my lap and grabbed a foot.
All of a sudden, while I was practically under the kitchen table working on the feet, I noticed a foul smell. I couldn't tell where it was coming from but it was bad. I kept cutting her toe nails and wondering...did someone poop their pants or worse yet...did something die? After I got the big toe nail cut, I looked over and was eye to eye with two big bull dogs in cages by the kitchen. "AH HA", I thought "It's those dogs." The smell just continued. I decided I couldn't take it anymore. I said to the son, " I think those dogs need to go out" to which he responded, "They just fart alot."
At that point, what I really needed a skill saw to buzz off the lady's other nail on her big toe and a mask so I didn't throw up on it. I kept asking her if I was hurting her in that loud voice you use with folks that don't hear. She would rouse from her dozing in the chair and say "What" in the same loud voice I used. We did that exchange about 4 times and finally I gave up. I cleaned up the basin and nails, washed my hands and said my good byes and left.
There is so much more to nursing than clinical things. There have been times that I have been up to my elbow in some one's open wound while talking about their kids and husband. I have been in houses that needed to be bulldozed and gone in houses that the last breath I took through my nose was before I walked in the front door. Then there are the things that we don't ever mention to folks at all. And...I have been doing this kind of thing for over 25 years.
I wonder sometimes why I feel crazy at times...and I think I just figured it out.
I love being a nurse and plan on doing this for at least another 20 years. I am sure by then, I will have "done gone round the bend."
We'll tawk tommorrow,
I love you all,