National Hero Week or Nurse’s Week May 6 thru May 12

Florence Nightengale  May 12, 1820 – August 13, 1910

When Florence was 24 years old, she had a “calling” from God. She wrote in her journal, “God spoke to me and called me to His service.” Florence decided her calling was to help the sick and the poor by becoming a nurse.

You can read more about Florence Nightengale at the Florence Nightingale Museumhttp://www.florence-nightingale.co.uk/index.htm

The Florence Nightingale Pledge:

“I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug. I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession, and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling. With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician, in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.”

National Nurse’s Week is May 6th thru the 12th.  These are the heroic souls that aid doctors everywhere in everything, dispensing caring and emotional help along with medicines.

These heroic women and men who aid the doctors also have assistants.  Certified Nurse Assistants are the unsung heroes of the medical profession.  CNAs are the ones who do the real dirty work and this is what Margaret does every day, as if being married to me isn’t a big enough challenge.

The website “Nursing Assistant Central”http://www.nursingassistantcentral.homestead.com/ says,

“Being a Nursing Assistant is not for everyone, and nursing facilities have been experiencing difficulty over the last few years attracting and retaining caring, qualified individuals. The pay scale isn’t always up to par for the work expected of Nursing Assistants. More often than not, C.N.A.’s work short staffed, decreasing the quality of care that patients receive while at the same time presenting a safety hazard to both staff and patients alike. The need for quality caregivers has become an important issue, and at times a problem, for healthcare facilities. Nationwide, this country has experienced somewhat of a crisis in the area of the direct-caregiving field. As the number of nursing homes continues to increase, it is an unfortunate fact that the caregiving field has been lagging in numbers. The turnover rate for Nursing Assistants is phenomenal…”

Margaret really doesn’t like to be in the spotlight and I don’t write about her very often, but she is a genuine heroine.  She is a home health care CNA.  People who, not very long ago, even in this country, would have had to live in a nursing home or hospital or, in some cases, hospice, can stay at home with their families, friends and loved ones directly because of her.  There are adults and children right here in Colorado Springs,Colorado who live better lives and in some cases just stay alive, because she is there.

One reason I don’t write much about her is that she has all of the office politics from three different offices to deal with as well as the nurses she “assists.”  I put “assists” in quotations because many times (with a few notable exceptions) she is the one who does the work every day and the nurse (I say again, there are notable exceptions) just comes around every couple of weeks to make sure she still knows how to do her job.

Another of the reasons I seldom write about her is that I cannot tell most of the stories that I have heard because of her patient’s (they call them “clients” in the biz, I guess it must sound more positive) right to privacy.  People that are in common could potentially connect the dots and figure out who the person is and what their medical situation is.  Besides, a lot of the time her job is too gross for me.  She and the daughter-in-law, who is also a CNA, start talking shop and I am out of there.  I guess that’s my point.  I couldn’t do it.  A lot of other people couldn’t/wouldn’t do it, but she can.

A quadriplegic person confidently wheeling around in their wheelchair.

A little old lady in her 90’s or 100’s that still lives at home.

A teenage girl with cerebral palsy that has only rudimentary control of limbs and bowels.

The child of a crack-head mother who lives with his brain unevenly built.

Parents of children with problems I can’t pronounce who were told by the Dutch government that if they weren’t US citizens (That means something!  Let’s don’t allow criminals to cheapen the value of it.) They would “euthanize a child like that” (Actual quote) and they better just go to the American hospital in Germany.

I had heard the term, “Debilitating disease” but never really knew anything about it until I saw Multiple Sclerosis firsthand.

All of these people are able to stay with the people who love them and care for them and want them, or stay in the homes they have always lived in, (in some cases that they grew up in!) directly because of Margaret and people like her.

Do you know what “Autonomic Dysreflexia” is?  What the signs of it are and what will happen to a person if you don’t?

How about the proper way to prevent infection while administering a bed-bath?

A lot of you may have changed a baby, but what about the correct way to change a grown-up’s soiled diaper?  If they are uncooperative?  Become combative because they think you are trying to hurt them when you are taking off their nasty clothing because they have Alzheimer’s and are confused?

Empty a bedside commode?

What do you do to prevent contamination and infection if someone’s bodily substance, vomit, feces, urine, gets on you?

Did you know there’s a right way and wrong way to put on and take off rubber gloves, which have a wide variety of styles and uses?  (I like to blow them up and put them on my head and watch little kids eyes bug out, but that’s not a professional use.)

I have done a dismally poor job of bringing this thought to you; of explaining what an angel of light in a dark, dismal world some people are.  My usual candor is lacking because the subject, the things she does as part of her work every day, is pretty much all things I really don’t enjoy talking about, or thinking about having to do.  But if the Lord has me live past a hundred (only the good die young) and I have to have someone besides Margaret care for me, I hope I get someone who cares as much about how to do their job and be professional and caring at the same time as she does.

She is a REAL Hero!

Remember, The Good Book Says, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

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