It’s been a tough week. I was not personally impacted by the hurricane but it left a lot of devastation to many people in the Carolinas, specifically the farmers. My farmers from the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) had most of the fall crop destroyed by the heavy rains and the saturated land. The fall plants died, which means I won’t have many vegetables from the farm each week. The CSA means we share in the burden. If they have a good season, I benefit from their crops, and if it’s a bad season, I also share in their loss. It’s true, I have the privilege of buying other vegetables at the grocery store but it’s sad for them and all their hard work.
Clinical has also been challenging. I am tested and question my ethics, values and bias weekly. Recently, I worked with a patient who had stage 4 pressure ulcers. Imagine your health declining, and you have a decreased mobility, eventually staying in bed most of the time until you are bed bound. While you are bed bound, no one turns you enough, you just lie there in bed. Eventually, the bony parts of your body (like your heels, elbows, or hips, etc.) develop sores and they burrow away like a hole until they are irreversible. The open wound starts at your skin level, but deepens all the way to the bone. The worst part about pressure ulcers is that they are preventable. I am told nursing homes don’t have a lot of support, and there might be one nurse to 20+ patients. That nurse doesn’t have enough time to support to each patient. I can’t imagine leaving someone in the same position for weeks and weeks until their body decays.
Another classmate worked with a patient who was nonverbal, which means, you might communicate by saying, blink twice if you are in pain. Another patient was an inmate, and I wondered if I had known the reason for the incarceration would I have been able to provide the same level of care to this patient as all my patients? Would I have bias and treat a patient differently if I knew their history for incarceration? We are not told this information intentionally but I was wondering. Someone pointed out if I am concerned, perhaps thinking about – not everyone grew up with the same resources, and some acted on crimes to escape their life.
Another patient was a quadriplegic, another with schizophrenia or dementia, advanced Parkinson’s or medically induced Parkinson’s, seizures, etc. Adult and gero health are equally as challenging as maternity and pediatrics. I also had a mental health observation experience at an inpatient mental health unit. I was nervous most of my shift because there were patients who were physically aggressive. I read the report about how a few nurses were seriously assaulted by the patient over the weekend. Another patient tried to bite my hand. Others were screaming with delusions and hallucinations. I wondered how to care for these patients when I felt a physical fear and wanted to distance myself from them. Mental health and mental illnesses are physical problems in the same way as someone has cancer. There is something wrong with the neurology and it needs to be treated.
We are in week 5 of school, almost half way through the semester. I dropped guitar classes because it wasn’t as much fun as I had anticipated. It was not a true beginner class, other students had a musical background, singers, piano players, etc. and I felt I couldn’t devote the time to memorizing chords each week.
The only fun thing of note, I went to a Stand up Paddle Board (SUP) yoga class on a lake and it was so much fun. I loved laying on the board and floating around the water. Surprisingly, standing on the board was very challenging. I would love to say I found a new hobby. I think I might investigate living closer to a calm lake in my next relocation.