I am nearing my last week of psych-mental health! And almost every bone of my body wants to go get a job on a psychiatric unit right out of school and work in that area for ever!!
....But I know that is not a "wise" choice. So I know I need to stay on the ground and get some real medical nursing experience before I follow my dreams.
But the past 8 weeks, I have encountered many people who have truly changed my way of thinking. Many of the patients I cared for/observered have caused me to see life in a different light. EVen if I don't pursue a career in that area, it definitely increased my understanding & empathy.
So for one of my presentations this week, I had to incorporate a spiritual verse or poem. I happened to stumble across one; and it touched my heart.
It is referring to people with Dementia and Alzheimers Disease. I am sure that everyone knows someone who has been affected by a form of dementia. I think dementia is one of the saddest and most lonely things that can happen to a person. Can you imagine getting to a point where you don't even recognize your own reflection in the mirror?
Two instances in my life have led me to want to be a nurse; and they both involved people with this disease.
1) My Grandpa Neil. He had a stroke, and the effects caused him to become a completely different person. I was very young when this happened, but I remember spending countless hours at the nursing home with him, and making "friends" with other patients on his unit (I was about 7 years old at this time). I never really understood what was going on, and why he didn't know who anyone was. And now I wish I could go back in time and spend time with him. I hope his nurses were caring and compassionate to him.
Sometimes, health care providers find it easy to ignore and "forget" about these patients, since "they won't remember anyways". It is a very sad reality. Because I had someone close to me with this, I will always vow to preserve every patient's dignity!
2) A woman I volunteered with at a hospital in Minneapolis for a summer. She was a retired nurse in the early stages of Alzheimers. Since her retirement, she had been a dedicated hospital volunteer - but was needing someone to help her stay on track. She was one of the most caring women I've encountered; and she will never know how much her actions affected me!
So I found this poem; and had to share it. It brought tears to my eyes! And my request to all is: if you know someone or have a relative that lives with dementia/alzheimers - spend some time with them! Just sitting with them, and talking with them - because they still have feelings and deserve friendship :)
The Lady in the Pink Sweater
They can take my meal away before I'm done;
They can talk to me like I'm dumb
They can refer to me as a "Feeder"
Fluff me up to make me look neater
They talk about me like I'm not Here
They address me as "honey" "cutie and "dear".
But there are things they can't do to me
As they insult my dignity
Oh there are things they can't do to me
They can't take away my memories
My Roles through this life cement my presence
With withered mind they call senescence
I am rich in culture, wisdom and knowledge
That medical people can't learn in college
I am a mother, a sister, a historian, a wife
I have mastered many roles throughout my life
I created warm meals in my day
I wiped my children's tears away
I cared for a close knit family
Who look up to and value me
And now I master another role
Dependent patient with golden soul
If just one of "them" would sit with me
I'd share with them this history
And if one would stay awhile
I'd teach them that I'm still God's child.
They are so busy, this I know
I have aged and have gotten slow
This I must share in written word
I may not be seen but I will be heard
They say I'm anxious, noisy and loud
This life has taught me not to be too proud
I am too many things to capture in a letter
I am so much more than the lady in the pink sweater
If you've listened from the start
I may help you find your heart.