Thursday, June 17, 2010

Not Tempting Fate

To say I became more cautious after my husband's death would be an understatement. It was about a year before I would let anyone else give my boys a car ride. I was under the deluded assumption that I could somehow control my own destiny and I wanted assurance that if anything was going to happen, it would to all of us at the same time.

Today I take the back roads to avoid highway traffic and the semi trucks that scare me when they roar past. I drive the speed limit or only go a bit above when I'm on the road long distance. Locks and the stove are double checked. No longer do I take any chances. I know too well that the unexpected bad fluke can happen. I also realize that I can't protect myself from every calamity, but I sure make an effort to do what I can.

This is one of the reasons I've probably not done so well at the nursing home job. I don't take chances with the residents under my care and I play by the rules. We were told in my training that a spotter is needed whenever using a mechanical lift with a resident. But to track down another CNA who is available to help takes time - sometimes up to 15 to 30 minutes. The old timer CNAs just use the lifts by themselves. They save time and their own skin. But not necessarily the residents' health or safety.

Early on, there was a mishap with one of the lifts - the switch wouldn't shut off and kept going. At the time, I was being assisted by another new CNA and our resident was a 300 pound woman, with a paralyzed left side due to a stroke. We managed to get the woman safely to the ground where she lay until another lift could be obtained to get her up. It was scary and very worrisome. The resident ended up on the floor for 30 minutes while arrangements were made as to how to best "rescue" her. We'd been told that if such an incident happened like that and we were operating the lift alone, we'd be immediately terminated. Also, there is the grave concern of actually injuring someone and then as a result losing our CNA certification, not to mention possible injury/neglect charges.

So, I never took the risk. For myself but most importantly, the residents I was caring for. I think that some of it comes from my husband's death. I can't take chances anymore and I won't, even if it comes at my expense. No use pushing fate. I wonder about the other CNAs though. Their carelessness and disregard for the helpless residents in their care. I guess it is easier to be confident and cocky that nothing bad will happen when you haven't suffered a loss or losses. I can only assume that others don't think about it because it isn't on their minds. It doesn't exist within the realm of possibility. Or if they do think about it, they can quickly dismiss the worries of something going wrong. But I think for the most part that people just don't think about bad things happening. And it is easier to not think about them if you haven't experienced loss.

We become different people after our loved ones die. We don't think or act in the same ways. It is sometimes hard to fit into a world where perceptions haven't changed as ours have. I'd like to believe that I am a more caring and introspective person than I was before. But it can end up being a hindrance when we're interacting in a world that isn't the same for us anymore, or dealing with people that don't think like we do.


  1. I wish you could find a better place to work. Not all nursing homes are like the one where you work. As for trying to control so no bad things happen--I do that too. Always thinking about what could happen and trying to make actions that keep the bad stuff away. Although there are many things out of our control and it makes it more difficult emotionally when we feel so responsible to protect everyone near us. Still--there are just safety issues we CAN control and I go for those. Sorry--too tired tonight to make much sense in my writing here. Steady On Friend, you are doing a great job!!!

  2. Judy - I totally agree with you that it is prudent to try and be safe and cautious when we can. But you are also right - always trying to keep the bad away is so emotionally tiring - and always worrying about everything isn't good either. I know you can relate to that. Thanks for your kind words of support. I'll be on the job trail next week and will keep you posted. It would have been nice to have had an opportunity to "take a break" for a change - to have all be well with the world, at least for a little while. I took the job out of desperation knowing it wasn't a good fit. That decision has come to haunt me now.