Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Bim and Daddy

I should take a moment to mention how much we all adore our nurse assistant Bim...
She was a mathematics teacher in Nigeria and moved to the US a few years ago. She's married with 2 young children. She's tall and attractive and speaks Queen's English with her rich African accent. She laughs heartedly showing perfect white teeth whenever amused and has this calm and comfortable presence about her. I also like how polite she is. When she moved to the US, she taught math in grade school for a while and then quickly decided she wanted to change careers because she could not stand American students and their lack of respect to educators. She's studying to be a Licensed Nurse at the moment and is saving up money working as a nurse assistant (while raising 2 kids and working long shifts!)

With the merry go around of various hospice workers we see daily, it's nice to have some stability. It's strange--the schedule of what *type* of people is always
the same, but *who* shows up as the role constantly changes, if that makes
any sense. Here are the players: 12 hr daytime shift with a nurse aid
(CNA), 12 hr night time shift with the vocational nurse (LVN), a visit
from the hospice doctor every other day, a visit from a registered nurse
ever other day, and perhaps a social worker when my mom is up to
it...Anyhow, Bim'll be back tomorrow. I also can sense my dad relaxes around her. I love how she respects his privacy and dignity even
when he's in this condition and non responsive. She always drapes a
sheet over him during sponge baths, combs his hair and shuts the door
when his diaper is getting changed. One of the other nurses was all
business and would just change him out in the open. He may
very well not care, but I got the impression that she didn't think much
about the possibility of causing a patient or their loved ones
emotional discomfort.

Mom's out picking up an order for medicine to dry up my dad's larnyx. Due to the inability to swallow saliva has now dripped down into his breathing tube and lungs. His gurgling and coughing so difficult to have to hear. Since his brows furrow every time he does cough, we trying to dry up the secretions (although it will make everything dry) in case it is making him uncomfortable. Till then Bim is patting his arm and whenever she (or my mom or I) does so, it causes his spastic coughing to ebb a bit. He sounds like a wookie when he isn't coughing--that's the best description I could come up with. It freaks me out a bit, but Bim assured me that it's normal as his body continues to shut down. Gave me a few stories of how frightened she was the first time she heard this type of coughing and wheezing from a dying patient (it is surprising how loud they are). She gave me a hug and told me to go take a break (which is what I am doing now).

He's got stuffed animals on him which looks so ridiculous but works to make him feel as if there's always someone touching him. This was Kelly, the RN's idea, not Bim, but it definitely makes a difference. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I suspect my dad can already see himself from above at this point. His body seems like a shell. He's probably really confused as to why there are two stuffed bunnies on his arms. The important thing though is that he can see my mom and I massaging his feet and patting his hands and Bim is kindly rubbing his chest. Lots of caring people around him even if some of them have known him for more than 40 years and some have known him for just a few days...

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