Sometimes I am reminded that my job is one of the best jobs in the world. That I am privileged enough to have a part of someone’s life, their most intimate moments and thoughts. This week I had one of those moments.
I was speaking with a gentlemen about his life and specifically his wife and he shared with me the story of when he first realised he was in love with her. It brought me also to tears. So here is his story:
She had been away in Doncaster visiting her sister-in-law’s family and I was going to meet her at the station. So as I am waiting on platform one at kings cross station, her train pulls in. She steps out and she walks towards me smiling and radiant. And, in that moment, I realised I was madly in love with her and couldn’t bear to be apart from her ever again.
That. That is the kind of love I want. That is the kind of love that happens once in a lifetime, that makes you believe in soulmates, that restores your faith in humanity. That is the kind of love that makes movies, that makes hearts melt, that gives life meaning and purpose. That is the kind of love you only get to witness in my kind of job.
So what did I learn at work today. Several things.
Firstly, that you lose people in this profession more frequently than we’d care to admit or like to think about, but it never gets easier. If you have a connection with that resident, losing them will always sting, just like the first one.
Secondly, that losing someone doesn’t have to be the end of their story. We recently lost a shining light in our home, a wonderfully caring, happy and strong woman. But, just because she has come to the end of her life, doesn’t mean it has to be the end of her story. Here is one nugget of her story continuing. A second is the hearing aid batteries she donated to the Home, she is letting a whole home of people hear and be engaged. A third is a collection of Tottenham Hotspur memorabilia, that to the uninterested football suffer like me has no value, but to the gentlemen upstairs who is an avid supporter is a heartwarming gift.
The third thing I learnt today at work, is that my job is definitely not for everyone. It has to be in your heart, in your nature. And, that if it isn’t you should not be working in this field of work, not only for your sanity, but for the well-being of everyone in that Home. An unhappy resident, quickly leads to an unhappy team and an even unhappier Home.
Meet the two ladies locked in a battle of wits and cunning over the attention of a smiley but incapable companion
Okay like any good work environment there is always some rivalry for attention and for friendship status with the most popular person.
In a care home apparently it’s no different! We are currently dealing with a fight between two ladies over a third lady. For the sake of confidentiality I am going to change the names. So let’s call them Saskia, Mia and Greta.
So here is the story thus far:
Mia and Greta have been relatively close friends since they both moved in around the same time. Mia can be a little stand off-ish but generally speaking is quite a capable and interesting woman. Greta on the other hand is a very smiley, outgoing and friendly soul. The friendship between Mia and Greta was going well, they spent many an afternoon chatting and eating their meals together. But unbeknownst to them, trouble was on the horizon, in the form of a new resident, Saskia. Saskia is a charming woman, quite conversational and capable with a wonderful sense of humour and need to be busy.
Immediately the challenges begin. Mia and Saskia are in a feud for the attention and companionship of Greta. Mia sneaks in first to get a seat on the sofa with her, Saskia spends some quality time with her over a game of scrabble. It’s a dead heat. Then the rumours begin, Mia has been telling Greta not to like Saskia, Saskia has been accusing Mia of bullying. All while Greta is completely unaware because she can’t remember one minute to the next!
The fight would be all well and good if it weren’t for the fact that the two women who are feuding would actually be much better friends together than with Greta because they both have the capacity to maintain a conversation! Greta although smiley and positive, is very limited to agreeing and giggling in a conversation rather than actually contributing any points, opinions or topics. Both the feuding ladies are fighting for attention in order to break the boredom, and yet they are fighting over someone who is the equivalent of a mirror after taking a good dose of morphine.
So my day was going great, Santa’s workshop was nice and calm, we made our lollipop stick trees and chatted, all plain sailing. We had a lovely church service thanks to the local father, then I went and did one to ones and got to know our new residents. Nobody was in a bad mood, everyone joined in and was laughing and chatting away all day, in terms of my residents and me it should have been a perfect Tuesday…. yet of course I have left feeling stressed out and unhappy.
Why you might ask? After such a lovely day do I feel so panicked? Well because it’s not just me and my residents, it’s relatives and staff and head office. My boss was under inspection which meant it had implications for me and my job was being analysed to check she was doing a good job. So I have that report to look forward to tomorrow. Our home manager was asking me for a map that I haven’t had time to do which we don’t need for 2 weeks yet. All the staff had lost their heads and were stressing out and at me. It was all a bit much. Which is such a shame because my actual job in isolation was such a win today.
So we have had a mad two days with 2 birthdays and the start of our festive build up with Santa’s workshop!
We got to see the spectacular play of one of our residents at table tennis, where she yet again wiped the floor with everyone, including her own family! She was glad she got a bit of a challenge in comparison to my not even novice standard!
We have enjoyed far far too much cake or all kinds! The beauty of a Care Home is birthday cakes!
We started our Christmas campaign in the form of Santa’s workshop, where each week leading up to Christmas we undertake a different Christmas craft. This week was pinecone decorations for our woodland themed tree. We dazzled them in paint and glitter and will string them up so they can at some glitz to our lounge.
Christmas is my favourite time of year! So dressing up as an elf and making Christmas decorations while being snug in the cafe blaring out Christmas songs is definitely my idea of a dream day at work!
So as I have found myself back working in care, which is a not at all guilty pleasure of mine I thought I would share my tales of joy and woe as I rush around the corridors of my little Care Home.
Today was our monthly baby cafe, a weird sounding name for a perfectly innocent and adorable monthly mother and toddlers group held at our home so our residents can play with some kiddies and comment on their character. So today was our third, it was the brain child of me and my boss and has been a growing success, each month attracting new mums and babies and even coaxing out more of our residents which is fantastic! But the name was probably not our best decision as we have the running joke that the babies aren’t on the menu!
Of course it being Monday also meant that our weekly knit and knatter group met and managed to finish off the second of our baby blankets for an unexpectedly expecting mum to be. We also tossed around the idea of contacting a local women’s shelter to see if they have any need for baby blankets as we seem to be churning them out much better than our attempts at those for the homeless. That being said the knattering is an important part of the group and the process, it would hardly be fun if all we did was knit!
We also had a game of table tennis on our dining room table, of course just before dinner and after it had been all nicely set! Which didn’t please the carers too much, but hey ho, when the compulsion to play hits you, you just got to go with it! So my table tennis game is improving, although probably not quickly enough for our resident champ who complains that it is exhausting playing against such amateurs, and I can’t blame her, I spend most of the game on the floor searching for the lost ball!
So all in all it was another wonderful day filled with our usual activities and fun. I do prefer days with regimented activities, makes my life a lot easier!