The rest of the story Byran Womack’s 24 hour stay as a skilled nursing resident
This is part two of Byran Womack’s 24 hour stay as a skilled nursing resident that kicked off his AIT program. You can read part 1 here. – Steve Moran
Just as I was about to lay back down, two women from therapy came in and told me they were there to do an assessment and see what I was able to do. They insured the proper fit of my brace and showed me how to put it on correctly, and then they helped me to use a walker and walk down to the end of the hall and back. They were pleased with my performance, and told me that I had enough strength to transfer myself from the bed to the wheelchair, and from the wheelchair to the toilet and back. I was pleased that the only thing I needed help with was to have a CNA or Nurse come in and help me put my brace on, since they also signed off for me to be in bed without the brace.
About fifteen minutes after they left, another Nurse came in and asked me a lot more questions; mostly about Resuscitation and whether or not I wanted that done should the event arise. She asked me those types of questions and some other things for about fifteen minutes and then left. I thought I was finally going to be able to unwind a bit, and then the next round of visitors began. Activities came in to do her Assessment, and we talked about things I liked and didn’t like to do, what I typically spent my free time doing, if I wanted to be involved or attend resident council meetings. She went through a series of questions and had me determine their importance to me, and we finished up about fifteen minutes after she arrived. Shortly after she left, Therapy came back in with the next shift of CNA’s and showed them how to properly put my brace on since they would not be there later to supervise.
After they left, I was laying in my bed for a few minutes, a little overwhelmed with all of the activity of my first four hours, and an old lady pushed the door open to my room. She sat in my doorway for a full minute, staring at me; neither of us said a word, and she simply let the door slowly close and proceeded down the hallway. I began to wonder if that is what I had to look forward to in the middle of the night.
An hour or so later it was time for dinner, and I was escorted to the nourishment room. I was informed that I was going to be fed as a precaution and for supervision, and that was a little disconcerting. I did notice that there were a lot of females in stark white scrubs, and they looked like a church group to me; I hoped it was one of them that fed me. Of course that was not the case, and I had the misfortune to have a six foot something man spoon feeding me a chili dog, tater tots, and mixed fruit. I am not sure which one of us was more uncomfortable about it, since neither of us would make eye contact with the other. I was grateful of him trying to make small talk, and the fact that he didn’t make buzzing noises and swirl the spoon around on its way to my mouth, or make choo choo train noises and reference the train headed into the tunnel like a parent would to their child, because I felt like a baby being fed by his daddy. I ate as fast as I could and when the meal was over, I thanked him for enduring that with me, and left rubber marks on the floor from my speedy departure back to my room; feeling much closer to him than I should for that excrutiating bonding experience we had both shared.
When I got back to my room I finally had a few minutes to unwind and reflect, but instead of doing so, I put a movie on my laptop and tried to forget about my surroundings. A while later a new group of CNA’s came in to introduce themselves, people came in to say goodbye and check on me before they left for the evening, etc. Overall, I could tell that the staff cared about my wellbeing and comfort, it just seemed that there were so many of them! I fell asleep around 1:30am and was awoken by hollering around 2:30, it went on for several minutes, and then quieted down. I woke up several more times throughout the night, and then slept until about 6am. There was a general bustle going on in the hallway, and things progressively got louder as more and more activity was going on. People began checking on me throughout the morning, asking me if I needed things, refilling water mugs, asking me if I wanted to go to breakfast, then bringing it to me when I was too tired to go to the dining room. Maintenance wanted to fix my door latch and I asked if they would come back after 11am. It felt like someone was popping in every 15 minutes or so, so what little bit of sleep I was trying to catch up on was unsuccessful.
Overall, my 24 hour experience as a resident was eye opening, and I felt first-hand, the kinds of challenges residents go through relinquishing control, allowing others to take care of them, and adjusting to life in a Nursing Home. No amount of pleasantries and caring can compensate for that lack of control, but it does help. The genuine caring that the staff communicates helps to soften the uncomfortable nature of the living arrangement, and I know that my knowledge that I was only going to be there for 24 hours helped me cope. I can only imagine the feelings I would have had if I had been uncertain about how long I would have to stay. It also make me contemplate what it must be like for family members to release the care of their loved one to a group of strangers, hoping that the care is excellent and genuine. The staff I encountered were all professional and took this exercise seriously, and I feel that they showed me no extra consideration than they would any other resident. I thank them for their time and their dedication to their jobs and would trust them to care for my loved ones.