If I haven’t told you before, I work in a nursing home. I deal with death, dying people, sick people, the crazies, and much more. I also deal with the aggressive, the ones that are very hard to deal with.
Recently, it’s getting harder and harder to deal with the aggressive ones. There is one, in particular, that I can think of right now, that it is becoming progressively harder to deal with.
I don’t deal with aggression well. I didn’t tolerate it at Rock House, and I’ve dealt with it, passively, all my life. I’ve noticed that, in the years passing, I, myself, have become more and more aggressive. Whether it’s defending a passion, or facing adversity and aggressively physical people, I have become more aggressive. My anger blossoms in my chest and the thoughts that pop in my head are sometimes uncontrollable. No amount of breathing and walking away fixes it. And most of the time, my anger is when I’m at work. Understandable, an aggressively stressful environment, it’s understandable that I would be angry. But, when I get angry at home, for no reason, it’s a problem. I digress.
The elderly, there are few types. There are the ones that are sweet, little old men and women. The ones who have basically reverted back into a childlike state, they have some tantrums, but are mostly agreeable and wouldn’t hurt a fly.
There are the ones who think that you are there only to serve them. You are their personal servant or slave. You are only there to serve them and them alone, forget about the other people that are on your hall needing your care. They are better than you. They will tell you exactly how they want things to be done, and don’t you even think about not doing it “correctly”, even if you’ve done it a million times. You are to be there when they get on the light. You are to wait on them as long as it takes and do not rush.
There are racist ones. One that think that people of different colors should NOT be allowed in their room and wonder how they ever even got into the building. Which, honestly, doesn’t make sense. I thought that it did, because that was their era. To be racist. But, really, back in the day, their slaves were colored and took care of everything. What would be the difference? Does that make sense? Like without being racist, because I’m definitely NOT trying to be racist. Honestly, I don’t know what the proper etiquette is for not being racist or saying something inappropriate. And if it helps, I got that from an agency aide, who happens to be black. She didn’t understand why they wouldn’t let her in their room just because of her skin color. I didn’t either. But she brought up the point of slavery and how the “help” raised white folks kids and did laundry and etc. You know? So why wouldn’t they allow her in there to take care of them. It made me really mad, because I don’t believe that you should be racist, period. Secondly, if you can’t take care of yourself, and you have to have someone take care of you, you should probably be thankful that someone is willing to help you. It shouldn’t matter what color their skin is.
Then, there are the stupid ones. The ones who act like they don’t have a lick of sense in their head. You have to do everything for them, even though they are perfectly capable. They are not stupid, they just really act like it.
Finally, there are the really aggressive ones. The ones that I can’t handle. And I applaud anyone who can deal with them with patience and compassion. But when you sit there and take a swing at me, try to kick me, pinch me, slap me, spit at me, or try to bite me when I am trying to help you? HELL NO! I can’t handle it. It happens all the time. I have one resident that is just aggressive and he aims to hurt you. I can’t take it. I am there to help, not to be your punching bag. And with my anxiety, it makes it worse. I start feeling the panic set in. I start trembling and tears well in my eyes. But I have to help them. I can’t just not help. I’m not that kind of person. But when they try to hurt me, I want to bad to hurt them back.
Yes, that is against state law, pretty much everywhere. And it’s against all kinds of ethics, but I’m sure you could understand the impulse to hurt someone who is hurting you. And you can understand the fight or flight system firing when you’re being swung at.
Now, explain this: what if the behavior is not provoked? Like, I have a resident who gets on my nerves, they act stupid and they aren’t. But when they act that way, I want nothing more than to smash their head into the wall. And I feel no guilt about feeling like that. I don’t act on it. But I feel the pull, the rush, the need to do it. But I resist. I’m not about to land my ass in jail. But I want to. And when I feel like that, it takes over an hour to calm down, if I do calm down. I don’t think it’s healthy.
But I need a job, and this one is good. I just need to get my thoughts under control, at least I’m controlling most of my actions.
I’m tired of working nights. I don’t like the way it makes me feel, or the fact that I’m not home where I belong.
Everyone has to work. Yea, I get that. But that doesn’t mean that I like having to be here. I don’t like having to deal with people. The residents are killing me. And they all know that something is wrong.
Then there are the people I work with that have no idea who I am or what I deal with: “would you just cheer up?” Well, shit! Since you asked so nicely, why don’t I just do that! Seriously thought.
I’m mad tonight, calmer now, but I’ve imagined myself slamming a resident’s head into the wall. All because I just put then in bed and they wanted up already. I hate when they do that! It makes me mad.
Some of the people I deal with think or act like we are their personal servants. I’m sorry, but that is not what I get paid to do. But in all honesty, it is. Because if someone doesn’t like you, they can call state. It’s a huge ordeal. But we aren’t here to serve the residents. We’re here to help not serve. I am not a servant.
I’ve thought about continuing in the nursing field. Getting my medication aide certification. I could do it. If I really tried. I’ve almost been here a year now. Never would have thought that I would make it.
I need a change though. I’m tired of late nights being too stressful, and then having too much time to think of ways to hurt someone.
I’m rewriting this for my family, so that they might understand better. I don’t want you to be scared, or hurt. But I want you to understand what I deal with on a daily basis. This takes a lot of courage, because I’m baring my soul here. There’s not a lot of people that will understand. Just please don’t judge, try to read with an open mind.
I hope that when you read this, you don’t feel pity, but you become more understanding. It’s not a quick fix. It takes time to heal. Therapy helps, praying helps (religion doesn’t fix everything, sorry), BUT medicine helps too. You have to remember that this is chemical. My brain isn’t releasing enough “happy” chemicals to balance the others. That’s why they call it a “chemical imbalance”. Depression is not my fault or a weakness. It affects at least 1 in 10 people. That’s a lot.