I only have two days of clinical left in my Certified Nursing Assistant training before I take the state test and become certified. Clinical is hard. It was an eye opener for me into nursing homes.
We’re living longer nowadays, approaching 100, 101, 102, even longer sometimes because of advancements in science. Is this a good thing for us?
During my clinical, I saw the advancement of diseases we don’t yet have a cure for such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Multiple Sclerosis. The diseases advanced so much, their own family can’t take care of them anymore (not because they don’t want to, but they can’t). So that’s where we step in. We dress them, feed them, bathe them, and make sure they’re as comfortable as possible. Most of them are cranky and funny, and you can’t help but love your job, but there are depressing parts to it, too.
It’s HARD. You’re physically moving almost the whole shift, whether it’s moving somebody in their bed, using a lift to get them to their wheelchair or toilet, dashing around the dining room, making sure nobody’s choking, etc. You’re on your feet all day, and the elderly like their heat, so nursing homes are very warm.
You see people at their worst. You get pooped on, spit at, peed on, yelled at, screamed at, cursed at, scratched, punched, kicked, and you have to keep a smile on your face, because they’re not in control of their bodies. It takes a lot of patience. But there is one resident that I help that makes me want to run out of the room and straight to the capitol and shake congressmen and ask why euthanasia isn’t legal. This resident is in the end stages of his disease; he can only move his eyes. He can’t speak, he can’t move, he can’t do anything except move his eyes. I can only imagine how much pain he is in, and I only know this because he cries a lot. And you feel for him. I just want to go to him and comfort him, tell him it’ll be okay, but it’s not. He’s basically waiting to die. And he’s dying in a miserable way. And that breaks my heart.
Is living to 100 really a goal we want to achieve? The human body is an organic form, and is meant to slow down and eventually stop working. Maybe hundreds of years from now, scientists will find a way so that the human body doesn’t decay, but that sounds like something out of a science fiction movie. For now, this is reality, and today’s reality is that living longer isn’t always better.