Tuesday, April 20, 2010

In over my head?

Almost half-way through my internship, and I'm still having plenty of moments during which I feel way in over my head. I'm learning so much every day, but when it comes to put that knowledge into action, I freeze up and freak out (internally... gotta play it cool on the outside 8-) )

But anywho.... yesterday, yesterday, yesterday...

Ok. Started my day with the cutest little old man. I played music with him and a fellow resident at his board care. We sat in the living room and just had a nice bonding visit. The other resident worked in the movie business and is from Philadelphia! They were just the sweetest old men. They were very agreeable and just very pleasant... a simple kind of a pleasant... a refreshing kind of simplicity and pleasantness...

Well anyway, my next visit was Kiss from God. She hasn't been doing well lately... she was sleeping in her geri chair when I arrived... she looked pale and weak... I played some soft piano music for her. When she awoke, she turned her head towards me and smiled slowly. She was too weak to even lift her head up. I brought her the song lyrics that she wrote... I had typed them up for her and even put a picture of an angel at the bottom... she said she didn't even remember writing the lyrics... I think she does remember though, and that she was just tired and distracted and wasn't really thinking about what I said. I thought it would be best to just play more calming music for her and help her rest, but the physical/rec therapist lady from our initial visit way back when arrived and started kicking the balloon around in the living room with the other residents... I accepted that a calming atmosphere was not going to be realistic, so I told her to rest and I'd be back to see her soon.

After some office-time goodness, the MT and I were just ready to make our way up to LA county to see our little kiddos, like we do every Monday, when the mother emailed the MT saying that today was not a good day. Poor family... the pt had over 10 seizures this weekend and they were all exhausted... all I can think of is whether the kids had to see their dad have a seizure... what a traumatizing experience! And at the ages of 6 & 9, they are still very young and impressionable, but old enough to realize that seizures are serious and real.

So instead, I went to see our Scottish lady since the team has been emailing a lot back and forth about her cries for help. She's been telling people "I'm dying" and begging to see her daughters, while her daughters are hearing this and freaking out. This is the point in my day during which I freaked and felt overwhelmed. I spoke with the daughter on the phone and tried my best to comfort her... but the lady was sobbing and saying things like how hard it is to see her mother like this etc etc... I wasn't really sure what to say or what the right thing to say was or how to help... the patient was sad too and she's not dumb -- she knows she is on hospice and she knows she is dying... I know this is what hospice work is all about, but honestly, situations this blatantly hospice-related haven't really come up much... the patient apologized for her behavior since she's been calling out for her daughters to visit (apparently... does not do this during my visits with her...) I told the patient it was okay, she didn't have to apologize, and that we're just here to support her... I didn't think there was anything wrong with her wanting to see her daughter, but I just read an email from our social worker about the case, and apparently it is a personality 'quirk' of the patient's to try and manipulate/guilt her family members into getting what she wants, and that is why her daughter is stressed, emotional, upset, etc. Maybe I was wrong for telling the patient she wasn't in err for her behavior... I don't know!! Therapeutic conversations is something you can read about and hear lectures on for years, but you don't really learn how to do it until you actually do it for real...

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