Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,
Today I participate in a blog hop hosted by Michael D'Agostino of A Life Examined. Please visit Michael's blog to sign up. Now let's go to the hop!
Michael's question for September is the following: What’s the best job you’ve ever had?
The best job I've ever had was when I worked in a nursing home as a geriatric nursing assistant [GNA]. I've written some blog posts about the nursing home. You can read one of them HERE (please note that I've changed the names of the people involved, but the story is true).
Money was tight at our house. Someone needed to get a job. I knew that someone was me. Working as a GNA paid better than my job as a newspaper reporter, but it was hard, physically demanding labor, from 7 p.m. - 7 a.m. three or four nights a week.
I changed diapers; cleaned whatever needed cleaning; fed people who couldn't feed themselves; lifted heavy patients out of their wheelchairs and put them to bed in a clean gown; emptied catheter bags; and assisted the nurses with procedures. If someone who had dementia peed next to the toilet instead of in the toilet, then I cleaned it up.
When death was imminent I held the hands of patients who told me stories of childhood play in the woods, pets they loved, children who didn't visit, where they were when they heard about the attack on Pearl Harbor, service during World War II, their regrets, their triumphs.
Working as a GNA probably doesn't sound like a good job, but I loved it. I danced into my patients' rooms to make them laugh. I made sure they had what they needed.
The most important part of the job was that I treated my patients and co-workers with dignity, sympathy, and a smile. They returned what I gave to them a thousandfold. I've never felt as respected as I did when I worked in the nursing home. I was somebody.
I was somebody who was loved.
Thanks for the great question, Michael.
Sing us out, please, boys.
Infinities of love,