Saturday, July 8, 2017

To Be A CNA

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Perhaps this isn't quite a poem, but it's an outpouring of emotions - and that's what my poetry is...

Yesterday was my last day at my Long Term Care job, as I am getting married in 14 days and moving to Pennsylvania afterward... I have so much I wish to say, but don't quite know how to. But I'm trying.

To Be A CNA

Today I recited 1 Corinthians 13 on the way to work -
If I start by the second red light, I'll have recited it fully by the time I reach the turn.
It's a litany of peace, reminding me -
I am love. Today I show love. I can do nothing without God's love.
“Please make me love.”
“Please give me energy for today.”
“Please let me be on South Hall, and if I'm not, please let me have a good attitude, wherever I am.”
“Please let there be enough coworkers for this shift and the next.”
My quiet, repetitive prayers of every work day.
Some days I see God more clearly than others -
Some days I am more loving than others -
Some days are better than others -
But it's a learning ground, if I choose to see it that way.

Three years is enough to feel comfortable here, most days -
Especially if you put me on South Hall with people I work well with.
There's a confidence in knowing where I should be, and what's expected.

Do you want to know what a nurse aid is?
We are the ones who take them in and out of the bathroom -
We are the ones who give showers, and take them to meal times, and make sure they are safe.
We are the ones who are cussed at, hit, and complained about if they are sick or in a bad mood.
We are the ones who give comfort when they are crying, listen when they are lost in their past, and
We are the ones who are family - even if no family chooses to come anymore.

. . . . .

Someone didn't show up to work -
Maybe they called in,
Maybe there was a hole in the schedule,
Maybe their  name shouldn't have been written down -
Whatever the case, my 8 hour day just turned into 12 hours.
Or maybe no one at all can come to replace me, and I will work 16 hours.
You can never trust you can go home at a certain time.
I've seen mothers calling babysitters, calling family -
“I'm being mandated. I can't come home.”
Sometimes I just want to go home, and I can't...
This is what it means to be a CNA to me.

There are coworkers I trust, and those I don't-
But I love the easy rhythm of working with my friends I count on.
The odds may be stacked against us, but we take a deep breath and charge through the day.
There's a certain comfort in working as a team to get the job done.
We have inside jokes and times of laughter amid all the business -
Good natured teasing and poking fun.
We may not always have good work days, but any day with friends still has good moments.
This is what it means to be a CNA to me.

A fall alarm is blaring 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow' in a wild tune  –
Perhaps if I'm fast enough I won't find someone on the floor.
This is at least the fourth time I've turned this alarm off and made sure this person is safe.
I was in the middle of giving someone else care, but the alarm was calling, and so I ran.
Since working here, every time I hear sudden sounds, I jerk towards them –
Sudden beeping sounds are the worst -
My mind is always saying, “Fall alarm!” unconsciously.
This is what it means to be a CNA to me.

Maybe someone will try and hit me today -
I've never been bitten, but I've worked with people who have.
I've never been seriously hurt on the job, but I've pulled my back before.
My toes curl in almost automatically as wheel chairs graze near my shoes -
I carefully watch peoples moods and hands...
A smile can quickly turn into an upraised fist, and angry words.
But I am gentle and understanding, because everyone needs my care.
This is what it means to be a CNA to me.

“We have to stay inside for right now.”
They don't know why I won't let them out of the building.
'Their car is parked right outside -'
'I can't keep them here against their will!'
'Have I see their family member?'
'I am an awful girl for not being able to find who they need...'
But I can't let them out -
I am here to keep them safe...
On days when they are lost in the past, I am the one to try and redirect their thoughts,
Because I can't take them where they wish to be.
This is what it means to be a CNA to me.

“It will be a nice, warm shower. I promise it won't take long.”
Please take a shower....
It's been at least a week since their last shower -
Perhaps longer, if they refused last week.
"Can you please try a bite?"
"Are you sure you don't want something else for dinner?"
Please eat...
It's my job to worry about if they're eating - my job to try to convince them to shower-
It's my job to make sure basic day to day care is being given-
Even if I have to plead, or offer several times.
This is what it means to be a CNA to me.

I'm dealing with uncontrollable crying about something that isn't even real in today-
But I'm holding them tight and loving them now
Because right now, their sorrows are fresh and real to them -
In their mind - the sadness - it is true.
And there are others-
Frustration about their abilities and progress can lead to tears, or angry words,
"I'm sorry you feel that way," is sometimes all I know how to say,
But I try to be patient, even when they aren't patient with me.
I filter all day through complaining, anger, sadness, pain,
As those I care for are a wide range of emotions.
Me?
I try to maintain a sense of calm - even when I don't feel it.
This is what it means to be a CNA to me.

"His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me."
We could sing those words every day,
And some of them would never tire of it.
Over time, I've learned who likes to sing, or who likes me to sing.
Not every day is a singing day, but I enjoy the times that are
Because we can gladden each other's heart through it.
There can be so much joy and love
If we choose to share it.
This is what it means to be a CNA to me.

Laughter is one of the greatest joys-
Maybe they're teasing playfully with me,
Or excited at a new outfit,
Or just simply happy today -
I love those times.
Quick hugs - long hugs - telling each other,
"I love you!"
I can not do everything I wish to,
But I can be loving and joyful and kind...
And many days, that's what they seem to need the most.
This is what it means to be a CNA to me.

"I love you."
"You look beautiful today."
"That's my girl."
"I love your hugs."
"You aren't allowed to ever leave me."
"I wish I had a granddaughter just like you."
"I pray all the best in the world for you."
Little words of encouragement from those I care for.
Moments where I look around and know,
This is where I am meant to be in this season of life.
Not every day is good, but every day I can give what is good.
This is what it means to be a CNA to me.

My daddy always says,
"Go be a blessing to someone today."
I know I didn't always live that perfectly, or be as patient or loving as I wish,
But I prayed, and I tried, and I gave...
Ministry wrapped in day to day work.
And that is what being a CNA was to me.


~ZA

**Photo Credit: Link

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

She Laughed



She Laughed 

12/23/16


She laughed
In the middle of the night because she had yet to sleep.
It was often this way:
She loved the way relationships
Grew in the night.

She laughed
Because the dearest people to her
Always made her do so
When it grew late.
That was the delight of it:
Forever spilling out joy.

She laughed
While they laughed with her.
She felt worries fade to a whisper as
They brought joys and laughter
In the moments.

She laughed
Though pieces were forever shifting.
There was strength in the knowledge,
These friendships were a picture of things
Yet To Come

She laughed
Until weariness took over.
Then in warm contentment, she
Went to sleep knowing
She felt loved.



~ZA

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