a blog about Kilt and her kids plus Trouble our JRT mascot.

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Sequim, Washington, United States

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Nursing Pet Peeve

Hey, it's nice having a blog where I can actually discuss a few pet peeves :0)  It may or may not make a difference.  But, I feel good for getting it off my chest.

I receive patients (older folk) that live with their children from time to time.  I "commend" them for taking care of Mom or Dad.  Mom and Dad raised you....now it's your turn to help them.  Not exactly an American way of thinking as I see it.  Most just send them to a skilled nursing facility when it is too time consuming to care for them.  At least, it seems that's the American thing to do.  Other cultures have a bit more respect for their elders.  But, that's not what my pet peeve is at this moment.  I will discuss that line of thinking in another blog someday.

This time I'm blogging about FINGERNAILS.  It's always the most concerned children who are a bit demanding about this and that when their parent is in the hospital.  Most likely their loved one is in the hospital for some kind of infection.  I have a really hard time not RAISING my EYEBROWS when I see filthy, unkept fingernails.  Think of the bacteria under those unkept nails.  YUCK!

If the patient doesn't have family at bedside or coming to visit, if I have the time, I will cut and clean their fingernails.  Nurses are still "old school."  They were taught not NEVER to cut a patient's fingernails.  Most likely in case they cut them too close and they were diabetics.  HOGWASH. 

The hospital chaplain calls me the "nicest" hard nut she knows. :0)  If I see disgusting fingernails and the kids come in to visit, I point out their parent's fingernails and discuss and educate about cleanliness and bacteria.
I'm nice about it, but fairly firm.  "I see that Mom has come in for a bacterial infection.  Can you imagine how much bacteria is under her fingernails?  Since you are spending time visiting Mom, it sure would be great if you could give her a manicure."  Most of the time I shame them in a pleasant sort of way into taking care of their parent who is unable to care for themselves properly.  The truth is, I really don't have time to being manicures in a critical care unit. :0) 

So, if Mom or Dad are living with you, take a close look at their nails.  I admit, it's a bit of hang-up I have.  It's one of the first things I do when I go to see my Dad.  Luckily, Medicare pays for monthly podiatrist visits and Dad looks forward to them.  I like to do his fingernails when I go to visit.  He likes me to do them.
One last funny note; when my Mom was dying (not funny, but in a way it is) she asked me to cut her toenails.  While I was trimming her nails she told me EXACTLY how she wanted them trimmed.  "Now, Suzanne, cut them straight across.  Don't curve the corners," etc.  She died some 48 hours later.  But, damn she got in the last word (as only a Mom can do with a daughter) and her toenails looked mighty fine!  If that offends you...sorry...it's my sense of humor.

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