Figure it Out




It’s pouring. And cold. And the busses aren’t running. Awesome. Figure it out, Alice. Make it work. Ok. I’ll pack my scrubs, walk in street clothes and change at work. Solution!

Third shift did not get up one resident. Not one. I was informed that she wasn’t going to risk harming herself by “lifting. She’s concerned about HER back and couldn’t care less about MINE. Figure it out, Alice. Make it work.

My partner on the floor is late. Or called out. Or maybe no one was scheduled. I don’t know. No one told me and I don’t have time to bitch. There are seven people calling my name. Where are the TED hose?! Missing again. Figure it out, Alice. Make it work.

Prioritize; desperate to desired. Fall risks first, requests for ice last. Breakfast is late. VERY late. Which means showers will be late, my residents will be “off” and my shift will be “off”; that potentially disastrous domino effect that comes from inconsistency.

New resident, ninety-five years old. Sharp as a tack. She came to us from her own home, having successfully lived independently for almost a century. Now she needs help. That’s scary. I know that’s scary. She knows that’s scary. I tell her she’s brave.

“MAKE SURE SHE GETS UP!”, says her family. Says my bosses. She does not want to get up. She refuses. She adamantly-hell-will-freeze-over-first-refuses. Figure it out, Alice. Make it work. I tell them that everything is a negotiation. I tell them she is going to need time to adjust. I tell her we will work together and try again tomorrow.

Buddy, you HAVE stop peeing in cups. I promise, I will do my very best to make sure your brother doesn’t give up. I’ll find your favorite sweat pants, they are around here somewhere. It’s not ok to dump your milk on your roommate because she got to the Rice Krispies first. Poop. So much poop. WHERE ARE MY MEDIUM GLOVES?! Small is useless when my hands are sweaty and large slide right off. Figure it out, Alice. Make it work.

“Alice. Whose drink is this? You KNOW drinks cannot be on the nursing station!”….Pause, Alice. DO NOT say what you are thinking, for once. Deep breath. Do not SAY not only do I not know who’s drink that is, but I don’t care. Why don’t you take that drink and shove it up…

“Nope. I don’t know.” Good! Restraint!

We don’t get paid enough to “figure it out”. There are days that I feel really resentful and get stuck in the “unfairness” of it all. I hate that! I’ve written previously about how I feel about that sort of mentality, but I’m human and am not immune to the occasional case of the “poor me’s”.

Luckily for me, on those days that my mind and emotions rebel and refuse to cooperate, my FEET know exactly what to do. It’s muscle memory. It’s action. They figure it out and make it happen and usually my feelings follow suit. Resilience overcomes defeatism.


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