My Experiences as a Qualified Nurse
In the early 1980's, I qualified as a first level registered general nurse for the NHS. I was so very proud to be part of an honourable, albeit sometimes challenging profession.
I felt fortunate to have the guidance and continued support from intelligent Consultants.
Such Consultants helped facilitate my ability to practice ethically, morally and competently. I was encouraged to provide the highest possible standards of patient care: to optimise patient comfort; to be mindful of how to gently (and consistently) encourage all patients to perform independent activities of daily living.
Promoting independence was paramount. Indeed, it was a core component of my work.
A contentious issue now arises within the NHS.
With limited funding and resources, it is quicker for nurses to care FOR a patient, rather than to encourage a patient to care for his or her self.
Pharmaceutical companies advance daily. I now speak as a daughter of a 78 year old chronically disabled father, who I love with all my heart.
My father cannot perform a single independent activity of daily living that many of us in youth, might take for granted. He now needs full nursing care at home, 24/7. His wife, (my mother) is 80.
Every time my father has an exacerbation of an existing medical condition, he is admitted to
Pneumonia, sepsis, deep vein thrombosis, another mini stroke, another mild heart attack: without wishing for a moment to diminish my father, (already I'm feeling treacherous for disclosing this information), I'm sure you get the picture. With every hospital admission, he receives more medical interventions.
Sometimes he's unconscious for weeks at a time. Occasionally he's delirious during periods of unconsciousness. Sometimes he awakens and has the mind of a child.
Waiting for a place in a rehabilitation centre following a medical crisis, he can become medically unstable again, and the hospital give more medical intervention.
Each time he has a hospital admission, or a stay in a rehab unit, we need to modify the house yet further to help meet his new needs for when he returns home again.
I've witnessed Dad pull out his drips, drains, nasal tubes, oxygen masks, catheters etc. I know he sometimes hides his tablets underneath his tongue, as I've found them under his pillow later.
My Dad cries a lot these days and it's heartbreaking. My Dad's been a pillar of society, a popular and well respected man.
Because of all I've seen, I have written a living will. I expect MY wishes for MY body to be honoured. No medical intervention beyond a body that has failed for me, thank you.