July 2, 2011

I have a few of them. Some types we all experience like how healthy old people can tell you the day and almost the time they will die. Had a few of those. But the one that hit home the most for me requires a bit of background.

I was not happy with a guy I had working (LTC) on my midnight shift and I was too afraid to have him work another night. So, I went down to the facility and fired him, then I took his shift. Turns out, I was right to do that, in retaliation for his being fired he set one of our buildings on fire. A building my old people were sleeping in!

You have to experience it to understand but when you are in a burning building and you are pretty sure you aren’t getting out and you about to prove to the non physical people that you were right about religion all along (LOL) you quickly form a bond with all the others that aren’t going to get out of the building alive either.

We did manage to get out and everyone was safe except one person who did die a few days later.

After that day I was terrified of working the midnight shift. Some of our staff lived on the property such as the groundskeeper. I was forever waking the poor guy up throughout the night swearing I could smell smoke, or I heard crinkling of something burning. I would sit at the nurses station and just shake and cry. (A little PTSD?  )

G was a lady that has a history of a stroke. She didn’t have poor short term memory, she had NO short term memory. After 7 years she still couldn’t remember who I was or what she was doing in this building.

From the time of her stroke to the time she died G ALWAYS had her days and nights mixed up. She was quite content to walk the halls and quietly hum, sit with me at the nurses station, whatever she wanted. She actually had the entire A building to herself. (We had buildings A-E)

I would bribe G with candy to sit at the nurses station with me while I worked. I never had to say anything, I’d just pull the candy dish out and G would happily munch candy, we’d talk, and I’d do my work. I just needed a human to sit with me. This was our little secret. Actually, it was my little secret! LOL G wouldn’t remember by the time she stood up that she even ate any candy.

Shortly after the fire it happens to be that G died and I was all alone again on the few nights I did pull an 11/7.

One night after G’s death I was sitting there trembling in fear, tears streaming down my face, ready to have the best ever panic attack SWEARING I could see, hear, and smell fire/smoke again and out walks K. K was a cool old lady, she really was. She was from Germany and she was one of the people trapped in the burning building with us.

I composed myself and asked what I could do for her. She sat down and said she thought it would be nice to chat. LOVING the company and thinking she was probably unable to sleep I said sure, what would you like to chat about? She thought for a moment and finally said that G had just come to wake her up. I realized she had been dreaming. I reminded her that G passed away recently. K said she was aware of that but G woke K and explained that when I work nights I become afraid and needed someone to sit with me so I could do my work. G told K I was having a rough night and it might make me feel better if K came out and spent a little time with me.

I just sat there not knowing what to say, I mean… that was MY secret. I never told anyone about G, the candy, or our talks at night. K stood up, walked behind the nurses station, sat down and pulled out the hidden dish of candy. Then she proceeded to tell me what life was like for her when she was my age living in Germany.

K died about two years later but to this day I dearly love that woman. What a gem. Same with G.

I don’t expect anyone to believe it but it’s true.

– Posted by Bipley; Allnurses

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