yayas,caregivers,health providers – top of the list

today i salute all the yayas, caregivers and health providers – mostly girls and women who get to take care of us even when we dont match their passion and competence for caring. i say this because i have been caring for Inay Adang since last week and i realized that though i am intelligent, even blest with multiple intelligences, i cannot match the dexterity and sweet swiftness of the hands and hearts of Inay’s caregivers. ed and i volunteered to be the night shift last night for Inay. as i listened to the instructions on how we would provide Inay the care she needs, i realized that caregiving for geriatrics diabetics is a challenge. first is monitoring all the major signs – blood sugar, blood pressure, urine and stool output, state of pain, smell of gangrene, spread of infection – black as coal, etcetera. then we had to follow the pharmacy protocols. taking tests before and after meals, setting up the intravenous drips, giving the oral medicines, making sure that all the major medicines are taken and results noted. but the most difficult was making Inay eat, open her mouth,chew and swallow her food while she is in the middle of a fight against infection. ed and i tried all kinds of waking her, getting Inay to finish one banana, coaching her to drink and take 20 food supplements. everytime Inay would close her mouth and eyes, we would try to wake her and beat the clock feeding her because her blood sugar would be taken in four episodes. as we fed her, one of us would have to hold her two hands so that she doesnt scratch her infected foot nor take the bandage off and then lift her other leg so that it doesnt put pressure on the infected foot. the moment she rolls around the bed(with her other hand taking the IV drips), we have to unroll her and get all the beddings in place. now the plot thickens when Inay’s blood sugar and blood pressure goes high like a roller coaster ride. ed and i didnt know how to take her blood sugar and it was hospital policy that if we use our own blood sugar set, we should administer it ourselves. well, ed and i had to get the nurse to do it for us and paid the pharmacy for the set. how i wished jayzel, her caregiver was present to do it!

when the night shift midwife Sheile came, i took my breath and thought, ahh we can then go to sleep. but that was precisely what we couldnt do. Sheile told me that we should help monitor any change in Inay’s behavior .since she was making the rounds, she could only run to our aid if we call her. so i calculated how much intravenous fluids Inay is taking and how many urine output she will have for the evening. i asked Sheila to change her diaper at 5 am. when we opened the diaper, Inay was clean. so Sheila said we could give her a sponge bath to start the day fresh. as we were washing her, her fluids gushed forth and the whole bed was soaked. but i was amazed at how fast and tender Sheila’s response. Sheila’s feat was a performance, better than a chambermaid. i told ed that in hotels i marvelled at how they change bedsheets but in the hospital and a patient on top of the bed, the whole bedsheets change takes on a dance. imagine ripping wet beddings with a sleeping woman on top, coaching her to move her body so we could wipe and clean her plus dry the bed. everything that Sheila did, she did in ten minutes! and Inay was clean, fresh and smelling good in that ten minutes. that was something Ed nor I couldnt do with Inay. all the lifelong learning we got, this care giving competence is on top of my list.

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