I drove down to visit my dad today. He's home from the hospital and is getting around okay so far, by which I mean he goes around with his walker about one room length before he tuckers out. His spouse religiously feeds him his Ensure and gives him his meds and wipes everything down with antibacterial wipes and empties his urinal and stuff like that. But I surveyed the situation and made him more comfortable. We made our way to the bathroom. I jury-rigged a shower/bath setup where he could hang on to a bar safely, gave him a shower, put him in clean jammies and socks, and helped him brush his teeth and then put him back to his spot on the couch with his horribly swollen feet up on pillows. He hadn't had a shower in a week and a half barring the bed baths I gave him last week in the hospital. My coworkers have always made fun of me because I get all old-school on having my patients clean. I used to say, "At a minimum, I want my patients breathing, not falling, and clean." You feel better when you're clean. Florence Nightengale said so, so it must be true. In the ER I have had to let that go (even there, I can be found spending an unnecessary effort on scrubbing dried blood off unconscious people), but on the floor and when I was a CNA I had the cleanest patients ever. I think I scared them into it.
If I weren't a nurse, I wouldn't be able to help take care of my dad in an expert fashion or even probably see what he needed. This is really the crux of nursing to me...helping people deal with disease. I'm good at it. I noticed it and I think my dad was impressed. It's good to be a nurse and be able to use those skills to help someone I love. I never would have aspired to use my skills to scrub down my naked emaciated father because he is too weak to begin to do it himself, but seeing as how I have the skills I'm grateful for them. No medication would have made him feel better than that shower right then---I'm convinced.