You’ll Always Be His Peanut

, , , , , , | Related | August 19, 2020

Growing up, my paternal grandpa is my best friend. My parents like to tell the story that we were linked the second he held me in his arms; he saw my tiny face with my little peanut nose, and from that moment on, he only ever called me Peanut… unless I was in trouble, of course. 

My grandpa put me on my first horse, and he taught me how to change my oil and check my tire pressure, bait a hook and catch a fish, and shoot a BB gun — much to my parents’ disdain. He was at every softball game and every musical, choir, and band performance I had. He was my biggest fan, always encouraging me to go the extra mile and celebrating every step of the way.

I’m in my mid-thirties now and he’s nearing ninety. His health has been declining for several years now, but this year, 2020, has been especially rough. He often gets confused, thinking my dad is his brother or thinking it’s the 1990s and that we need to get ready for the big snowstorm coming in.

I go home one day in June for the first time since the health crisis began and see that his home care nurse is there. My grandma is in the kitchen with my parents, waiting for the nurse to finish dressing him so he can sit in the living room.

I stand in the doorway, not sure if I am really up for seeing my grandpa in such a dissociative state; my mental health has really taken a hit with everything going on and, standing in the doorway, I debate if coming home was a good idea.

The bedroom door opens and Grandpa comes out with his walker, focusing on the floor.

Nurse: “That’s it, [Grandpa], one step at a time. Don’t you feel better now?”

My grandpa speaks in a tone that shows he doesn’t mean it.

Grandpa: “Uh-huh…”

The nurse looks up at the table.

Nurse: “Oh, you have company! Who’s here today?”

Grandpa: “Um…”

He looks from my mom to my grandma, confused.

Nurse: “It’s okay; take your time. Who do you see?”

My grandpa looks to my dad.

Grandpa: “I see [My Uncle].”

Nurse: “Well, they do look alike but I think that’s [My Dad].”

Grandpa: “Okay.”

Nurse: “Who else? Who is that by the door?”

Grandpa looks at me for a second or two and then smiles.

Grandpa: “Hi, Peanut!”

Me: *Trying not to cry* “Hi, Grandpa.”

I haven’t seen him much these past few months, but I’m hoping to be able to go home and see him again soon.


This story is part of our feel-good roundup for August 2020!

Read the next feel-good story here!

Read the feel-good August 2020 roundup!

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Doctors Need To Have Patience With The Patients

, , | Healthy | January 12, 2018

(I am a student in a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program doing rotations in a nursing home shadowing a CNA working there. This patient is not part of our assigned rooms but is screaming for help. I ignore it at first, as I’m literally surrounded by medical professionals and figure her CNA or nurse will be in soon. Instead it carries on.)

Me: “Shouldn’t we check in on her?”

CNA: “She’s not ours, and she’s always like this. She just wants attention.”

Me: “Okay.”

(Ten minutes later, she is still screaming for help. Nobody is paying attention, and my CNA goes to do something without me. So since I have a 15-minute break without anyone to shadow, I decide to check on the woman. If she just wants attention, no harm done, I can talk a few minutes.)

Me: “Hi, I’m a student. Can I help?”

Patient: “My stomach.”

Me: *picks up chart* “How does your stomach feel?” *I look at the page detailing all she has ate and drank and any output, or waste, that day, thinking it’s an upset stomach*

Patient: “It’s exploding.”

Me: “That’s awful.”

(Then I notice she’s on a catheter, but no urine output has been recorded on her otherwise detailed chart. I look at her cath bag, and there is no urine in it. For those who don’t know much about caths there is always something. The body is constantly producing urine, and with a cath it drains straight off. This seems dangerous to me.)

Me: “I’m going to get you some help.”

(To the nurse at the station.)

Me: “The patient who has been screaming, I just checked in with her.”

Nurse: “She wants attention. Ignore it.”

(I find my teacher.)

Me: “This patient isn’t mine, but she’s been screaming. I keep getting told she’s attention seeking, but she has a cath and no output.”

Teacher: “I’ll check her.”

(I go about my day, and right before the students meet with the teacher for end of the day, I check in with the patient and she starts crying and thanking me profusely, saying nobody else listens, and I helped, and now she is ok. I note there is urine output in the bag. I go on to meet my class, and my teacher starts our reporting. As her final note:)

Teacher: “Oh, and [My Name] saved a woman’s life today!”

Me: “I did?”

Teacher: “Her catheter was misplaced. She had no urine output. You noticed while everyone else ignored her. When I placed her catheter correctly, the bag overflowed. Her bladder was close to bursting, which could have been serious or even killed her. Let this be a lesson, class: don’t ignore a patient just because they aren’t yours or want attention.”

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That’s A Whole Lotta Worship

, , , , , | Working | December 25, 2017

(I’m a minister. I work as a chaplain in a nursing home. It’s four days before Christmas and I’m halfway through about a 60-hour week.)

Coworker: *eyes wide, huge smile* “Are you READY for CHRISTMAS?!”

Me: *gentle chuckle* “Well, that depends on what you mean by Christmas.”

Coworker: “Are you READY to CELEBRATE the birth of our LORD AND SAVIOR?!”

Me: “Well, I’m ready to lead eight worship services in two days.” *I work at several nursing homes*

Coworker: “…oh.”

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Your Boss Can Be A Real Swine

, , , , | Healthy | October 25, 2017

(I call in to my job as a certified nursing assistant at a nursing home. It is 2009.)

Me: “Hey, I can’t come in today because I have a fever of 104 and other flu symptoms.”

Nurse #1: “I can’t let you call in unless you come here and have a nurse take your temperature.”

Me: “What? I live 15 miles away. My fever is really high and I have really bad cold chills.”

Nurse #1: “You’ll probably get fired if you don’t come and let us take your temperature.”

(I drive the 15 miles to let them take my temperature. At this point, I’m almost hallucinating from the fever.)

Nurse #1: “Oh, your fever is 105 now.” *to other nurse* “Should she go home? We are kind of short today.”

Nurse #2: “I don’t know. She could probably work.”

(I then collapse onto the chair, barely hearing them in a fever haze.)

Nurse #1: “Well, maybe she should go home?”

Nurse #2: “I guess so.” *to me* “You can go home, I guess. But get a doctor’s note.”

(I then drove home, barely coherent. After going to the doctor I found out that I had SWINE FLU, or H1N1. And they wanted me to come to work, endangering both myself and the elderly residents! I quit a few months later.)

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So Happy To See You, He Fried

, , , | Related | August 29, 2017

(I am about eight or nine when my great grandpa’s old age starts to frequently make him sick and weak, leaving my poor grandma with no choice but to put him in a home. One weekend, my dad decides to take me with him on one of his visits, since old people love small children, and I am the oldest [and least hyperactive] of my siblings. When we get into town, we stop at a grocery store to pick up something to snack on during our visit and maybe get something for Great Grandpa as well. I am kinda hungry and immediately see something I want. Experience, however, tells me that simply asking for such things usually ends in failure, so I decide to try a different approach.)

Me: “I think Great Grandpa would like fried chicken.”

Dad: *surprised* “Why do you say that?”

Me: “Because fried chicken is super tasty, and people say hospital food is not ,and that’s bad when you’re sick and trying to get better. So, we should get him something tasty so that he’ll feel better in both his body and his tummy.”

(My dad looks at me funny for a moment before he starts laughing. My silly plan works and we leave the store with a 10-piece bucket of chicken. When we get to Great Grandpa’s room, the elderly man’s face immediately changes, from spaced and a little sad, to a weak form of joy the moment he sees us. I gently climb onto his bed and give him a hug.)

Dad: “Hey, Grandpa, we’re here. Have you eaten yet? [My Name] thought you’d like some fried chicken, so we brought some for everyone to share.”

Great Grandpa: “Oh, that looks good. I’m very hungry.”

(We sit and munch on chicken for a bit, while Dad talks about the goings-on of the outside world. About ten minutes later, a caregiver comes in to check up on everything and see if she is needed. She pauses for a moment.)

Caregiver: “Mr. [Great Grandpa], what is that?”

Great Grandpa: “My great granddaughter brought me fried chicken.”

Caregiver: “How are you still hungry? You just ate less than an hour ago.”

Great Grandpa: “Because fried chicken is tasty and your food is not.”

(My dad lost it at that point and almost fell out of his chair laughing. Sadly, that was the last time I got to see Great Grandpa before he died. To this day, my dad still loves this story. It’s one of the last happy memories he got to make with his grandpa, and he loves to occasionally tell it at gatherings. And to think, it wouldn’t have happened if some sneaky little girl hadn’t been craving chicken.)

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