Home Health Nursing

Hosted by Erica Jolene with special guest Amelia Mohr, RN | Transcription HERE




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If you have ever been faced with the decision to consider home health nursing for a loved one, this is the episode for you! In this episode, I cover all the hard stuff with my special guest Amelia, who just happens to also be our home health nurse. Amelia has been with our family since we first opened the door to the idea of home health nursing. We discuss everything from how to navigate making that decision, what to expect in your first meeting with a nurse, what to expect when the nurse is hired, and important conversations to have with yourself, your family, and your nurse. It is so fascinating to get Amelia's perspective of what it is like to be a home health nurse for families with medically complex children. As I say in this episode, I really wish I had something like this, well, anything really, to help prepare me for this chapter of our lives. I am hopeful that this will help others who may be considering home health nursing for their own family.


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Episode Transcription


Erica

Hello, and welcome to Atypical Truth. This is a podcast community for those impacted by disabilities and complex medical conditions. I am your host, Erica Jolene. Today's guest is Amelia, who has been our home health nurse since the very beginning. Okay, well, she was the first one to come into our home when we finally decided to have h home health nursing. I don't know about you, but the decision to have a nurse come into our home was not an easy one for our family. What with all the therapists and social workers, we had more people rotating through our home than we had ever had before. My husband and I, we are both introverts at heart who can play the role of extroverts when necessary. So the idea of someone being in our home, our private little sanctuary, it had us both feeling very nervous and on edge. So we put it off until we could put it off no longer, thanks to a second baby on the way. Thankfully, we got really lucky to meet Amelia and have her join our family. As you can hear in the episode, she is so calm, intelligent, caring, and just really easy to talk to. And to be honest, having someone in my house every other day, it was a huge and welcomed change in my life. Even if we were just talking about new crafts, video games, trashy TV shows, and true crime. Her presence helped me to feel less isolated and less lonely during a time when I was really struggling with those feelings. So without further adieu, I would like for you all to meet our friend, Amelia. Hi, Amelia!

Amelia

Hey, Erica!

Erica

Thank you for doing this with me.

Amelia

Not a problem. My pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Erica

I'm excited for our listeners to meet you. I definitely want to share you with the world. I want everyone to know about the people in our circle that have helped us get where we are today. I'm excited for them to hear from you.

Amelia

I'm excited too!

Erica

I'm just going to ask you a few quick questions to get to know you better.

Amelia

Okay.

Erica

What is your favorite smell?

Amelia

Favorite smell would be that smell right before it rains. The smell right after it rains is also top tier and I love it. But the smell right before it starts raining, I think, is the superior smell. And that would be my favorite.

Erica

(Laughing) The superior smell. (both parties begin laughing) Amelia, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Amelia

So when I was really little, anytime an adult or anybody would ask me, "what do you want to be we grow up?" my answer every single time was that I wanted to be a brown-haired blue-eyed horse. That is when I learned at a really young age that adults are lying when they say that you can be whatever you want when you grow up. But it is always funny looking back on it now because I can just see everybody's face whenever I would respond with that. And I was so serious too when I answered that. That was what I wanted to do. I could just see on everybody's face, they didn't have the heart to tell me that I couldn't do that. (laughter from both)

Erica

Oh my goodness. I don't know if I would have been able to tell you that you couldn't do that either. I had a period where I wanted to be a mermaid so badly. I really identified with Ariel from Little Mermaid because of the whole no voice theme and yeah, anyway, that's a layered subject for a later episode. After seeing the movie "Splash" with Tom Hanks and Darrell Hannah, I think.

Amelia

Yeah!

Erica

I was fully convinced that they were real and if anyone asked me what I wanted to be, where I wanted to go, my response would be "Cape Cod where the mermaids are because I need to be a mermaid." (Laughter from both) And then, at a certain age, I realized my grandparents lived close to Cape Cod and I was, I think disappointed is an understatement, that my parents knew this and didn't take me there. This was a willful decision on their end when they knew mermaids were right there.

Amelia

Yeah, I would be. Yeah, I would be furious if I was in that position.

Erica

In hindsight, I don't remember a single adult correcting me and telling me that this was not real. I hold on to the beliefs of things like that for very long, maybe, maybe an unusually long time.

Amelia

That's okay. It just keeps the imagination alive. And that's a good thing I think.

Erica

Look at us now, right?

Amelia

Exactly.

Erica

I am a mermaid, you're a brown horse. We got what we wanted. Right?

Amelia

It's perfect.

Erica

Amelia, do you have any pets?

Amelia

Oh, yes. I have got a little rat terrier mix. His name is Leroy. He is eight years old and a handful. He is a bouncy boy.

Erica

(Laughing) A bouncy boy, I love that. (Both laughing)

Amelia

Yeah, he's bouncy and he's stubborn. (Laughing) But he's, he's super smart, though. I love him. And I've got four cats. I have Max and Bobby are my two older ones. My two newer ones are Lydia and Gregory, they're brother and sister from the same litter. They were strays outside and I brought them in. They are mine now. I claimed them.

Erica

Or did they claim you?

Amelia

A little of both. (laughter) I was putting food outside and they stuck around and now they're in my house.

Erica

If you feed them, they will come...

Amelia

Exactly.

Erica

Do you have a favorite meal?

Amelia

I'm a pasta person. But really anything with a lot of carbs and a lot of cheese. Like, if it is a meal that is super heavy and super-rich, I'm probably going to love it. So...(laughter)

Erica

What is your greatest fear?

Amelia

If we are going for more normal things, and we're not getting into like, existential topics, then I would say for sure, wasps. I have a phobia. It's pretty bad. But I've never been stung. That's always like the first question I get, "Well, have you ever been stung? No, I haven't because I run away." (both laughing)

Erica

...because I'm smart enough to stay away from those creatures that look like ants on steroids.

Amelia

Yeah, they're terrifying.

Erica

I feel like that is a fear that many people can relate to. What is your favorite thing to nerd out on?

Amelia

Um, well, you know that I love my pens. I have a lot of pens. I bring my fountain pen to do my charting every day. But beyond my pens, anything like craft-related. I do cross-stitch and crochet, things like that. Different types of yarn or whatever and learning new types of crafts and then I will find a new one to get hooked on and then I will just talk about that non-stop for forever. But that tends to be the common theme though, something was it's something crafty.

Erica

Ummhum We have that in common.

Amelia

Uh-huh.

Erica

Are you an early bird or a night owl?

Amelia

Definitely a night owl, for sure. If I don't have to be up really early for any reason, my body will very, very quickly revert back to staying up until dawn. It's, it's crazy. So I tend to switch back and forth.

Erica

What is one word that would most accurately describe you?

Amelia

Probably "curious". Both in that, I'm a little odd and also that my curiosity is like the thing that keeps me going. I am always wanting to learn new things about everything. I'm constantly just reading something, or watching a documentary, or looking into something new and falling down new rabbit holes, things I've never heard of it. I want to learn all the things that's that's my thing, and I love it.

Erica

What is one of the best pieces of advice that you've received so far?

Amelia

Honestly, probably to start meditating. Really, like it's really helped out. You know, I said I started it about in the past year or so and it's really helped to change just kind of my general outlook, and kind of slowed things down and made things more calm, and just kind of helps me be more mindful in my everyday interactions and activities and all that good stuff. So...

Erica

what is one thing that you're presently grateful for?

Amelia

Well, really everything. That's another thing that I also do besides the meditation is I've tried to incorporate, uh, just kind of a gratitude practice. So I will go every day, at the end of my day, write down things that happened today that I am grateful for, you know. It's when you start to think about those things, you realize that even if you had a crappy day, there were still some little good things that happened to you, even if it was something tiny. But if I had to pick, like a specific thing, like right now, I would say maybe just the relationships I have with the people that are close to me.

Erica

Yeah. Yeah. I've loved getting to know you better and just learn these wonderful bits of information about you. Some of them I knew, others really surprised me. not in a "OH MY", but more in a just like..."I should have known that". (laughter from both) What inspired you to become a nurse?

Amelia

Well, when I decided to go back to nursing school...I'll be honest and say that, you know, I've met some people who just felt this great calling to be a nurse, like, that's what they were supposed to be doing. That was not the case for me. Now, I'm glad I went that route. But that was not like this, you know, great calling that I had to be a nurse. At the time, I was working as a pharmacy technician, which I really enjoyed that job, but it had kind of reached a point where there was a kind of capped out and there wasn't really any room for advancement at all. And I was like, well, I really do enjoy this job, but I want to be able to, to grow a bit more. So then I started thinking, "Well, what do I want to do?" I landed on nursing, decided to go that route. Once I got into it and started learning things and started working after school is over, I found out, "Oh, wait, actually, I really like this." So I am glad that I ended up going that route and now that I've done it, and now that this is where I am, I feel like I chose, you know, the right path and that this is kind of where I'm supposed to be. It worked out well. So...

Erica

Good! And so, what compelled you to work in home health?

Amelia

I had originally worked in, you know, nursing homes, I did a little bit of doctor's office things. And, you know, I loved my patients. For me, and my personality, that sort of environment is not what is best suited for me. That's not to say, you know, I didn't enjoy my time there. And that I didn't learn things because I absolutely did, especially being a fresh nurse and not knowing exactly what you want to do yet. For me, I want to be able to have a connection with my patients beyond just here's the medicine, you know what I mean?

Erica

Yeah

Amelia

You know, some people really love to just go, go, go, go, go all the time. And that is great. And I, you know...

Erica

We need those people too...

Amelia

We need those people. And that's, that's not me though. I want to be able to focus my time and my attention on one person and do the best that I can with them and make sure that they know and that they feel that they are getting the care that they deserve. And nothing's being rushed.

Erica

Uh-huh...and we need those people too. I find it so interesting that when you talked about the things you are grateful for you mentioned relationships in your life. This makes a lot of sense, because, you know, you do get to form a more intimate relationship with your patient...

Amelia

Absolutely.

Erica

...In the home-health setting.

Amelia

Yes.

Erica

That clearly is a theme that resonates in your life.

Amelia

Yeah, that is a big deal for me in just every area of my life, I like to have actual connections with people.

Erica

What aspects of your job in-home health care or just in nursing in general, do you enjoy and look forward to?

Amelia

I mean, and it kind of comes back to that connection with people, but it is just the best sometimes when maybe somebody is really just super anxious about something that's going on. You know, they're in a new environment, they don't know what's going on. Maybe they've come to the doctor's office and they are just super nervous because they don't know what's gonna happen, what the doctor is gonna say. And when you can go in, just be kind to somebody, go out of your way maybe just a little bit to do something, even just something small, make them smile and just tamp down that anxiety just a little bit so that just for a moment, they're they're feeling more comfortable with what's going on. And they know, at least somebody's got their back. That's probably my favorite

Erica

With that said, or should I say in opposition to that...What aspects of your job are difficult or challenging?

Amelia

I would say, the hardest part is the emotional labor. Not that I've worked in, you know, every sector or anything, but just in, in the places that I have worked, you get that to varying degrees, but it's always there. As you form these bonds with people, as you are trying to care for them the best that you can, you know, they're oftentimes going through some really difficult things that you're trying to, you know, be there for them. Sometimes, you just take on a bit of that emotional labor. And depending on the situation, there are points where it, it can get to be a little much, and sometimes you have to, you have to know yourself and kind of your own limitations as well, to be able to realize when you're getting emotionally overwhelmed, because if you're overwhelmed, then it makes it hard to take care of somebody else.

Erica

It does. So a common theme that I've heard from a lot of professionals in the medical field has been the frustration with the lack of support for those providing care. Like, who cares for the caregiver?

Amelia

Yes.

Erica

The lack of mental health support in the profession...

Amelia

Yes.

Erica

But also, so you work in home health, and you probably see that this is something I'm very frustrated with too, is the lack of accessibility for mental health care for the families.

Amelia

Absolutely.

Erica

So that is definitely a common theme that I've heard is this concept of there not being support for those in the profession and the caregivers as well.