I keep replaying two work moments over and over in my head.
1. I was caring for an elderly woman who had a wound that needed daily dressing changes. The dressing changes were a little complex and she told me that her daughter was doing them. "That's nice," I thought. Later, I walked in and there was a younger woman in there wearing a tube top and daisy dukes. Her hair was ratted up about 6 inches and she had multiple facial piercings. I immediately thought that if this was her daughter, there was no way she was stable (or capable) enough to do these dressing changes and that I was going to have to set up home health to come and do it. In talking with them, I came to see that she was actually very involved in her mother's care and performed the dressing change with a practiced and caring hand.
2. I got report that I was going to get a new patient from the OR. He was a 20 year old male with his jaw wired shut after getting it broken in a fight. He came up by himself and he was what I imagine your typical gangster from South Tucson would look like- old English tattoos, tattoos of naked women, tattoos of guns, miscellaneous scars, etc. He was polite to me and said thank you when I showed him how to suction his mouth and how to order smoothies from the cafeteria. Pretty soon his visitors started showing up. For the next few hours, there was a steady stream of hermanos, tias, sobrinitos, primos, y dos abuelas. The unit clerk asked me if he was really sick and that's why everyone was coming to see him, and I said no, he'd be going home tomorrow.
Prior to getting this job, I was inclined to think that having strong family ties was a good way to make sure that my kids didn't end up wearing tube tops and getting facial piercings, or getting tattoos of naked women on their back (oh I forgot he also had multiple tattoos of kisses on his face). I guess not. And if they do, it doesn't mean that I should love them any less.