Hello Friends and Family!
It has been a very long journey so far and so much has happened!
Firstly, some sad news: Sor Isabel passed away November 23, 2012. She wasn’t as elderly as some of the other sisters of the house, but she was very sick. We all still miss her but I am sure she has found peace in Heaven with our Lord.
Better news: The sisters who had been hospitalized due to accidents are all better now (or as best as they can be). They are walking with the help of walkers and seem to be pretty much back to normal. Everyone in the house seems to be content at the moment, so I am very happy for that. We also had two new additions to our family here at Los Rosales: Sor Aura and Sor Elisa. Sor Elisa is younger, she is here to help in any way she can, (very much like me!) and Sor Aura is from the Provincial House and is here to keep company with the many other lovely sisters at the house!
The Holidays went smoothly here. I, of course, had to work, but I didn’t want to be anywhere but the house during the Holidays, so that worked out fine by me. My mother also came to visit me and I am sure she had a wonderful time learning Quito and spending time with the madrecitas!
During the Holidays, I also made Rosary videos for the sisters here. They had one already, but it lacked graphics for each prayer. They really wanted a changing graphic for each prayer to be able to keep the attention on prayer time for the elderly sisters. I pulled hundreds and hundreds of images from the internet to put together a video for them to use with the audio that Sor Teresa (the director of the house) gave me. I had to cut and edit everything, even the audio! It was quite an experience! I am very happy to say they all loved them! I created four, 30 minute videos for each rosary, as well as four without the opening prayers, in case they wanted to use them all together and didn’t want to listen to the opening prayer four times.
I have completed many projects here and have a few still on my plate. The first one was organizing the clinic. That was very successful. It took a lot of time going through all of the medications and sorting them, finding out what they were for, checking the expiration dates… I also had to translate many medical terms and conditions because all of my research was, of course, done in English. I was able to organize all the medicine and equipment though, successfully labeling everything in Spanish. I am very pleased to say that our clinic is very much “up and running”!
My second project was to make folders and forms. There were few choices in terms of what I had to work with in the clinic already, but more on that later. I was successful in making forms for vital signs, medicine logs, administration of medications, as well as hourly time logs stating when certain medicines had to be given to certain patients. All of the forms were to make it easier in documenting the sister’s (patient’s) medical history and as a way of communicating between the nurses of various shifts. Sometimes we are all so busy (the nurses) that we don’t run into each other enough to explain what has or hasn’t been done. These forms and logs make it very easy to see what else needs to be done, in terms of medications or treatments. You can see how it could be dangerous when an elderly patient,with impaired memory, may not remember if the morning nurse gave the medication for the day or not. For this reason, I have started the habit among all of the nurses to write anything they wish to communicate with the others in the correct folder. Everything has been running very smoothly! I also wanted to start the forms and logs for the doctors as well. Many sisters visit doctors, or doctors will visit here, and it is much easier if the sister can bring her folder, with all the medications and logs of problems she’s been having (or even if she missed a dosage) with her to the physician to treat her. It comes in especially handy when the sister may not remember everything to explain to the doctor as well.
As I stated before, my choices were few in terms of organizing the information into acceptable folders. My next project is to update the folders and organizing system we are using. As of right now, things are organized in a disorganized way. Having experience as a clinical assistant for four years, it is very difficult not to make this happen. I would like to get “special folders” that have brads to be able to hold and organize the information even more efficiently. I am working with the director in charge on making that happen.
Another future project is making a check up form. Currently, we (the nurses) are focused on the sick, very elderly sisters of the house. There are other sisters here who can still do little chores as well as activities of daily living on their own. Because they are so independent, they rarely see a doctor unless something is wrong. Also, because they are Salesian sisters, they rarely complain and just like to work hard! As a caretaker here, it is hard for me to see them not getting the adequate care they may need. I have compiled research already on check ups for the elderly so that we can do a check up on each sister once a month, or every other month. This way, the director of the house, as well as the other nurses can assess the physical, mental, and emotional status of all of the sisters, from minor problems and concerns, to whether or not medication is working properly for them. It will also make things like high blood pressure easier to detect before it is too late. I will need to form some sort of system for organizing this information in the clinic as well, but that of course will come later.
Finally, I would like to start an exercise program. One that can incorporate minor stretches and moves for the elderly sisters here. I would like to make an instruction book out of it as well (maybe even a CD for music too!) so that when I am gone, someone else can easily follow and keep it going. I think an exercise program, even a small one like the one I am planning, will really help improve the physical and mental clarity of the sisters involved.
I am very excited for these projects and can’t wait until they come together. I have even talked with a few sisters from the other houses, and they want me to send them copies of everything I create to be used in their houses as well. Maybe not just in Quito, but for most of Ecuador! In all of the houses there are one or two elderly sisters being cared for. So the forms really would come in handy for them too!
Well that about sums up what you’ve missed! I want to talk about my trip to Macas on it’s own, so be on the look out for that post!
Thank you for all of your support!