Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Milton Flip

Okay, so I started Certified Nursing Assistant training this week. I'm taking it at a small, homey trade school with a fantastic success rate, run by an "I'm everybody's grandma" type woman who used to be a tester for the certification board so she clearly knows what she's doing.

The school is housed in a former cheap motel that has been converted to offices and is decorated in Middle America I Shop At Wal-Mart And Believe That Scented Candles And Tabletop Fountains Are The Height Of Home Decor. Seriously, you walk in the door and --I'm so not making this up -- there is a scented candle AND a tabletop fountain going in EVERY ROOM. Including both bathrooms. Incidentally, there is a Wal-Mart literally across the street.

We started right in with the pleasantries: Hi how are you, here's your packet, watch this industrial film about The Role Of The Certified Nursing Assistant ("Not Just A Glorified Lackey, But Also One Who Makes 25 Cents an Hour More Than An Uncertified Nursing Assistant"), and then let's learn peri-care on this (also not making this up but wish I was) anatomically correct mannequin.

Peri-care, for those of you fortunate enough not to know, means perineal care. Perineal means "extremely personal private regions south of your belt buckle." The east 40 and the west 40. The whole damn enchilada. Or taquito.

(Disclaimer: Now, I'm writing this from the part of me that is still reeling from having to think about cleaning anyone's goodies but my own, and of course the baby's. The higher-functioning, future-nurse part of my brain has already moved on to more sensible ways of thinking, along the lines of, it's all just anatomy, input/output, part of the patient, needs to be dealt with discreetly and compassionately, etc. etc. But that junior-high eeeeeeuw! corner of my inner self is writing this currently, so rest assured that I will not betray or acknowledge any part of this as the nurse I will become. Honestly, I was in the hospital for 48 hours and gave birth in front of other people, some of them total strangers, and then sat there joking with the person who sewed up the damages, so this is really not a big deal. Except that I must bring it to you, my faithful reader(s), in shocking detail, for full dramatic and humorous effect. /End Disclaimer)

So, after introductions were made and the recent yet gloriously dated film was watched, we trooped down the hall and a very pretty, very fashionable, very young woman demonstrated peri-care on the aforementioned mannequin. Between the homey-yet-stagey setting and the harsh lighting, I felt as if someone would be coming by later after closing, perhaps to film some amateur porn. We were introduced to the mannequin "Billy" and shown how to give Billy's junk a bit of a wash. Yeah. Junk. Junk that can be swapped out for male junk with a mere riiiiip of velcro. Voila! Billy becomes Bill! Whichever bit of junk not in use is stored in a handy compartment in the abdomen.

Did I mention that the class that started on Monday consisted of me and two men? Uh-huh. Um, yay?

One of those men is a really nice guy who is a very young father of six with no. 7 on the way. I like him and he's smart and polite and clearly got his head on straight, other than evidently not fully understanding where babies come from.

The other man? That would be Milton.

If you are familiar with the actor Jerry Van Dyke, you may understand this reference: if Luther Van Damme went to CNA school, he'd be Milton.

Yeah, that peri-care thing? Should have taken each of us, with coaching from the instructor and the usual studently ineptitude and dumb questions, around ten minutes. Milton volunteered to be first and half an hour later he finally managed to complete the task and let the next person give it a shot. The real sticking point had to do with how to fold a washrag into a sort of a mitt on your hand and thereby create several surfaces that can each be used once on an area. Then part of the mitt is flipped over your (latex-gloved) fingers to expose a new clean area. This flip part, really more of a pulling-over, became a total ordeal. I thought the instructor was either going to throw down her clipboard and take up strong drink or else start looking around for hidden cameras. You'd have thought Milton was reviewing a complicated brain-surgery technique from the excruciating and repetitive detail he went into to try to master this skill. I am pretty sure the dummy was about to lunge off the bed and strangle him with his/her stiff, rubbery hands if he'd gone on much longer about it.

So now when I'm practicing any kind of washing skill (peri- or otherwise) I secretly call it "the Milton Flip" when I pull the washrag-mitt over my fingers to expose a clean surface.

1 comment:

yellojkt said...

My wife had a nursing student help with her delivery. He was 6 feet tall and had a full beard. Not the stereotypical delivery room nurse.