Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving. It gives me a legitimate reason to eat a whole can of cranberry sauce. Plus my Mom makes this fabulous stuffing. This year is a particularly sad one because two of my closest friends have cancer. I have offered to help take care of them and use some of my well practiced nursing skills, but I think that pride gets in the way. And some families have a really great support system in place.
I hadn't planned on cooking this year, but my cousin (who believes that he is dying of what he calls "tooth cancer") and his sister (who happens to be my very favorite cousin in the world) were not going to have any holiday at all. So I made them a little Thanksgiving dinner. Then my daughter and I went over to give it to them and spend a little time chit chatting. It was like being little again. Hanging out with him and his sister, I can think of about a million nursing diagnoses.
His sister has a little drug problem, but she considers herself to be a functional addict. This means that she can use drugs without letting it get in the way of her life. She has three jobs, two legitimate jobs and one job in the sex industry. It is often times quite interesting to hear of her adventures, but then it is a little frightening because she can get herself into life threatening tangles. She also has a daughter who has been exposed to God knows what. This is not a typical kid. As I was talking with and watching my cousin enjoy the small meal I cooked him, I overheard the kids playing. I am a little cautious of my daughter because I like to shield her from things that she does not have the maturity to understand. They weren't playing with toys, (because she didn't have any), they were playing clean the house. Seeing them together reminded me of how me and my cousin used to play together when we were kids. It is so sad that things have changed and now I don't even feel comfortable leaving my purse around her unattended, even though she assured me that she would rather "sell her ass" rather than steal from me. I have no idea where she is in her cycle of addiction.
My male cousin told me that he has cancer. He has also been a closet homosexual for many years. The interesting thing is that he seems to think that we don't know that he is gay, but he still pretends that he his straight and ultra feminine guy. I can't help but do a mini assessment whenever I am around him. He has issues with skin integrity. He also has altered body image. He suffers from depression and spends most of his day in the bed. His bed has no sheets. He sleeps on top of a sheet on top of a mattress. He has a pillow that has a black and white striped shirt as a pillow case. He wears a scarf around his head and a ski hat that ties under his chin on top of that. He has poor nutrition, so he is emaciated and thin.
He is a pathological liar, has been forever, but he and his sister are some of the most fun people to be around...sometimes. The amazing thing is when I talk to him about his sickness, his details are sketchy and they don't make sense. I wish he would go ahead and admit that he has HIV/AIDS so that we can protect him from getting sicker. For example, he was staying with his sister and she didn't keep the tub clean. He had recently had surgery and he submerged himself into a tub of water. He had a raging infection that broke out into his bloodstream and nearly killed him. He told me that he had cancer of the teeth, that broke into his bloodstream and settled in his kidney. He has never had chemo or radiation. He hides his prescriptions from me. I have decided to step away from the situation, respect his privacy and let him tell me what he wants to when he is ready. That is the best way to handle this situation. I've found that he and his sister take my kindness for weakness, so I have to pace myself a little bit. Additionally, their appreciation has turned into expectation.
After I hung out with them for a while, I went out to visit some of my other family members. I went over to my other friend who has cancer and spent some time with her and her family. She is the exact opposite of my cousins. She has breast cancer, and she has lost her hair, but she has her hair cut in a cute little style. Her family is so beautiful and so supportive of her. She did have edema to the left lower extremity, due to an alteration in peripheral vascular perfusion, but I noticed that she always kept her foot elevated. She ambulates with a walker and she cooked the entire Thanksgiving meal. Amazing! It was hard to come up with nursing diagnoses for her because she is so well taken care of by her family. Not to say that my family wouldn't take care of my cousins, but they have manipulated and burned people in our family that people don't want to get involved. My father has dissuaded my involvement in his problems, but someone has to help out. After my little hiatus, I don't know if I can go back over there and fool with them. I think I still want to get my cousin some sheets on his bed so that he won't have additional problems with skin integrity.
While I was with my family, we watched Madagascar. That movie is so cute, and funny! I didn't know that AliG was the voice of the king of the lemurs. He was really good. There was an message in this movie and I am trying to figure out what it is. The one that is most obvious to me is that all the characters of the movie were in the zoo, and that in the wild they would more than likely be food to the lion. But the lion was able to find alternative ways to deal with his natural carnivorous urges. The friendship between the group of animals was stronger than his hunger, but let's just keep it real. If it was the discovery channel, that zebra would have got his butt chomped!
Alright, I can't really think of anything else to write about so I will go back to eating cake and watching movies.