Nurse Bitterpill

Nurse Bitterpill’s Alzheimer’s blog: Alzheimer’s Quote Of The Night

My alter-ego is the sarcastic, yet big-hearted, old nurse Agnes Bitterpill. She reports the hilarious and absurd moments that nurses often see from within of the world of medicine. Especially within the modern world of corporate medicine. She heals as much with hugs as she does with pills and procedures.

Sometimes she is referred to as the Patch Adams of nurses.

Nurse Bitterpill on Twitter

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Margaret Houlihan is one of the reasons I became a nurse.

Humor + Medicine = Healing. A patient is a person, not a disease. And people need to laugh. Also, M*A*S*H* happens to be my favorite TV show.

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This is the purpose of The Alzheimer’s Quote of the Night blog. And why Nurse Bitterpill is important to me.

My name is Amy. I am a nurse. I work the night shift on an Alzheimer’s & Dementia unit. Describing my job is often difficult because what I do changes from moment to moment. Most days I am like a sheep dog, keeping the flock safe from themselves and the occasional rogue wheelchair bandit. Some days I am like a cat herder, trying to organize the chaos knowing it’s futile. Other days I become what I call a therapeutic liar (or more aptly, a curator of make-believe). And then there are the occasional days that I am a superhero-like ninja warrior saving little old ladies from total disaster. My job is never dull. I embrace every unpredictable moment of it.

I have always wanted to be a writer. When I found myself in nursing school writing papers for my English class, that passion was reignited. But it really wasn’t until I started working behind the locked doors of a Dementia unit that I was truly inspired to put my words to paper, or computer as the case may be, in a non-fiction way. These beautiful souls are a constant source of inspiration for me. My army of muses that never cease to amaze me with their stories, actions, and words. They have brought me out of my insecure shell about writing the truth I see in people, allowing me to do two things I absolutely love: heal people, and write about healing people.

It is my privilege to provide love and care to these members of society that are often seen as heartbreaking, tragic. I listen to their stories, learn from their lives. Sometimes the stories don’t make any sense. But if you really listen, they are telling you who they are, who they once were, and who they still strive to become. Even gibberish can tell a powerful story. This blog is a glimpse of life inside what is commonly referred to as the ‘lockdown unit’.

The Alzheimer’s Quote of the Night began two years ago as a way for me to shine some light onto the demented world that I live in every night. People kept asking what it was like to work with such folks. So I began posting quotes from my patients, some beautiful, some strange, to my personal sites. The response was amazing and encouraging, prompting me to start this blog.

My goal is to bring humor and fun into the lives of the people I care for.

In that respect, I also aim to bring that humor and lightheartedness to the brave, often unwitting souls who act as caregivers and family members to those afflicted with Alzheimer’s and many other forms of Dementia. Humor has always been my favorite form of medicine. I firmly believe that the reason my patients relate so effortlessly to me is because I put them at ease by employing humor, dance, music, and a constant smile into my care. Treating each patient as a human not a disease.

These are their words. They are the stars of this story.

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