Paul's Passing Thoughts

Free Writing Notes: “How Nurse Aides Save the World”

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on April 1, 2023
Projected Release: August 2023

How Nurse Aides Save the World

    The Fox News TV personality, Jesse Watters, uses an exaggerated expression of self confidence as a trademark much like the late conservative pundit, Rush Limbaugh. Accordingly, Watters wrote a book titled, How I saved The World.  No one really believes he saved the world; but the use of this shtick adds humor to serious truth and creates interest through curiosity. How in the world does Watters think he saved the world? How will he make this absurd notion fit with the points he wants to make in the book?

    Regarding nurse aides, it’s not a shtick—it’s reality, and that’s what this chapter is about. This reality begins with examining the notion of, “quality of life.” If life has degrees of “quality,” life also has degrees or levels of value. This is because quality determines value. Work is virtuous, even when it pays minimum wage. We wouldn’t want to determine the virtue or value of work based on wages; work is virtuous, and valuable, in, and of itself. The belief that there is a “quality of life” is a slippery slope; who then determines what defines “quality”? It’s subjective, and is an opinion that varies greatly among people.  

    Here is how nurse aides save the world: they believe life has value, in, and of itself. They believe life value is multifaceted; life always has value, and it is a value that is defined in many different ways without a hierarchy of value. Likewise, there are many different types of work, but work is always valuable. A quality-of-life mentality will always be equal to quality of care, and that is antithetical to an equitable ideology of care. “Quality of life” is a term we hear often in healthcare culture, and that’s a huge problem. The term has no rightful place in healthcare; it is wrongheaded, and antithetical to compassion. Be not deceived, in all cases, a value placed on life will always determine the quality of care and how care is delivered. And furthermore, quality is also closely related to purpose, and this is where things can become very dark.

    Though a historical cliché, Nazism during World War II is the best example for the point being made here. The basic ideology of the Adolf Hitler regime married life value, or quality, with purpose. In other words, life value was determined by one’s ability to fulfil the purpose for living. In this case, the sole purpose of every individual living under the Nazi regime was support and contribution to the state. A person’s value was determined by their ability to contribute to the state.

    The ideology of collectivism is similar: one’s life value is determined by their ability to “contribute to the group.” Along the same lines, Altruism, the idea that levels of virtue are defined by the degree that you sacrifice yourself for others, is a pseudo-goodness. Altruism is a naive support for collectivism, which defines life value according to one’s ability to contribute to something else. Hence, as history testifies, during the Nazi rein in Germany, the feeble, mentally ill, and handicapped were exterminated. Again, the idea that life has degrees of quality and value is a slippery slope that must be rejected. What constitutes a quality of life is an open question that can only be answered with subjectivism. Worse yet, invariably, the wrong people become the judges for what constitutes a quality life. In addition, the open question of life value is almost always determined by monetary and collectivist ideas. This is because the idea of life quality was given birth by these ideologies. Here is something else to remember: history teaches us that ruling elitist minorities never live by collectivist ideology; these ideologies are always relegated to the lesser classes in caste systems created by these philosophies.

    Life, as valuable, in, and of itself, is intuitive, or as the founders of Americanism liked to say, “self-evident.” An example is the many Hollywood movies, such as Soylent Green and Logan’s Run that depict the possible outcomes of labeling life according to quality. An additional thought includes the fact that NASA spends billions every year collecting rocks from other planets in search for life in any form they might find. Life must be very important.

    But, what about end-of-life suffering? What about extreme suffering in general? Thankfully, in our day, we have drugs and other therapies that can alleviate pain. But again, the question of suffering is also a very slippery slope. How slippery? Abortion is often advocated to prevent the assumed future suffering of an unwanted child. That’s how presumptuous and subjective things can get. Not only that, suffering can come to be defined as one less brewery in the world or one less rock and roll band. According to an article on Salon .com, music superstar Stevie Nicks stated that there wouldn’t be a Fleetwood Mac (the band she sings for) if she hadn’t had an abortion in 1979. In the same article, another woman stated that she wouldn’t have been able to open a brewery that she owns.[1] A rebuttal could be just as presumptuous because someone possibly growing up and finding a cure for cancer would be much more beneficial to humanity than a brewery or a rock and roll band. At any rate, the present-day arguments for abortion are a far cry from the original premise that argued for its legalization.  

    Due to the fact that a worldview of life is linked directly to the quality and compassion of care, nurse aides must avoid all ideological slippery slopes. What then, as part of the nurse aide state of being, should be our worldview concerning life? We must believe that all life has equal value, and that all individuals are worthy of our best efforts in delivering care.

    When a nurse aide exerts full efforts, as far as it is possible, in caring for an individual in the most hopeless and purposeless circumstances, that aide, is, in effect, defending the principle of life as valuable, in, and of itself. There is really no choice in the matter because anything less will always digress to the slippery slope and begin the inevitable downward slide to greater and lesser care for individuals on the same unit. No nurse aide worth their salt will accept this standard because care is based on need, and even though need varies from person to person, the true nurse aide will meet those needs to the best of their abilities. This is the nurse aide ideology and state of being: we do not judge quality of life, we assess need in the circumstances, whatever they are, and we meet that need to the best of our abilities.

    However, something else can be added here. Though so-called “quality of life” and needed care are mutually exclusive from an ideological point of view, one could argue that quality of life should be judged according to one’s level of happiness. Apparently, that’s how Jesus Christ assessed so-called quality of life in his eight beatitudes. Each one begins with, literally, “Happy are you…” when or if certain things occur. Anyone who has worked any amount of time in a long-term care facility knows that many of the residents are, indeed, happy to various degrees, and they are happy regardless of being unable to contribute anything to anybody or any institution. But, this is not entirely true; they contribute to the livelihoods of aides, nurses, and administrators. In essence, they are employers, and are paying our wages with their past industries. This is even true of many who suffer the affliction of dementia or Alzheimer’s, they are not only happy in their own world as it is (remember, for them, perception is their reality), but they are our employers, and employers are important people. In light of this, who are we to judge their so-called quality of life, which may lead to a diminishing of care that is due to them?

    There is something else we can consider. Experience tells us that people often compensate for lesser elements in their life by extracting more happiness from whatever is left. How caregivers can add elements back into their lives will be discussed in another chapter, but for now we will meet Joe (not his real name), also known as “Milkshake Man” (not the real food either) in a long-term care facility located somewhere in the United States. Joe has dementia, is a paraplegic, and enjoys watching cable TV. He also has an extreme likeness for milkshakes. Every Friday evening after dinner, an aide travels to UDF and buys Joe his favorite handmade milkshake. When the shake is delivered to Joe, it is a celebration enjoyed by everyone working on that unit. Joe enjoys his life. Also, Joe brings joy to those who care for him. Who are we to judge the quality of his life? That’s not our venue, our venue is to meet care needs.

    There is yet something else to consider. Some residents are not happy, but they are not ready to die for various reasons. Regardless of their condition, which may be severe, they do not want to die, and that is their right. Again, at least for those reading this in the United States, one way or the other, through taxes or direct funds, or both, they have paid to have their needs met. In addition, the United States Constitution establishes the right of every citizen to life and liberty.

    There is an old Jewish proverb that states the following: “He who saves one life, saves the world.” What does it mean? It means the following; if you don’t value individual life, you don’t really value any life. If one life is expendable, all lives are expendable. Collectivism is the ideology behind every mass grave known by God upon the earth. The purpose of life goes far beyond the ability to contribute to “the group,” or “the greater good,” or the state. And if you are a nurse aide, don’t fool yourself; if you will compromise care and compassion for one patient because they “aren’t going to get better” or “They are actively dying,” you will eventually compromise everyone you care for, and your lack of compassion will be plenary.

    Because a true nurse aide has the right worldview of life, that nurse aide is a defender and advocate for life, and in this way, contributes to the saving of the world.      

[1] Stine, A. (2022, July 4). Stevie Nicks’ abortion and the freedom to choose you.

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