Wednesday, August 31, 2011

In over my head

This has been a tough, tough week over at the GreatRep. We got a new admit, and he arrived under less-than-ideal circumstances; his daughter, the primary caregiver, was out of town. His wife brought him in and dropped him off, not wanting to visit because he'd been hurting her whenever she tried to toilet him. He had orders for meds, but had been refusing all of them.

So he comes from living at home with his wife to us, a decent-sized facility (around 65-70 beds) where we expect him to take his meds, use the toilet, and not hit us.

None of that happened. We quickly realized, after he had one of our charge nurses pinned up against the wall, choking her and lifting her off her feet, that he was going to require at least 3 people to change him out of his soiled clothes when he was incontinent.

In a hospital setting, or a psych ward, when a patient does something like that, you can medicate that person by any means necessary. In our assisted living facility, they must agree to take their meds orally (unless they have an order indicating otherwise, which this guy does not).

Things seemed to be calming down a bit after that, and he even cooperated with care in the evening one time, after the nurses began putting his evening meds in his desserts so he would actually take them in.

Then, randomly, on day shift, he punched a female caregiver in the face, and then in the back of the head when she tried to run away. Knocked her down, cut up the inside of her mouth from her teeth. She didn't quite black out and yelled for help, dragging herself to the door. It was awful. If I were in charge, that would have been the point where I'd have sent this guy on his merry way to the hospital with police there to assist the medics during pickup.

Instead, they updated his care plan to require and assist of 2+ people with all care and implemented more behavioral meds.

I was livid.

We had a meeting, and the DON was able to state her case and change our minds, even mine. I swear that woman is tricky as all get out. Plus she personally had been doing his care all day long by herself and will continue to do so, which gained her a lot of respect from the rest of us.

She laid out a specific, comprehensive plan to help him acclimate to our setting, and promised that we are NOT expected to stay in a situation where he'll hurt us, and if that means something doesn't get done, then so be it. I also understand that a gero-psych eval is not out of the question if we're not able to resolve the combativeness in our setting. Okay. Stressful, scary, unfortunate, but okay.

Then the bad news kept coming; another new(ish) resident of ours, "Linda" has a husband who lives independently but within walking distance of our facility. And he's telling anyone who'll listen that his plan is to come to our facility, shoot his wife, and then shoot himself.

This is about the time when I seriously considered just getting up from this meeting and going home.

Apparently Mr. Murderer may or may not be hospitalized right now, but of course he can go home, and then to our place, at any time. The good news is, he can't figure out how to use the keycode to enter the building, even though from the outside, the code is posted right above the keypad. So that gives us a grace period in which to see that he's the one knocking on the door trying to get in and call 911. Unless another visitor is being helpful and just lets him in.

Working in dementia, there's a certain amount of "I'm tough" attitude that comes with the territory - we deal with people who get combative for no good reason. That's just how it is. And usually the benefits outweigh the occasional injuries.

But this week has been so screwed up I didn't want to go back to that place. I don't want to be punched and knocked out, or choked, or shot. And I feel about 88% sure that I won't be. Which isn't really sure enough to make me happy about going to work again on Friday. Ugh.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Belated Day 10 - Sporty Spice

Day 10 - Do you play any sports?

I did so well on doing all the rest of these topics right on time, it's a bummer the last one can be answered in one word: nope.

I was the kid that always got smacked in the face with the volleyball in PE. I'm the adult who cannot toss keys to my husband without either winging them directly at his face or sending them four feet away from him. I just don't have that kind of coordination. Especially with any sort of throwing and catching. And those are kind of a sports mainstay.

The only sports I've ever played or liked were the ones that didn't work that way. In middle school, I did martial arts classes with my Dad. In high school, I ran track. I've always loved to swim, and started swimming laps and (almost never) going surfing as an adult. I still like to go running around the lake near my house. And do yoga. But I wouldn't call any of that playing a sport.

You know what sport I wish I could play? Football. I want to see what it's like to strap on all that padding and really, really tackle someone. I bet it's awesome. I think it would be really fun to go running around pretending to be Drew Brees and bragging about how quick I get the ball out of my hands when I'm in the pocket.

But in reality, I'm much more of a Marcia Brady than a Tom Brady.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Day 9 - things that make me go gray

9 - What's something that you worry about for the future?

This is embarrassing, but the idea of global warming makes me so scared I want to go hide in my bathtub with a blanket over me, as if it were a tornado. I know I already do pretty well on not making a gigantic carbon footprint (I'm vegan, drive a low-emissions car and don't travel much, live in a small apartment, walk to most of my errands because I live downtown, and will be taking the bus to and from school once I start classes, and buy most of my clothing secondhand). But it's never enough. If I think about it in depth, I get an overwhelming terrified feeling and get dizzy. That's dumb, I know.

The other thing I worry about often is whether I'll be bitter and burned out by the time I finally finish my prereqs and get to apply to nursing schools. My financial aid/tuition waiver has been reduced from up to 18 credits a quarter to down to 10. So I can take 2 classes a quarter for the next 3 quarters. Upside, this will make working full-time totally possible. Downside, I won't finish all the needed courses in three quarters. So I'll be working and going to school ... indefinitely. I like my job still, but I have days when I think "I'm so glad this isn't what I'm going to do with the rest of my life. I couldn't spend every day forever in here". Or days when I just want to hide from the sundowning residents that are yelling at me when I tell them they can't go home, because home isn't there anymore. I want to keep my drive and keep my enthusiasm. I worry that I'll get worn out before I even get a chance to finish my schooling.

But whatever, right? I mean, worrying about it isn't going to prevent it, and I'm doing the best I can right now. So I'll keep finding those funny moments every day, and concentrate on keeping my GPA as high as I can make it, and suck it up. I can do this.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Day 8: Drifting

8 - Who’s someone that you used to be really close to, but you’re not anymore?

All through middle and high school I had two close friends. One of them I'm still close to, the other I recently "broke up" with. The one I broke up with, 'Erin' has issues, y'all. She and I were both way dorky in middle school, and originally bonded over being teased and being in the gifted program together. In high school I became more outgoing, and though I was still definitely a weirdo I didn't get picked on or made fun of anymore. I didn't hang out with cheerleaders or anything, and I was still in honors classes (as was Erin) but I had my own social life and was content with it. Erin stayed a little more on the awkward end of the spectrum, and continued to catch some flak for it.

After high school, Erin and my other close girl friend went to the same university, while I took a year off to work, get healthy, and save up money for college. I visited them on their campus, and Erin formed her own social circle there, which was great to see. She got a first boyfriend, and graduated school, and moved across the country for grad school. We stayed buddies thorughout all this, although Erin would have periodic freak-outs where she'd do stupid stuff like randomly send me a letter bitching me out about something I did when we were, like, 15 years old. But I'd shrug them off and she'd get over it until the next time.

We stayed buddies after I got married, and after Erin dropped out of her second go-around with grad school.

Then when she was home visiting her parents one Christmas, Erin had another one of her weird freak-outs where she said she was going to stop by and see me and my family at my Mom's house, then didn't. When I called her about it she was all twitchy and strange and defensive. I dunno. Not that out of character for her. When I told her I thought it was rude to say you would be somewhere and then not show up, she got mad, and that's pretty much the last time we talked. I tried to engage her about what it is she was upset about and what she wanted to happen, and her response was that we aren't close and the only way we would become close again is if I lived in her town (across the country) and we saw each other daily and since that's not going to happen we've got no chance.

Um, okay? Because that's how most adult friendships work, right? You live down the street from one another and go play after school I mean work? Whatever, Erin. It's entirely possible to keep friendships going after you grow up and move apart. My other close friend from high school lives about an hour away from Erin and she and I still talk often.

So yeah, Erin's little freak-out periods got to be a bit much and I didn't feel like chasing her down to apologize over nothing, so I didn't. Our other mutual friends say it's basically the same streak she's always had, plus that she's got this serious boyfriend that she apparently doesn't want to know that she was a geek in her past (I think he'll be able to figure that one out, people) and so perhaps that's why she's avoiding childhood friends. Lame.

I hate girl friend drama. I'm so glad that my other friends and I can have arguments and work things out like normal people.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

7 - A rarely covered topic

7 - What's something you don't usually blog about?

There are millions of things I don't usually blog about. Like why I take my showers in the evening before bed instead of in the morning before work. Or the time I made cinnamon rolls from scratch and then ate nothing else for half a week. Or that I saw someone chug dish soap and beer until he vomited bubbles once. Or that on my honeymoon at Zion National Park in Utah, we saw a tarantula and Mr. Polly was thoughtful and had me cover my eyes then picked me up and carried me past it so I wouldn't freak out and be stuck in a corner, unable to walk near that big, foot-eating sucker.

I don't often blog about my collection of paperback romance novels penned by Fabio himself - I have three of them (Viking, Pirate and Champion). Or about how it's really awful to work in a nursing home if you or your coworkers have gas, because there is no politely ignoring it - everyone starts sniffing and saying "Uh oh, who needs to be toileted?" until someone cops to it ... unless it really is a resident who needs to be changed. Or about how mole is one of the worst things I've ever tasted and I can't belive people like it (I can't figure out how to do the accent over the 'e' in mole but rest assured I mean "mole-ay" not the animal we call a mole).

I was thinking perhaps I'd take this opportunity to brag about how I exercise on a schedule now, but that's boring to read about. I will share this, though - it's my favorite yoga DVD to do. I like the second DVD. Seriously, if you're thinking you want to go surfing but don't think you're strong enough to be able to pop up, do this DVD for a few weeks. You'll be able to. It's fun, too.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Day 6: Picture

6 - What's a picture of yourself that not many people have seen?

Oh man, this one was a lot of work! The monitor of my regular computer is broken right now, and I'm posting from my laptop. I'm also pre-writing these and scheduling them to go up on each day of the challenge because I'm going camping this weekend (yay!) and won't be near a computer.

So. Trying to find a rare photo of myself without being able to check my computer to see what's on there? Not very easy.

Then I remembered I had a photobucket account from years ago. And I found an old picture of myself from back when we got our first digital camera! It was all big and clunky and had hardly any memory, but I thought it was awesome and was praticing with it to learn how to use it. So of course I took a picture of myself in the bathroom mirror. It was taken at the first house the Mr. and I lived in all by ourselves (we were roomates in a big house when we started dating) which was also the house where he proposed to me. Awww.

Here I am at age 22 or 23, I think. And yes, that's a tattoo on my arm. I have one on each.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Day 5: Bedtime

5 - What’s in your bed right now? Take a picture of your bed.

In my bed right now? Not much. My stuffed animal(s) which are a dog and a teddy bear (shut up. Just shut up), and underneath it are lots of plastic storage tubs because my apartment is fairly small and I gotta put stuff somewhere. The only one you can really see in the picture has my bathing suits, rash guard, swim bag, and goggles in it. And no, a rash guard isn't some gross thing, it's one of these which you wear surfing to keep the sand and surfboard wax from rubbing your belly and chest raw. And if you're modest like me, to make sure nothing comes out that should be staying in.

See, Kate knows what's up.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Day 4: Hell yeah I have a J-O-B

Day 4 -Do you have a job? If you do, what is it and do you like it? If not, what job would you like to have?

I have a job or two. Actually, technically I have three: I'm a CNA and a Med Aide at my facility, and I work in homecare on the side on-call.

I like my jobs. My favorite is working as a med aide, although that's the most stressful because I'm expected to juggle a wide variety of responsibilities as I'm doing my primary duties. But it's the most fun, too. My regular CNA days working the floor are usually fine. There's a few residents and coworkers I don't like dealing with, but that comes with the territory, right? And homecare is a mixed bag; it tends to be either spectacularly easy and pleasant (am I really getting paid? Right now?? To sleep in a bed in a waterfront condo and wake up for q3hr turns?? WOW!) or horrible and making me rethink my life choices (I drove all the way out here to BFE to take care of a woman in this filthy scary house and her son is showing me how to stand her up and telling me not to "play with her butt"? I clearly took a wrong turn somewhere in my past to end up here. For the next 6 hours. If I ever survive this and get home again.)

If I didn't want to work in healthcare, other jobs I would enjoy:

1. Vacuum technician at a vacuum cleaner store. I loooooooove tinkering with vacuum cleaners and seeing all the different kinds that exist in the world. I did hours of research before buying each of my (2) vacuums that I've ever owned as an adult. I can change the belts, clear clogs, etc. in no time flat. I'd be so enthusiastic about this job, I bet I'd get tips.

2. Mortician. Turns out I'm not at all afraid of dead bodies. And I'm getting better at telling family members bad news every day.

3. Working for the phone or power company to be one of those people that climbs up the phone poles or goes up in a cherry-picker to work on the transformers and to cut back tree branches that are threatening to knock down the lines. I like heights, and like being outdoors, and would like learning to work with electronics, probably.

4. Police officer. I haven't done any of this, although I did intern at a couple of juvenile detention centers and used to work with frequently incarcerated teenage boys. I can be authoritative and set clear boundaries, and am not one to panic when a violent situation breaks out. I think I'd really enjoy feeling like I was serving and protecting those that needed it, but then again, most people that get arrested are usually really, really annoying - trashy, long-winded, refuse to accept responsibility, etc. Also, just because I can keep calm during an emergency doesn't mean I'm not disturbed by it later. Like when one of my boys stabbed the other through the arm with a fork at the dinner table. Yuck.

All in all, I'm happy where I'm at. I never, ever want to work a desk job. I want to be up moving around and using my hands.

Zip It (day 3)

Day 3: What's something you think of all the time but never say?

I wish I were a mother. I know I will be some day, and I know I'll be good at it. The kids I nannied for four years are good kids, and they still like to talk to me on the phone, ask their parents to drive them to my town to visit me, and write me little letters. I know I have the patience to deal with children all day every day, and I enjoy being around them. I know I can teach them to be considerate and to love learning.

It can be hard working in a nursing home, because the staff is 90% female, and there's always someone pregnant working there. Right now there are three. It can be hard hearing the same questions over and over again - "You've been married for 6 years and no kids yet?" or "How old are you? 29? And no kids so far? Do you not like them?". It's really hard when there's someone like "Calliope" who has 3 children at home and just lost her job for showing up at work high on meth.

I haven't always known I wanted to get married, or work in any particular field, or be vegan, or any of the other things I do right now. But I've always known I wanted to be a mother.

And I think about it often.

PS New readers - I do intend to have children some day, but it's complicated because Mr. Polly has Cystic Fibrosis. Google it if you're curious, or visit for more information.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Day 2: Last Movie I saw in the Theater

The last movie I saw was Thor. Hazards of being married into the comic book business, right? Although I missed out on Captain America and am not planning on going to Conan, either.

Thor was pretty good! I liked his character, I freaking LOVED the Rainbow Road (me and the Bestie that lives far, far away are wishing we had one so we could pop in and visit one another) and I thought the Frost Giants were pretty awesome. Natalie Portman was decent, the actor that played Thor was handsome and funny.

All in all, thumbs up.

Man, writing about movies on here makes me miss Bev (the little old lady I used to take to a movie every week). Do yourself a favor and click on the tag at the end of this post that says "movie reviews" to find out what Bev thought about Eclipse: The Twilight Saga and Dinner for Schmucks. She was so, so great. I miss her! She's dead, and if I weren't protecting her privacy, I'd link to her obituary - it's very, very sweet.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Day 1: First Crush

1 - Write about your first crush. Who was it? Do you still talk to them?

My first crush (you'll remember this one, Dad) was my neighbor Brennan. He lived a few houses down the street, and I was friends with his big sister too. He and I were inseperable; he'd come over in the mornings sometimes to watch cartoons and eat cereal and yogurt with me before school. We went to preschool together, and kindergarten too. We used to sneak out over his back fence and play in the abandoned, crumbling barn that was slowly sinking into the wetlands behind our street - we thought it was the coolest thing in the world. One time we decided to make a parachute by taking a sheet and holding all four corners of it, then jumping out the 2nd story window ... luckily we tested it by jumping off the top bunk of his bed first and realized it didn't work. We used to tell everyone we were going to get married when we got old enough. Like 12 or so.

When we got older, we went to different schools but still played together in the afternoons. At some point his family moved away, but near enough that we still got together fairly often, but that was when we were at the age where boys and girls aren't usually friends so I spent more time with his sister. In high school he did some things I disliked and that freaked me out, and I told him he had gotten mean and I was disappointed in how he was turning out. We haven't really talked since. I keep in touch with his sister, but not him. I'm sure he's probably over that phase now, and is a decent guy and all, but he probably didn't like being judged by me back then (I don't blame him for that) and so he's probably not a big fan of me.

And no, we didn't get married at 12. Or ever!

A Shorter Blog Challenge

I liked doing that other challenge that went around earlier this year (even though I totally didn't finish it in 30 days). So why not do another one?

10 Day Blog Challenge (source: HeckYeahTumblrChallenges)
1 - Write about your first crush. Who was it? Do you still talk to them?

2 - What was the last movie you saw in theatres?

3 - What’s something you think of all the time, but never say out loud?

4 - Do you have a job? If you do, what is it and do you like it? If not, what job would you like to have?

5 - What’s in your bed right now? Take a picture of your bed.

6 - What’s a picture of yourself that not a lot of people have seen?

7 - What’s something you don’t usually blog about?

8 - Who’s someone that you used to be really close to, but you’re not anymore?

9 - What’s something you worry about for the future?

10 - Do you play any sports?

Anyone want to join me for this one?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cooking every night? Just crazy enough to work.

I've been making an effort to cook healthy, especially things from my new favorite cookbook, "Appetite for Reduction". So far, everything I've made out of there has been a winner. This is saying something! I'm one of those people who writes in my cookbooks, so I can remember what I thought of a recipe or adjustments I think would improve it. I forgot that I did this until I lent out my copy of "Deceptively Delicous" (that one Jerry Seinfeld's wife wrote where you puree fruits and vegetables and sneak them into everything under the sun) where I'd written "NOT GOOD. Tastes like wet bread. Not enough marshmallows in the world to save this." on her coffeecake recipe. This was before I was vegan. Anyway, my lucky friend Jessica knew not to try that recipe, for sure.

Now I've traded in this

for this

I bought a huge amount of "great northern white beans" (aka those white beans that are bigger than navy beans) from the bulk section of my grocery store the other day, and cooked up a gigantic pot of them. I usually make hummus out of them, since they puree up easier than chickpeas and I like them that way. I got a really easy recipe for that online, and I go by it, basically, adding or subtracting whatever I feel like. Here it is, if you're interested:

Take about 3 cups white beans, 1 tsp salt, a pinch of pepper, a few shakes of thyme, 3 TB olive oil and 2 TB lemon juice, and 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced. Puree that in your blender or food processor, adding warm water as you need it to make it smoother. Usually 1/4-1/2 cups of it.

pretty easy!

Anyway, I've been coming up with ways to use all these cooked beans, now, and there's a great recipe for Pasta e Fagoli in Appetite for Reduction. I tried it out and took some pictures.

It starts with a pretty basic tomato sauce (I even found some old sherry cooking wine in my cupboard, so I did it like a big girl instead of with vegetable broth like usual - score!).

I picked tricolor shells from (natch) the bulk section for my pasta.

Added the beans to the sauce ...

and when everything was cooked, mixed it all together with a bunch of spinach while the sauce was still hot enough to wilt the greens. Hooray!

Very good, and it's got everything all in one bowl, which is awesome. Less packing for me in the morning. I'm one of those dorks that literally packs a lunchbox for work. And it's a pink one, too. I usually bring some leftovers from the night before and some fruit. I might be one of the only people in the world that works in a nursing home and actually still likes and eats applesauce. I even pack it in my lunches sometimes. Even now that I sometimes give people meds crushed into it.

Me and my applesauce are freaky like that. And me and my kitchen are BFF these days.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Oh, yeah, you're so special.

Right after I go on about how happy and pleasant I am, here I am hopping on my computer to rant about a new employee at the GreatRep. Already, I'm a little iffy about the activities department. You might remember a while back about how I had a run-in with a homophobic employee who used hand gestures to demonstrate how she thought gay sex "doesn't work" and that the best she can hope for the gays is to "hate the sin but love the sinner"? And you might remember how I went over this person's head and discussed it with her bosses, who let her know that it will never, ever happen again. Ever.

Anyway, said idiot is in charge of the activities department and has hired some real winners in the past. Looks like she's done it again. She hired a delicate flower named "Daisy" who is home on summer break from college. Daisy's aunt has volunteered at the GreatRep for years and wants her to work at the GreatRep for a month to get "life experience". Daisy is one of those people I just want to throttle. Why? Because I hate it when people say they can't work with elderly, sick or disabled people because it's sooooooooo sad. Screw that.

What, you're so terribly amazingly compassionate that you can't find it within yourself to do anything to help these people that your heart is bleeding buckets for? You're so fragile and sensitive that your feelings of boo-hooing are more important than doing your damn job? BS.

If you don't want to work in dementia because it's hard, underpaid, involves bodily fluids and very rude people, or it's just plain not your thing? That's FINE. But don't insult all the residents and employees by saying that you're somehow too compassionate to do this job.

It makes it sound like you think the only way the rest of us could be doing this work is by not caring at all. And that's not the case. It makes it sound like you think being old, sick, or disabled is the worst thing in the world and they have no quality of life and should all just die, apparently, because what do they have to live for and why would anyone spend their time helping them live?

And to top it all off, Daisy confesses that she's "terrified" of this place, after watching a caregiver transfer someone with a sit-to-stand. Really? You find moving someone from one chair to another terrifying? Stay far away from children's birthday parties, then. They might play musical chairs, and you'll have an aneurysm.

Daisy, I hope you don't even last the one month you're slated to be here. You're disrespectful of everyone in that building and you just don't get it and if you come up to me looking like someone had a stroke and is dying and then all you want is to say tremulously "Ummm... Millie says... she needs to use the bathroom??" I might have to slap you.

I hope you're going to college for something with no human interaction necessary.

Friday, August 5, 2011

And on my day off, I talk about ... me!

I've got several friends right now who are online dating, and one who just married a man she met that way. One of these friends is very, very smart and keeps an interesting blog about her process of going from newly-divorced to dating at: Struck by Lightning 2.0. Her recent post about statistics reminded me that she'd previously linked to a really interesting site where you can participate in positive psychology research by taking some inventory questionnaires about your own happiness: Authentic Happiness Tests.

I generally score pretty high on happiness, which probably won't surprise those of you that know me or read this blog regularly. Even though there are some really difficult aspects of my life, on a day-to-day basis I'm very happy. I love Mr. Polly tremendously and have a great time with him, I feel that I'm doing the sort of work I'm meant to do and that I'm taking steps toward being where I want to be (in nursing school), I love the town I live in, and have good friendships. I do have some troubled family relationships at time, worry about Mr. Polly's disease, and am constantly frustrated by our neverending medical debt. But overall I feel that most of that is something we can overcome.

But my positive psychology scores aren't really the stuff I'd put on a dating profile, or anything that I lead with when I meet new people. I just took a Briggs-Myers test again and scored as an ISFJ (Introverted Sensing Feeling Judging) type. Apparently I'm a Guardian Protector type. I don't know if my reserve is actually very obvious to others, but I feel it. I've been at my current facility for 6 months and, although I like a lot of my coworkers, I only have the phone number of one of them, and he's the only one I've considered socializing with outside of work so far. I've gently turned down other invitations because I just don't know if it's worth it to me since nursing homes are often such little drama hotbeds. So I wait a long time to see if I hear someone gossiping or being a jerk before I decide if I want to hang out with them. That's pretty reserved, I know, and sometimes I wish I were less so. But I'm cautious that way.

One of my friends that's online dating has her type on her profile (INFP) so maybe that's a decent way to give someone a shorthand of who you are. I'm partly thinking about this because down the road I foresee some "I want to be a nurse because" essays in my future for scholarships. And no one wants to read "because I want to help people" over and over again. So I could say "because I 'have an extraordinary sense of loyalty and responsibility in [my] makeup, and seem fulfilled in the degree [I] can shield others from the dirt and dangers of the world' but also because I find it funny when old ladies come up and try to hand me a handful of poop and I can look at a stage 4 tunneling wound (and smell it) without vomiting. Give me some money for education!"

That'll go over well, don't you think?

Or "Our premarital counselor told me that even though I seem sweet as can be, I'm secretly made of cast iron."

On second thought, it's a good thing I have a long time to work on these pitches, and it's a really good thing I'm not trying to find a husband online. Although, wealthy gentlemen of the world, if you are reading this right now and thinking "I wish I could marry Polly and pay her way through school then let her divorce me and remarry her own Mister" send me a comment and we'll talk. This applies to well-to-do ladies living in states where gay marriage is legal as well, of course.

Maybe this blog is the best scholarship app/personal ad ever in life. Ha.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Codger Whisperer

Just got home from my shift with the combative ex-alcoholic that lives at the CrapDorable facility that I used to work at and hated. Whew!

Let me tell you, walking into a place, saying "I'm here to pick up Mr. Codger for his doctor's appointment" and hearing "Ohhh, yeah, he's in a really bad mood. He was out here in the lobby but they took him back to his room to use the bathroom because he can't use the main one." (??) That's not how you want to greet any outside providers that come into your facility. If I hadn't known what I was getting into, I'd have been tempted to walk right back out.

The receptionist remembered me from my brief and hellish stint there months ago, and gave me her key so I could go find Mr. C myself. Which I did. Sitting in his wheelchair in his room with 2 aides trying to pee in a urinal & yelling at us all to get the hell out. I grabbed the paperwork I needed from his room and did so, waiting out in the hallway to work on it there. After his urination, Mr. C seemed in a better mood, and he and I sat in the lobby of the CrapDorable facility chatting while we waited for Dial-A-Lift to come pick us up (you know, those bus system buses that will take you door-to-door if you're disabled and have a wheelchair lift on them). Bus came, we went, he crabbed the whole way there. Arrived, read to him from a travel magazine in the lobby (his favorite topic) and got him all cheerful and pleasant for his appointment.

Then the doctor, who looked to be my age or younger, walked in. And told Mr. C he was there to consult on whether or not to remove his toe. OMG. They pulled out the offending toe, and I'm no expert but it looked like a good candidate for removal to me; lots of necrotic black flesh, and ooze, and bleeding. Yuck. Apparently Mr. C didn't have any pain from it though. Then came the awesome part, in which the doc said we needed to transfer Mr. C to the exam bench, Mr. C refused, the doc seemed completely unaware that his patient had dementia, and I pulled the MA and the MD out into the hall.

"Look, I just met this guy today, but I picked him up from a dementia care facility. He has dementia. He also gets physically and verbally combative. He is a 2-person transfer and can't walk or really bear weight. So we can transfer him if it's absolutely necessary, but he may not like it."

They came back in, we tried, Mr. C grabbed on to his wheelchair, refused, and started swearing at us all. At this point, I figured we were just going to have to do it anyway, but the MD backed down and said never mind, even though he was supposed to be examining the codger in other areas for cancer. Some people might consider follow up to a biopsy a little bit IMPORTANT.

Instead, he chickened out and said "Uh... well, we won't make any decisions about that surgery, and I'll have you come back in 3 weeks so we can take another look at that toe." and he and the MA rushed us out of there as fast as possible.

Sheesh. So the codger just spent a bunch of money for this appt. plus someone to shepherd him there and back, and all he got was a clean dressing for his horrible toe. Great.

We then had a half hour to kill before our ride back to the CrapDorable, so I chatted and read to the codger until then. He freaking loved me. Just not anyone or anything else, today, unfortunately.

I brought him into the facility with an admonishment to behave ("I find it difficult when you aren't here, dear") and watch his language, and then set about coordinating his follow up appt. I told the homecare agency CareCo that I'm happy to take him BUT
1. He needs to be premedicated, because clearly dermatologists are afraid of pissy old men who swear at them. If he gets premedicated, he probably won't do that.
2. I want CareCo to call ahead to the doctor's appt. and make sure the physician understands what's happening and what needs to be done.

Jeez, people. How scary can one wheelchair bound old man be?