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?

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