Hellllloooo Kiddies, hahahaha I am glad you’re deciding to spend your time perusing through these untold stories. It is time for me to share a collection of some of my favorite moments from my last clinical. I just wanted to channel my inner crypt keeper for today’s intro. I am warning you though; these tales are not for those who suffer from gerontophobia. I am calling this collection “Once you’re over 65 you can say anything”.
Let’s set the scene for this first story, it is 8:30am and I am walking down a long hallway towards a patient’s room who was newly admitted. His past medical history was extensive but I noticed he was a resident of our building previously. As we are going through the normal evaluation procedure, we get to the question about how he handles his laundry. Politely I ask, “Sir, do you typically handle your own laundry?” He gives me a little smile and responds with, “not as long as I can get them in the washer by 9am”…I look back slightly confused and ask for some further explanation and he laughs a little bit to himself and explains, “well you see son, you will learn this one day. Women don’t like to wait, so as long as I get my clothes into the washer by 9am, I know the little old ladies from the floor will try to start theirs after breakfast and notice my clothes are in there. Instead of waiting for me to come back, they switch them over to the drier, fold them for me once they are done, and bring them back to my room.” I just stared back in awe that this man who they said was diagnosed with dementia, properly executed such an elaborate plan week in and week out!
Next, we will stick to the evaluation theme of my first encounter with a patient. This woman had recently fallen in her home and her chart stated that overnight she was not saying the nicest things to the nursing staff so I was coming in with my guard up. Not to say I was afraid of treating any patient, but when some patient’s or family members are aggressive, it can make for a long treatment session. That being said, I put on my best smile, knocked on the door and walked in. I noticed that this woman was covered up and had the blanket pulled over her head so I was a little concerned at this point. I got close to the bed and ever so sympathetically asked, “how are you feeling today?” The lady pulled the blanket down from over her head looks me dead in the eye and wiggled her hand. At this point I was lost and took a step back because I was not sure if she was going to take a swing at me or what was going on. I next said, I am sorry ma’am, I don’t understand. Without breaking her stare she said, “you asked me how I was feeling today…I am feeling the same as I do every day…with my fingers” and then gives me a little smirk.
The last story for the day will be that of a woman who was 101 and was a full time manual wheel chair user. This was not an evaluation, however it was the first time I was seeing this woman for treatment. After a long session of her walking and doing some stairs for me, we set off for the dining hall. In this facility, the families are allowed to eat with their family member if they so desire. As we were working through a group of people, I noticed a man who seemed to be getting angry with his mother/grandma and was noticeably talking down to her. No one else was around and he was not really causing a scene, however as we passed by them, this 101 year old woman stopped and backed her wheelchair up right into the man and then turned so she hit him again. She looked up and smiled and said she was sorry so I just wrote it off. However, as we got to her usual breakfast spot, she made a point to grab my hand. I looked down at this sweet woman and she said, “let that be a lesson to you, if you ever talk down to a woman and I am around, I will hit you with my chair, I don’t play that shit of disrespecting women”. I laughed and said I totally agree and understand and explained that I would never do such a thing-- especially not around someone who controls their chair as well as she did.
I hope if you’re a student reading these stories that they help you understand that just because you are going to a SNF, you will not be lacking any sort of entertainment. I met some of the most amazing people during my SNF rotation and am looking forward to working a PRN job at a SNF down the road just because you hear things that most other people would never say! I am so excited for the day that I can pass on my knowledge of how to avoid doing laundry, make witty one liners to those damn kids, and stick up for others using my awesome manual wheel chair controls. As always, if you have any questions or just want to chat please feel free to reach out to me! I love hearing other people’s stories and sharing experiences.
Happy Friday my friends—until next week!
I am a new graduate DPT and am interested in personal growth and becoming a connector within my profession.