Wednesday, February 16, 2011

An Advocate for Alice

I haven't blogged this year (2011), but the time is right now. I got a new knee January 12th. It is now my good knee and the other one is on its last leg. (pun intended)
My roommate in the rehab place was Alice. I decided at once that God had put me with her so I could be Jesus to her for a week.
Alice did not wake up happy and ready to go in the mornings. Indeed she was a most unhappy camper. She said, "Bring me a pain pill," or "Bring me an anxiety pill." Repeatedly she said, "I'm so nervous!" Finally I said, "What are you nervous about, Alice? You are in a perfectly safe place and being taken care of."
Long story short: Alice was angry because she had not been part of the decision making in regards to the rest of her life. She is 91 years old. She has lived on her own for over 25 years, but she had fallen at home and broken her right shoulder (her dominant side). Her son, a 65 year-old widower decided she couldn't live alone any more, so he signed her into an assisted living retirement place. He said she could try it for three months and if she didn't like it, she could go ...where? home? Is there a home anymore?
Alice wants to go home. She does not want to go somewhere to play Bingo. She has taken care of her businesses and finances etc. by herself for a long time. She no longer drives and has to depend on rides, but she says she has lots of friends. Until a year or so ago when she only had nine names left on the list, she was in charge of her high school reunions.
Alice complains constantly of feeling she has to urinate. She has pain in her lower abdomin. She asks for a bed pan and then the bed pan hurts her skin. She gets dizzy when she tries to sit up so they can't risk a fall. Finally she graduates to a wheelchair ride to the bathroom about 10 feet away. Sometimes a nurse's aide treats her roughly because she has to go potty at their busiest times. Fortunately one aide said, "Hey that is part of our job. If someone doesn't like it, they shouldn't be in this profession." Amen!
Alice needs a calendar. She has kept track of her life for 91 years. Now each day is the same.
Today my roommate is off to see her Doctor. The uniformed driver lady came in and told her she was taking her to the doctor. Alice was specific. "You mean to Gould?" (the name of the foundation where her doctor is located)
At Memorial?"
"Yes, right next door to Briggsmore."
That was satisfactory.
"Do I go dressed like this?"
"Yes, you look fine."
"I can't see what I look like."
This 91 year old is used to getting herself dressed and ready to go on her own.
"Can you sign your name?"
"Why do I need to sign my name?"
"To sign out to see the doctor."
"Well I can scribble a little."
Here I interjected. "She's not incompetant. Her right shoulder is broken and she is right handed."
"OK, OK."
Why did I write this? The rehab place did a good job with a high maintainence patient. But everyone need an advocate when they are in the hospital or rehab or convalencent hospital. I finally wrote some of these things down and gave it to her therapist. I began to see more help for Alice, more different kinds of services that came to talk to her.
Jesus would want this kind of compassion.
Insightfully yours,