2007-12-12

Shoot Me Before I Die!

There's this lady who lives where I work who is 100 years old, and she's been at the place where I work longer than anyone else, I think. She's a really cool lady, and one of the first residents I met when I got the job. However, she is really starting to spiral downwards lately. She's been having a lot of anxiety problems especially around the fact that she cannot do many things for herself anymore. She is starting to forget and mix up words more than ever before... like calling a bowl of fruite "insurance for the insurance." And she has angry outbursts, screaming, Dammit, I don't want to live! I hate this place! Why can't I just be dead?"
She has always been one of the more independent people on the nursing home part of the building, able to get herself dressed and use the bathroom alone and get around by herself in her wheelchair. But lately she needs more and more help with these things. She is embarassed and resentful to ask the CNA's for help. I don't really blame her! Would you like to be struggling to get into your clothes while someone you barely know hollers at you in broken English, "Move Yuh Ahm! Move yuh ahm! Laahk thees! No! Leesten to me!"
So, when I am around, she begs me to help her. "Please, just stay and help me with this," she begs. "Please, please!" Often all she needs is someone to stand in the room with her while she does things herself, keep her company and reassure her that she's doing good. SHe gets nervous about going to bed and it takes her about forty minutes to get into her bed, because she has to look into her purse for about ten minutes to see whats in there, try to remember where her clothes and shoes and glasses go, decide whether she wants the bedside light on or off, etc. The whole time, she alternates between cursing the world, and saying, "Thank you so much for helping me!"
I don't mind helping her. The only problem is, I am often helping her when I am supposed to be doing something else... something more meaningless, but still, something that is an actual part of my job. Like paperwork, or gathering people up for a rousing game of Hangman. But I can't just leave her alone, crying with her nightgown still stuck halfway over her head, begging me to stay! I always have the option of pushing the call light button for an aid to come, but the CNA's are an elusive bunch who can rarely be found when you need them. Besides, many of them are sort of rude... and they've been known to pilfer through residents' drawers at night.
Now I'm starting to understand why my dad always tells me to shoot him before he gets old! There's just no dignity left in the world, is there?

1 comments:

~Melissa~ said...

I'm glad she has you looking out for her! It must be so hard to get older and not be able to do the things you once could!

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