Sunday, September 26, 2010


Imagine working for thirty years and all you want to do once you retire is nothing. You buy yourself a La-Z-Boy recliner, a bedpan, a urinal and hire someone to clean them daily, for $30.00 a day. You pay someone $30.00 a week to buy your groceries. Literally, you want to do nothing, well except maybe watch TV.

This past week we spent time administering flu shots to some of the residents. It was a pretty arduous process; very different from when I did the mass flu shot clinic when I was in the Air Force. Then we didn't need doctor's orders, patient consent, etc. They lined up and we stuck them. Wam bam, thank you ma'am! In a long term care facility it's a bit different. You are required to have the orders, consent and hands that don't tire from all the other documentation.

As we're moving along I go into a resident's room. I didn't exit until 30 minutes later when another nurse came in and saved me. Evidently this particular resident is one of those, that when you are planning to go in you plan to tell someone to save you in about 10 minutes. He's not only lonely, but from what I hear he can also be quite...grumpy. From what I hear it borders on abusive. I wasn't abused. He told me all about how he ended up "incarcerated", his views on war, politics, religion and "the jokers" (the MDs who have cared for him since his incarceration, which is actually what he calls his life in the LTC facility).

Every time he needed them a rescue squad would come pick him up, and he'd pay them $30.00 even if they refused. He has no family. No one visits him.

His existence is a sad one. Who am I to judge, though? What will I take from my 30 minutes? A deeper appreciation for those I do have around me - that and I may have given him 30 minutes of joy he doesn't often know anymore, just by listening.