This is too sad.
We have the sweetest patient at our dialysis clinic... an elderly black gentleman who is one of the kindest, most gracious people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.
His dilemma : Although he is yet mentally extremely sharp, has great wit about him, and quite independant, his doc is now attempting to encourage him to go to a nursing home. He is absolutely heartbroken. He was so downhearted last time.. I have never seen him this way. I was deeply moved and my heart went out to him.
I pulled up a chair and talked with him awhile. He told me how the doc felt he would be better off (as in safer) in a nursing home. He has great difficulty ambulating..actually, he is now wheelchair bound. He is strong, but his legs simply will not cooperate with the rest of his body. He ordered a motorized wheelchair for himself this past Christmas, and was so tickled when he received it ! He told us he would let us nurses use it on the floor during his tx., as he saw how we continuously run our legs off.
I believe the doc has his best interest at heart, for he has fallen a time or two at home, and there is noone close by to tend to him in an emergency.
I went over all possible options with him, everything I could think of. He does have the emergency alert to wear around his neck. He has the "scooter", and he has a aide to come in dailey in the mornings for several hours. I think the doc wants somebody there in the evenings to help get him into bed, and on weekends.
He has not had any luck in finding anyone yet. I spoke with our Social Worker about his concerns, and even asked if he could contact this gentleman's HH socialworker and put their heads together...come up with some kind of a plan.
I know he is devastated and worries about what to do with his home, furnishings,etc. Everything he has worked so hard for all his life. He also watched as one of our other patients ( lovely little lady) ended up in the nursing home, and how she went downhill from there. She wanted nothing more than to return to her home. Her health spiraled down steadily after this. And when medicare ended up taking her home, she gave up. She is now all but gone. She simply quit eating.
I know there's not much I can do... I want to intervene.. offer some tiny ray of hope... think of something.. ANYTHING that might keep him in his beloved home just a few more years. He is SO able in all other ways. I also see that he does NOT want to go and is feling pressured, or that he HAS to do as the doc asks. I assured him that the choice is HIS.
I don't think I could bear to watch him lose his home and independence , go to a nursing home and die of a broken heart. Not when he has so very much life in him as he yet does !
I know this is out of my hands and I feel so very helpless. I feel like I'm letting him down .. almost unworthy. He is one of those rare patients who NEVER complains about ANYTHING.. is always grateful, always kind, always appreciative of any small token of kindness shown to him. AAAAAAARGH !!!
My heart breaks for this fine man, and I don't know how to handle it !
Thanx for letting me unload this heavy burden. Having a hard time with this one.
May 15, '03
"I really detest the way our society treats the elderly. After paying taxes and being honest their whole lives they are left helpless and hopeless to die. "
HOWEVER, how much time and effort did these same people, when they were younger, put into establishing appropriate systems for taking care of the elderly at that time? Had they done so, the systems would be waiting to help them now, as well.
For those of us who are concerned about our healthcare when we get much older, if we are not actively creating and designing the necessary systems, they'll not be there for us, either. They won't somehow be magically created--it will take a lot of very hard work.
We reap what we sow.
Last edit by sjoe on May 15, '03