Saturday, April 18, 2009

Adventures in Little Old Lady Land

She was 100 years old.
Arriving by ambulance from an assisted living facility complaining of hip pain. She smiled beatifically as she was wheeled in by the EMS crew who had gone to fetch her, her pale little face peeking out from beneath a halo of white blankets.

The crew had gotten to know her pretty well on their brief ride from her facility and let us know she had fallen the night before, but was up and around; there was no overt sign of hip fracture, sometimes a death sentence for the aged. She lived in her own room and was able to get herself to the dining room for her meals; she managed her own medication, contingencies for her assisted living arrangement where there was no professional staff. Up until a couple of years ago she drove a car, but gave up her license following a motor vehicle crash. "Not my fault!" she piped in, bright and alert and spry......although very, very hard of hearing

Sherry and I and the paramedics oh so gently transferred her from the ambulance gurney to the bed as if she were made of porcelain. I can't recall seeing these big guys move someone with so much care. They carefully tucked n her blankets and bid her farewell.

We undressed her with utmost care, and I inspected her soft white skin, so transparent; this skin is 100 years old, I marveled to myself. "It burns", said Alice, our centenarian, rubbing her hip; there were no bruises or swelling as she pointed to the area righ above her hip bone.

"Shingles", Sherry and I mouthed simultaneously to each other.

"Did you fall down ?", Sherry asked. "Yes, I live in town", replied Alice.

I just grinned.

We xrayed Alice's hip and found nothing. We got her up to be sure she could walk; we found a walker so she we could more accurately assess her ability to ambulate. Alice did just fine, and asked to sit in a chair. We covered her with blankets, got her a little snack.

"We're going to send you home! Do you want anything for pain?", Sherry yelled.

"No, I don't like to take pills, not even Tylenol. I'm fine", Alice said in her little bird-like voice. "I want to go home with my daughter".

The local ambulance service is usually one way, and they weren't able to get her home.

We called the daughter. She said she wasn't able to accomodate her mother, and couldn't give her a ride home. That was just as well since I found out she was 80 and probably shouldn't be driving Miss Daisy.

Alice, now that she was upright, called out "Nurse!?" every few minutes. Sherry asked if she would like to sit in our tiny waiting area to watch TV, and she thought that was a good idea while she waited for her ride. We got her completely dressed, again carefully putting on her clothes including her 20 year old Reeboks. Seriously. We wheeled her to the waiting room which is literally 10 feet from our nurses station.

While in the waiting room, instead of calling "Nurse!?" when she had to go, she stood herself up out of the wheelchair and peed on the waiting room chair; and got back in the wheelchair.

I felt bad but that didn't prevent me from laughing. Her person from the assisted living facility brought a change of clothes.

"G'night, Alice!"