Rehab – Part 4
Case Study – Part 2
In rolled the stretcher yet again and again the same transport guys. Number four was sitting up on the bed and she was an elderly lady and truly the poor thing. She had a black and redeye and a hand was all banged up and she needed help to move to a chair while they prepared her bed and the guys and nurses did their handover.
If you had met this woman in the street, you would think by the look of her eye and hand, she had been mugged in the street for her handbag.
Now, you know I don’t normally mention names, but in this instance, I’m going to because I must. I greeted her warmly and sked her name, the transport guy said “this is Elizabeth” she scowled some and said “it’s Betty”. See, kinda had to.
I said hello and the guy mentioned the weirdness of the older generation having one name and going by another. I just said “That’s what they do.”
My grandfather was always Jack. He has gone to God now, but when I visited him in hospital years ago after his triple bypass, I was embarrassed to learn he was actually John. WFT people! I never knew.
Anyway, back to Betty.
The arrival of Betty really settled our room. We were a very sociable room. That was my fault apparently, but what can you do.
Betty as a case study (so, non-clinical/medical terms) goes like this. Early eighties, had been in hospital over Christmas for a hip replacement and as this all happened around February, she was just about to go home when she had a fall. She landed on her knee, her hand and obviously her face.
I did comment to her when she first arrived that she looked like she had been through the wars. She had actually, the second World War, but that’s another story and not mine to tell. Anyway, Betty settled in, in the bed closest to the door next to mine.
I gave her the induction and introduction of the room and like everyone else, when she asked me what was wrong with me, (why does everyone ask me that?) I pointed to the cast on my left leg, but said “Brain Injury”. You know it led to a longer explanation, but that was later.
I should mention, the day I arrived in rehab I had more visitors (nurses and hospital staff) than I think I’ve had friends visit me since getting my disability. Which says much about both friends and hospitals.
The lovely Betty, had a finger she had mangled in her fall. It was her ‘bird finger’. Luckily, she had not broken it, but it was very swollen and sore. The doctors would do their rounds and ask her to straighten it. When she could she effectively gave the doctors The Bird.
Now, my grandmothers died when I was young and while I’m the age of Betty’s daughters, I felt like she was a grandmother I never had.
Now, I think you all realise I’m very cheeky and being around Betty, I got to turn it up a notch. Betty had, had to move into a nursing home early, on account of her husband’s dementia that had gotten to the point where if not contained, he would wonder off.
She was living in a suburb called Sunbury, to which I told her my nickname for the suburb was Scumbury. I didn’t make it up, but I’m still using it. It’s the Australian way, I’ll do a post one day to explain. Again, another day.
The nasty bruise around her eye, they gave her some cream, which stung. So, I introduced a nurse and Betty to my Arnica. When the doctors commented the bruising was going away and they would continue their cream for treatment, Betty tried to tell them it was my cream that they were using. The friendly nurse joined in our secret by reporting they would use some more of ‘the bad cream’. We all knew the nurse would continue using my cream.
When in hospital, your medication is kept in a locked drawer beside your bed. (not all of them, but most of them) They dish them out into little plastic cups and while I’m quite competent and manage my own medications at home, they weren’t familiar with any of the alternative brands and pills. Often relying on me to do the, one of those, one of each of those, two on those and that one. I collected the little cups, I didn’t have a reason, but they sure came in handy.
One night early on in Betty’s stay, I was sitting in bed with my curtains drawn (we all did) and I heard this weird “whooshing sound”, more than once and I couldn’t work it out. I asked Betty if she could hear it too? She said it was her, she was sending emails on her phone. See! Can you see why I disclosed this woman’s identity? She’s my kinda people. Very tech savvy.
Those cups started coming in handy also, as when she went to bed, I would go stand beside her curtain and piff one over at her. Yes, you heard me and another under her bed, I would get a giggle out of her and do another until she sternly said “stop that”. You know I followed that with another for good measure. Oh, good times.
A councillor/Social worker type visited Betty once and I saw her approach Betty who was sitting on the chair beside her bed. The young lady, half squatted in front of her, so it looked like they were on the same level. Now, she could have pulled up a chair or even sat on the edge of her bed. I later did an impersonation of her saying she could have even stood up to speak to her. It wouldn’t have meant she was talking down to her.
I did hear part of the conversation they had, the Social Worker asked her where she lived and asked if it was good? I couldn’t help my shot, Betty had a little laugh. The curtains were pulled closed as if that helped. I did apologise, but I made myself scarce. I don’t know of any older person who looks forward to going to live in a nursing home. So, I had thought it a ridiculous question.
My last day, I was discharged around 10am, I had slept badly, my mum was late coming to collect me and I’d stripped my own bed. Betty let me snooze on her bed. She was a sweetheart.
Before I left, when Betty was out of the room, I snuck all the plastic cups I had collected into her bed. I swear to God, five minutes after I’d gone she messaged me to tell me I’d not done a very good job, she had found them straight away.