This post has some bad words in it. Mainly slang terms but still and all, they’re bad words that generally don’t get used in mixed company. So if you’re at work or have children nearby or just don’t like reading that sort of stuff, consider this fair warning to not continue reading at this time. 😉

If there’s one thing you can’t say about my job, it’s that it’s boring. Different patients, different personalities, different diagnoses, different abilities and problem areas, you name it and every day is an adventure. Some days and some patients are more challenging than others, but at least it’s always different. Sometimes the differences can surprise the hell out of you – especially when the patients say stuff that you just DON’T expect “cute little old ladies and men” to say.

Sure, I’ve had the ones who were born and raised with prejudice and I’ve had to keep my mouth shut and my opinions to myself when someone comes out with a stereotypical comment or a racial slang in conversation, because it’s not my role to challenge them on those thoughts, as horrible as I think they are. And I’ve heard what can come out of the mouths of those who live in dysfunctional households or those who have a diagnosis of a mental illness but again, those are not mine to try to fix. But some things I just don’t want to fix anyway, because it’s just so damn funny.

Take cursing, for example.

Now, if given the opportunity, I can curse like a sailor. “The S word,” “the F word” and all (well, most. Not “the C word”. I don’t like that one) of their dirty little friends are regularly emitted from my mouth during conversations with my husbands and friends but I can turn it off like a faucet when in situations where those kinds of words wouldn’t be appropriate.

Apparently some patients don’t think the same way I do. And I don’t just mean a “hell” or a “damn” or even an “ass” here and there, because hell, I don’t really consider those to be curse words, anyway.

But, well, take “Frances” for example. 101 years old, totally with it and was absolutely, positively independent (she even still drove!) until she had broken her hip some months earlier. She was still doing pretty OK, all things considered, even though she needed some help now with cooking and bathing because she didn’t feel safe otherwise – she was (quite understandably) afraid of falling again. I was trying to get an idea how exactly how much and what kind of help she needed when taking a shower, so I was asking how did she wash the hard-to-reach places like her back, her feet, etc. And this sweet angel of a woman looked at me oh-so-innocently and said, “Well, I’m paying Lina to help me,” (Lina was her live-in attendant), “so when I’m in the shower, I let her wash me. Except my twat. I always wash that myself.”

Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather. I mean, she was a hundred and one years old! I didn’t even knew she knew those kinds of words or that they had been around that long. She had a knowing but amused look on her face and calmly let me know that indeed she did and indeed they had. Oh, and to make matters worse, she got a good laugh out of my reaction! 😉

I loved Frances. She was one of my most favorite patients ever.

And now I have “Adelaide”. 80-something years old and lives alone with her husband of 60-something years. He has mild to moderate dementia and she’s firmly in the moderate stages of the disease process. Fortunately, they have a good support system of a daughter who lives nearby, a private pay caregiver who stays with them 4 hours a day, and they’re still safe enough so far to be able to be on their own for a few hours at a time. But “Adelaide” is a pleasantly confused woman who broke her hip and her wrist in a fall early last month. The hip is doing great and the cast came off her arm last Monday, so I’m working on improving her strength and movement in her left arm and hand.  I had evaluated the right arm and now wanted to compare it to how the left was doing. “Oh, now this hand?,” motioning to her upper left extremity, “This hand is just a pussy!”

“Excuse me?,” I exclaimed as I mentally got up off the floor, which I had mentally just hit with a THUD.

She thought about it, then clarified: “Well, you know. It just pussyfoots around.” And then I got it. See, with the dementia, she doesn’t always get her words right. She meant that she’s more careful with the left hand and doesn’t do as much with it. She uses it gingerly. I suppose that would actually kind of be a definition of “pussy” in a roundabout sort of way, but I know she didn’t use the word on purpose.

But I couldn’t even laugh about it because it was unintentional. At least not in front of her.

I love my job. 😉

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