Enter the Dragon: A Caregiver Speaks

My client, Glenn, called me yesterday to tell me about a care meeting he had with the staff at the nursing home in regards to his step father.   He was very animated because he realized he been  getting a song and dance.  It was like the veil of illusion was removed.

A brief history of the step father.  He has a brain disease ,not Alzheimer’s, that has caused him to not recognize family, cause decreased verbal communication, problems with swallowing and intermittent outburst.  It doesn’t matter if he is sitting up or lying in bed.  He doesn’t know the difference.  He is dying slowly and there will not be a reversal.  His new habit is grabbing anyone’s arm and squeezing.  Right before the meeting, he had squeezed someone’s arm till it bruised.

Glenn relayed to me the following scenario.

He went into the meeting and the first words out of the nurse’s mouth were            “He is doing so much better sitting in the chair and is interacting with the residents”

Glenn said it was like a switch was thrown and his reply was:

“Do you think I just fell off the turnip truck? He is not doing better, he is dying and I find it ridiculous that you sit here and tell me that.  What are you people doing?”

He said everyone in the room paled.  He continued:

“I want him off the useless medications you are giving him that cost me an arm and a leg.  I want him off Aricept, Buspar …. (several others) and I want the doctor to see him.

He continued. “I have been asking for this for some time, including a letter from the doctor indicating his incompetence for his trust and you keep saying it is coming.  If I don’t have it 24 hours, I am going to contact the ombudsman who I have on speed dial.”

Silence.  And then the voices assuring him all would be taken care of but please don’t call the ombudsman.

He did get the letter in 24 hours and the medications are being stopped.

It made me laugh because he just wasn’t going to take the nonsense anymore.  I know Glenn, he didn’t raise his voice rather he just looked them in the eye and said what was needed.  I wish I had been there to  Glenn, the empowered caregiver in action.  You go Glenn!