Thursday, February 02, 2012

I've been writing letters

Some actually got sent (mostly advocacy ones), and some are just rolling around in my brain, and some I typed up just to get them to stop rolling around in my brain - with no plan of ever sending them.  But there might be a couple of letter posts in a row, here, just so you know.  To start us off, here are two that go together -

Dear Therapist Who Apparently Has No Compassion/Home Health Aide Who is Too Rough/Nurse Who is Rolling Your Eyes Right Now,

     I know my grandmother is stubborn - it's kind of a point of pride, in our family, that we are all 'strong willed,' but nobody as much as she.  I know that, at 94, it is sometimes hard for her to adapt to new situations as quickly as you all would like her to.   But I think it also would behoove you to remember that she's not stupid, that she did, somehow survive for these past 94 years, doing the best she could.  This is a woman who has lived through a lot - 2 World Wars, technically!  A major car accident! Being a nurse on the maternity ward when losing mothers and babies was seen as the cost of doing business!  She has raised nine children, one with Down's Syndrome, and helped raise at least one of her grandchildren.  She lost her mother when she was a child, her father almost 40 years ago, all of her 5 siblings, half of her children as adults, and her spouse.  She's a tough lady, is what I'm saying, and she's hurting.  Physically and emotionally. 

So, maybe you take your time going through today's exercises with her, or cut her some slack for not doing them when she had the stomach flu?  Maybe you take her word for it when she says that something feels different, not just assume it's just something she never noticed before. No: she won't always follow directions blindly, which might be easier for you, but wouldn't be for her.  It's pretty reasonable for her to ask questions about something she knows very little about, so maybe rolling your eyes isn't the best response.  Also?

Could you look up from your god damn schedule/paperwork/planned assignment for today just for a minute and recognize that what you want to do and what she needs are not always the same thing?  She's not inside your little laptop - she's sitting right in front of you, and she's scared (though she'd never tell you that) and she's pissed (which you might have gleaned) and she's frustrated (because '8 weeks should be long enough!') and she's hurting (because she fell down the stairs.  And broke her arm.  And had five screws put in.  And is ninety four frigging years old!)  

So let's try out that bedside manner you're supposed to have in there somewhere, and give empathy a shot for a little bit.  It won't hurt you, I promise.  And it'll make things a whole lot easier on her.  

Trying not to hate you right now,


Dear Every Other Person We Have Worked with in the Past 8 Weeks,

     I appreciate your patience and your kindness and your understanding with my grandmother.  I know she has not always been the best patient, but thank you for realizing that it is for valid reasons, and that she's doing the best she can, even when all that is is refusing to do what you want her to do.  She really is recovering incredibly well, and I know it is, in large part, due to your help.  She knows it too, and I think, has shown you all how grateful she is (even though she is also telling you how frustrating it is to need your help).  Many of you have commented on her spirit, and how gutsy she is: I agree.  Some of you have noticed when she is feeling a little low, and have tried to listen to what she needs - even if all that is is listening, or cutting her toenails, or remembering to wipe your feet before you come into her house when it's raining out, and I could not appreciate it more.  She's a special lady, my grandmother, and it's nice to know you all think so too.  

With my very sincere thanks,



Bethany said...

I can't begin to tell you how much I hate when people don't take older people seriously. The comments, eye rolling, and assorted other nonsense burns my butt. Show some respect!

Sue Jackson said...

Too bad you can't actually hand these out to everyone she comes in contact with! Very well-said - and needed to be said!

Wow, 94, huh? That's great!