CHICAGO, IL: I have been in the medical field for twenty-five years; three as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), and the last twenty-two years as a Registered Nurse (RN). I decided to work with our geriatric population and have never regretted my choice and choices over the years.
I could tell you about my emergency room rotation during clinicals while I was in school. I was paired up with an ER nurse. We received an 84-year old male who came to us from a local long-term care facility. He was sent to the ER because their lab work came back abnormal. After doing a head to toe examination the ER nurse was preparing to insert an IV. She asked me to remove the bandage that was on the top of his head. After removing the bandage, I wasn’t sure what I was looking at until it/they moved. The wound was covered in maggots.
Or I could tell you about the female resident I had that when you told her “Good morning!” she would respond with “G-d damn son of a bitch I hope to G-d you die!”
I decided to work with our geriatric population and have never regretted my choice over the years.
And then there’s the time when I was at home hospice nurse and had a patient in a very dangerous town. The family of the patient insisted that I call when I was on my way. I had to call no less than twenty minutes before I got there. This was so they could, “Get into position.” When I reached the entrance of their subdivision there were always two young men waiting for me. They would then trot alongside my car. Every block more young men would join in the escort that went on for four blocks. When I reached the house eight young men surrounded my car. Each of them greeted me kindly. They would walk me to the front door. Once I was in the house they would go back and watch my car. It was nothing to hear gunshots. Once my visit was completed they would walk me back to my car and walk me to the entrance/exit to the neighborhood.
What I really want to share with you is one of my most recent experiences. On February 9, 2018 I started a new position as a Director of Nursing at a Senior Living/ Assistant Living Facility. My first day there I heard a noise out in the hallway. A woman on a motorized scooter barreled in my office and drove right up to my desk. She looked at me up and down then said, “So you’re the new one.”
She began to ask all kinds of questions. Some about my experience, my family, myself. After she was done questioning and I answered she looked at me and said, “You’ll do” then scooted out of my office. Over time we became very close. I considered her a good friend as well as a patient.
After she was done questioning me she said, “You’ll do.”
As I got to know her I would find out information such as she had outlived all her family. She had no one and I mean NO ONE. She rode her motorized scooter everywhere; even to Walmart which is 3.4 miles away. She would then cross a very busy street and go to Target. There, she would plug her scooter in and use one of their scooters to shop. Once she was done she would get on her scooter which now had enough charge to get back to the facility.
She also had one more routine. She would ride her scooter to the end of Broadway (facing south) and get lottery tickets and something to drink from the Speedway. Most of the way had sidewalks except for about thirty to forty feet when she would be on the street. One day as she was going to Speedway and she was on the street part when an SUV came around the corner at high speed and hit her and her scooter. The impact was so strong that it ejected her off the scooter and into the air where she landed about sixty feet from the site of the impact. She was killed instantly. The front of the SUV dragged the scooter a few hundred feet before stopping. The way that we found out was that she had a cell phone and the hospital used it to call us. My director who brought me the phone with the ER nurse on it who began to explain what she heard from the policeman who had been to the scene of the accident. They told us that the woman who was driving the SUV said she didn’t see her.
She had no one and I mean NO ONE.
How can you miss a 250lb. woman on a big red scooter wearing a pink coat with an American flag on the back of the motorized chair? The driver was just not paying attention. Probably on her cell phone. We were told that she did not have a driver’s license or insurance. My dear friend is gone just because someone wasn’t paying attention. And because she had no one she had to lay in a vault for over a month in the county morgue because she was cremated. I miss her very much. Every time I see a scooter she comes to mind.
I have many more stories that I will save for next time.