Sunday, March 27, 2011

If the shoe fits...

Dennis had a recent fall, and his wrist got sprained, so he has it in a bandage. Because of this, the carers have been helping him dress each morning. Most residents can do everything for themselves, but if they have been sick, etc, the carers will shower and dress them. Carlotta was in the kitchen one morning and found out that the carer on duty hadn't bothered to help Dennis, so she went up to his room and found him struggling to get himself ready for lunch. She told me this story about dressing Dennis.

As she said to me at the time, raising five children is no different to dressing older people, and these are just grown up small children. (I don't think I've heard it said that way, but I get the idea.) So she helped him dress and came back to serve morning tea.

When she saw me, she said, "Remind me to talk to the carer about Dennis. I think his foot is swollen. It was hard to get his shoe on." Of course, we were busy with scones and coffee, so we both forgot. But later on at lunch, Dennis was suddenly calling Carlotta towards him, and he held his left shoe in one hand. It was then that she remembered the swollen foot, and wondered if he had somehow hurt it more.

"Now, Lottie, I want to talk to you about my shoe!" he exclaimed. Carlotta walked over and listened to see what was wrong with his foot.

"This morning, you helped me with my shoes!" And Dennis paused again. If you want to talk to Dennis, you need a lot of time. Everything he says is measured and carefully planned. And slow.

"And this shoe, you had trouble getting it on!" Carlotta looked at his foot for any signs of swelling, but the socked foot looked just fine. "And I was walking to lunch, and I thought, 'Gee, something is hurting my foot there!' "

At this point the suspense was killing Carlotta. "Dennis, did you hurt your foot? It was very hard to get your shoe on, but we managed to push hard and get it on."

"Well, Lottie, that's what I wanted to talk to you about!" continued Dennis. "Something was hurting my foot when you pushed it on! But you were talking to me, so I was distracted, and I forgot to tell you that it was hurting when you were pushing the shoe on. You're a strong girl, Lottie. And then I was walking to morning tea, and I thought, 'Gee, something is hurting my foot!' And then I came to lunch, and it was still hurting, so I just took it off here, and see what I found!"

Dennis reached into his shoe and pulled out a bunch of housekeys. He had put them in there so that he would stop leaving them at home by mistake. Carlotta just stood there, wondering how someone could walk with keys in their shoe and put up with it for more than two hours.

And probably wondering how someone could get distracted enough by a mundane conversation, to forget to tell someone that it hurts like hell as they're manhandling your foot into a shoe full of keys.

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