When I ask rehab patients about the precipitating event that brought them to therapy, they can at least answer the question. Maybe they tripped on a zucchini vine, slipped on a grape in the grocery store or toppled off a bicycle while swerving to avoid a raccoon, but at least they know what happened. Not me.
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People often ask me what long-term care is like in Canada.* Trying to keep the peace, I usually answer, "Different." I choose this passive path because a) I'm Canadian, so it's genetic, and b) I know how quickly conversations can escalate these days.
Did you know we're experiencing a global sand shortage right now? Please don't panic, however. This only affects long-term care if your existing properties or future projects require glass or concrete, or if you use computers or one of those new, hand-held phone things.
It sits on the facility reception desk, blinking bright purple as I approach, but somehow escapes my initial notice. After all, I have so very many things — urgent things, funny things, deeply profound things, I'm sure — that desperately need to be shared with that person wearing the headset.
Nothing ever makes me feel more empathy for those we care for than my own occasional reluctant forays into our American healthcare pseudo-system. I just walked a mile in somebody else's figurative moccasins — and then some.
In the long-term care profession, we exist to provide care to vulnerable seniors, and like the rest of us, they tend to exist 24/7.
I haven't perched in a tree waiting for Bigfoot, or spent a morning with binoculars in a rowboat on Loch Ness. But I recently had a ringside seat for one of those elusive rehab therapy triumphs — the kind I always hear about, but had never personally witnessed.
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You might think you have problems in your long-term care facility. But ask yourself just one question: Would I rather have snakes?
Maybe the real reason some people don't like gardening has little to do with the time and effort required, the proximity to deadly spiders or the pesky dirt under the nails. Maybe it's the way it punctures their denial.
Have you ever had a long-term care nightmare? Not the waking kind, where some horrifying facility crisis leaves you muttering, "This is a nightmare." I'm talking about a real one, the kind that happens deep in your subconscious mind, while you're asleep in your fluffy-soft bed ...
Things I Think
Things I Think is written by longtime industry columnist Gary Tetz, who resides in Portland, OR. Since his debut with SNALF.com at the end of a previous century, he has continued to amuse, inform and sometimes befuddle long-term care readers worldwide.