Saturday, 10 May 2014

There is a list

posted in the hospital room of my friend. Someone in the psychiatric unit has obviously been attending a course in behaviour modification and there is a "new" plan afoot. Everyone in the unit now gets given a "personalised" list of things they are expected to do each day. These have been printed on sheets and laminated. They get ticked off by the staff and then, at the end of the day, they get wiped off again. You apparently start with a "clean slate" again the next morning.
At the request of my friend I had a look at her to-do list yesterday. If this is personalised then I am amazed by what they believe she can do. This is a to-do list for a physically able person - not someone who has difficulty in walking to the door of the room with the aid of a walker.
And no, it is not because she is not trying or that any sort of mental issue is getting in the way. She just can't do it. She would love to walk to the dining room for a meal and eat that meal at a normal speed along with everyone else. The reality is that the distance is beyond her. She can manage half way before they put her back in a wheelchair and push her into the dining room.
The problem? Going half way exhausts her. She then has to find the energy to eat. Hospital meals are not attractive. What is more they tend to come in containers she cannot open.
Fortunately another patient, a man who is - according to her - almost silent, will help with the containers. She is apparently the only person to whom he will speak. But even his help does not solve all the problems. My friend eats very slowly. Her ability to chew is limited. Eating is not a pleasurable activity but a painful one. The hot food is cold long before she has eaten much of it. She has digestive problems. They limited the amount and type of liquid she is allowed.
As for going to the exercise class - we laughed about it. Laughed? Yes, it is the only way to handle the situation. We both know the list is an impossible list. We know she will not reach the limit of 1.5 litres of liquid she is allowed each day.
She told me yesterday that there is supposed to be a "family" meeting this coming week. She wants me to be there but I doubt the hospital will allow it as the necessary paperwork giving me the legal right has not yet been done. What she wants will not necessarily be taken into consideration - although it should be. I did not tell her that but I will leave a message for the doctor so he knows I know what she wants.
In the meantime all we can do is try to find the funny side. It's just that it really isn't funny.

1 comment:

Helen Devries said...

Another example of box ticking which meets some fantasist goals of the institution which completely neglecting the needs of the person for whom they are supposed to be caring.
The silent man shows a great deal more sense.