Another day at work

We are called in for ‘inappropriate behavior’. Apparently, two residents at the nursing home have been making out. ‘On the bed’, gasps the person on the phone.

The irony of the situation hits me as we walk to the room. Are we expected to stop two adults who are more than twice my age from having consensual sex? Does dementia rid you of your libido? Is it supposed to?

He’s pleasant but adamant. ‘I’m not the Don Juan they are making me out to be.’

A pause.

‘There was this woman I loved. And lost. Now she’s here. We hold hands. You have to understand what its like for me to find her, again, after all these years.’

We wait.

‘ The only problem is, she goes by a different name now.’

 

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About purplesque

Psychiatrist, cook, bookworm, photographer. Not necessarily in that order.
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22 Responses to Another day at work

  1. LBeeeze says:

    Is this for real?? How pleasantly ironic!!

  2. Is it really inappropriate that two consenting adults are “making out,” or is it because they’re old and the thought of them having sex disgusts younger people? I think it’s delightful that this couple is able to enjoy each other’s company at this point of their lives. So many older people bemoan the fact that they are lonely but don’t expect they’ll ever have another partner in their lives.

  3. mizunogirl says:

    the only question is if, the dementia has robbed either of their ability to actually consent. But really! really. I often wonder about the staff at the SNF’s….they think in such a different way than the rest of the world. I do wish though, they would concentrate on recognizing the signs of urosepsis more than worrying about who is “Making out” with whom….. (that was my week.)

    • purplesque says:

      You’re right. At some places, its harder to get consistent inputs and outputs on a frail patient than to get a play-by-play report on who said what. Thankfully, not all SNFs are alike.

  4. Zottavox says:

    Let the games begin, in my opinion. Good post, S. If the one or the other doesn’t continue to enjoy it and complains(I doubt it, but), then you all could agree to regroup on the issue. The joys of old age become so much more subtle, I think you’re right not to want to interfere.

  5. Lakshmi says:

    ‘ The only problem is, she goes by a different name now.’

    Did you laugh or cry when you heard that?
    I laughed when I read it and then got all choked up. Did that happen to you too?

  6. M-----l says:

    Like many of your work stories, this one is both humorous and depressing at the same time. Hurry up and post a pretty picture of soup so I don’t have to think about my potentially inappropriate reaction to the story’s punchline.

  7. rlbates says:

    My thoughts mirror mizunogirl “the only question is if, the dementia has robbed either of their ability to actually consent. But really! really” and Lakshmi “‘ The only problem is, she goes by a different name now.’ Did you laugh or cry when you heard that?”

  8. Peggikaye says:

    I laughed, then teared up .. what a lovely sentiment

  9. Boston Margy says:

    Ooops.

  10. phantomxii says:

    Yeah, I tried that “she goes by a different name now” thing with the judge, but I still got slapped with a restraining order. 😀

    There was some movie—late eighties, I think—where a couple of crooks got out of prison after a long sentence, and, failing to find a place in society, wound up in a retirement home, where the martinet in charge got mad at one of them for getting busy with the ladies. A comedy, but the point was the same: do old people somehow give up the right to be human?

    • purplesque says:

      Do old people somehow give up the right to be human? Do psychotic people? Are drug addicts bad people and therefore deserve what’s coming to them? If someone thinks their life is over because they have metastatic cancer and now they just want to die, does that make them crazy?

      In some situations, that is the assumption. On the flip side, fighting such assumptions is what makes this job worthwhile.

  11. Nursing staff do love rules don’t they? I know they have to keep order but for heaven sake, people have rights.
    You are my hero.

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