Ilene

“Good Luck.” They giggled. I stared back, trying to grasp what the two CNAs I was working with meant. One shower. How hard can it be? I knew I was to help one of my residents. But I never expected her to show me what life is all about.

Ilene. One of our more “interesting” residents, who’s known for her swearing, head shakes, and spitting. I confidently strolled up to her as she relaxed in her chair. “Ilene, would you like to take a shower?”
“No!” she shrieked.
“Why not? It would feel good to have a nice shower before bed.”
“Go away.”
That was the only response I was going to get. I tried three more times. I offered to give her a back massage, to paint her nails and even to make a hot fudge sundae (I usually get them on the sundae every time). Nothing. Discouraged, I went back to the other CNA’s for insight.
“You’re on your own for this one Lex, we have been working for years and still can’t get her to want to take a shower.”
Great.
I winced at asking her again. But it had to be done. I sat down next to her and held her hand. I began asking her questions – questions I had never had time to ask her before. We talked about her daughter, her past careers, and her favorite memories (mainly about her daughter – a dean!). I told her about my sister and showed her some pictures. I even told her the story of how I had a large bruise on my leg from when I slipped on the ice. It was the first time I heard her laugh.

I got her to take the shower. But I don’t consider that my reward. I discovered moments worth my time don’t come easy; they take effort, patience, and dedication. I could have given up and reported her refusal. But I would have missed getting to know her. She showed me life isn’t about having the answers, it’s about finding them.





Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

rose t. said...
Jan. 21, 2011 at 12:12 pm
I'm impressed with both with your tenancity and personal approach.  You saw her as a person - not a difficult patient - and you both were better for it.  Kudos!
 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback