Ch.119 Good News: Pat Lodges a Complaint and Makes Two Requests

Ch.119 Good News: Pat Lodges a Complaint and Makes Two Requests

          December 2021

Part One: The Complaint.

          I entered The Refuge at the usual time, about 11:15 a.m. Pat was in her chair just ahead of me. Pat looks angry, I told myself as I approached. Indeed, Pat’s jaw was tight, and she was grimly staring straight ahead. “How are you doing?” I asked. “So, so” Pat replied. “Are you angry?” I tried. “Yes, I am” was the response. Pat was angry because the staff had gotten her out of bed and dressed just before I had arrived, against her wishes. Pat then declared “and if you don’t take a stand…,” meaning that she wanted me to do something on her behalf. I needed to be Pat’s advocate. My hope was to find a way to advocate for Pat without antagonizing the staff.

          I decided to tell Diane, the memory care nurse, that Pat was angry, and to ask her to speak directly with Pat. Diane agreed. She immediately walked over to Pat’s wheelchair. Diane explained to Pat that they had gotten her up because she had a doctor’s appointment today and she was going to be picked up by a transport van at 12:30. Pat wouldn’t have had time for lunch if they hadn’t awakened her. Pat heard Diane’s explanation; I could see her relaxing a little, although she was still upset. Let me add that normally the staff would have let Pat stay in bed if she so desired. They usually honor the resident’s wants, which is as it should be. Pat did have time to eat a good lunch which she finished just before the transport van arrived at The Refuge.

          Pat had felt disrespected and certainly had the right to complain. She needed to be heard.

Part Two: Two Requests.

          Our Sunday family zoom session was scheduled the next day after Pat made her complaint. Pat listened attentively during the zoom session, and she was able to make two requests: 1) she asked our daughter Jenny to bake her a brownie; 2) she asked for help so Pat could see her granddaughter Elizabeth play the French horn during a senior high school concert. I believe these requests, like yesterday’s complaint, were definite signs that Pat has been feeling and thinking better recently. I attribute this positive change to Pat being out of pain and therefore having more physical energy and mental alertness.


Pat’s comments on: Good News: Pat Lodges a Complaint and Makes Two Requests.

          Ron: “Pat, do you think they heard you when you complained?”

          Pat: “It’s hard to evaluate. I do think they do things I want them to.”

          Ron: “What about the two requests you made at our zoom session. Did that feel good?”

          Pat: “Yeah, although it was hard to say what had all occurred” [translation: “It was hard to tell them what I wanted.”]