Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Bird With Arthritis

Once a year, the insurance company that holds my mother's long term healthcare policy sends a letter to her primary care physician asking for her current medical status. They also contract with an independent nurse to make a house call and ask general questions about her physical and mental capabilities, assess her needs, and then provide them with a report. The interview takes about an hour.

This questioning puts mom in a foul mood. As she sits and listens, I tell the nurse that she needs help fixing her dinner, getting in/out of the shower, etc. In Mom's mind, she can do all of these things and gets angry that I'm lying about her. And, not only am I lying, but we're telling a stranger about things that are clearly none of their business.

During the interview, when asked about the shower set up, I responded that we have a shower chair, hand held shower wand, and a grip bar to facilitate her bathing.

Mom: [Miffed.] Well, I'd like to see that.

The aide brought her into the bathroom and showed her. Of course, it doesn't register.

As things went on, I tried to involve her more in the answers to see if that would cause her less irritation.

Nurse: Does she have any signs of arthritis?

Me: [To Mom.] Why don't you hold up your hands and show her your fingers?

Mom likes to show off her fingers with the arthritic crooked knuckles. In fact, normally she's kinda proud of them. A badge of honor, I suppose, after decades of typing as a secretary.

Not today. Mom flipped her the bird.

The good news is that mother dear can perform math functions! As part of the questioning, the nurse asked her to subtract 3 from 17. If she was correct, she'd continue to ask her to subtract 3 from the result. Mom went to 14, to 11, to 8, to 5, and to 2 when the quiz ended. Go Mom!

1 comment:

Doralong said...

Bless her heart. And bless you Gavin for being such a good son.