Advocacy, Annie & Cricket, Antipsychotic drugs, NHBPS, Toward better care

stop! in the name of love

Stop sign across door painterly

This is one in a series of vignettes based on the Nursing Home Behaviour Problem Scale (NHBPS), which is used to measure agitation in people who live with dementiaThe vignettes are told from the point of view and in the voice of a fictional character called Annie, a woman in her mid-eighties who lives with dementia of the Alzheimer’s type in the mid- to later-stages of the disease. Annie resides in a long-term care facility somewhere in Canada.This vignette is called “places to go, people to see.” I believe we should swap the stop signs for places to go, things to do and people to see. There’s a link to a full list of all the vignettes at the end of the post.

Teepa thin banner

places to go, people to see

I’m tired of sitting in this chair at the end of the hall. I’ve got to get going. I’ve got things to do, people to see. I feel restless. I need to move. I stand up. I wait. The girls usually tell me to sit down. But there are no girls here right now. No one to tell me what to do. Good.

The hall has doors on either side. I can walk, but not as fast as I used to. I’m a little unsteady on my feet. I hold the railing so I won’t fall down. I hear clapping and shouting. It sounds like it’s coming from one of the rooms. It’s this one. The door is open. There’s no stop sign. I wonder what’s going on?

“You’ve got $500 in your hand right now,” a man’s voice says. “Do you want to hold onto the $500, or do you want whatever is in the box on the stage? It’s up to you.”

The clapping and shouting get louder. I turn into the room. I’d like to have $500, that’s a lot of money.

“I’m going to go for the box,” a woman’s voice says. I see her now, jumping up and down. She’s small and dressed funny. People are screaming and yelling, screaming and yelling. They’re all crazy. Screaming and yelling, screaming and yelling.

“Are you sure?” says the man. “You want to give up the $500 in your hand for what’s in the box?” The small woman looks over her shoulder. There must be someone behind her. Maybe it’s the people who are screaming and yelling. She looks up at the man.

“Yes! Yes! I’m going for the box!” The woman jumps up and down, up and down. There’s an old man sleeping in a big chair. How can he sleep with all this racket? It’s too noisy. I’m getting out of here. Turn around. This looks like a hall. I don’t see anyone. I wonder what’s down there? A room. The door’s open, but there’s a stop sign. I pull on the stop sign; it falls to the floor. I walk inside. It’s quiet except for a beep, beep, beep that sounds like it’s coming from somewhere else. There’s a bed. It looks like someone’s lying in it. Probably asleep. An old lady sits in a chair. She stares at me, and then she waves.

“Hello,” I say. “I’m Annie.”

“Get out,” she says. “Go away. Get out!” Why is she being so mean? I haven’t done anything wrong. I don’t understand. A voice behind me says: “Annie, this is Lizzie’s and Edna’s room. You’re not supposed to be in here.” I feel a hand on my elbow, a body next to mine. It’s one of the girls.

“Come with me Annie,” she says. “You’re not allowed in here. Let’s go back out into the hall.”

“I don’t want to go back out into to the hall,” I say.

“Yes, you do,” the girl says. “Lizzie doesn’t want you in here. Come on. Let’s go.”

She turns me around. I try not to, but I can’t help it: I start to cry.


©2016 Susan Macaulay /

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