Advocacy, Annie & Cricket, Antipsychotic drugs, NHBPS

save our souls and help us please

save our souls and help us please

This is the fourth 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 dementia.

The first vignette is here; it provides background to this series, which also includes:

The 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 entitled “save our souls.”


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save our souls

I feel so lonely in this place full of strangers. I don’t understand how or why I’m here, or when I’ll be able to leave. I keep telling people I want to go home.

“This is your home now,” they say, or: “We’ll go this afternoon, or tomorrow, or next week,” they say. But they don’t take me. They don’t believe me when I tell them this is not my home. I miss Mummy, and my dad. I miss my sisters. Where is everybody? I feel so sad and lonely. I sit here waiting. Watching. An old lady in a wheelchair rolls down the hall. It takes her long time. A long time. She stops in front of me.

“Where’s Rosie? We gotta get dinner started,” she says.

Who’s Rosie?” I ask.

“The dark k-k-k-kimble closes the market it goes,” she says. I don’t understand. What does she mean? I think I’m losing my mind. Everything and everyone in this place is crazy. My head aches. My stomach feels sick. Why is my leg sore? Why is there a bandage on my arm? Who is taking care of my kids? I have to get home to make their lunch. I’m a busy lady. I have work to do. I have to get out of here. A young woman walks by. I reach out, grab her hand. Maybe she can take me home.

“What do you want, Annie?” she says.

“I don’t feel well. I want to go home.”

“You’re fine,” she says. “This is your home now – remember?”

“No, it’s not,” I start to cry. “Please take me home.”

“You’ll be fine. Don’t worry,” she says and walks on. I’m not fine. I’m not fine. Why won’t anyone do anything Ding. Ding. Ding. A bell rings. Ding. Ding. Ding.

“Helllppp! Helllppp!” Someone calls from somewhere. Whoever it is is in trouble. Whoever it is is afraid. Somebody should do something; but no one seems to care. No one answers. “Helllppp! Helllppp!” The person who is afraid calls again. Maybe I can help. Maybe I can do something. Maybe she’s hurt. Maybe she needs to go to the bathroom. I stand up.

“Annie, sit down,” a voice beside me says. “You’re not allowed to stand up, dear. Sit down please. Dinner is in an hour. But right now you need to sit down.”

© Susan Macaulay / 2016

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