Friday, April 2, 2010

No, I can't sing and kiss at the same time. Sorry!

I visited with my favorite Asian doctor/professional egg shaker this morning. He had with him an old prescription he had written from back in the day when he was a MD. Other than "Vitamin B", the rest of the prescription was written in Korean. Although I cannot speak the language, I can tell whether something is written in Korean vs. other Asian languages. "Dr. Lee," I said, "are you Korean??" His eyes lit up and a big smile appeared. "Oh, I am Korean!" "Me too!" I told him. His eyes lit up even bigger, and that's when the word garble came out. "Sheem shu guk ahm-ni-dah blah blah..." "I don't speak Korean, Dr. Lee!" I told him. Just as he began to look slightly disappointed, I quickly told him, "Ahn-yong ha sae yo!" and he quickly bounced back and said, "Oh! Ahn-yong!" I knew learning how to say 'hello' in Korean would come in handy eventually :) All I had to do was move to what I like to call The United State of Asia aka California. So. Many. Asians.

But anyway, I just love that 의사 (doctor). He loves it when I shake his hand and tell him what a good egg shaker he is. I gave him two egg shakers today: one for himself, and one for another resident. I told him to pick someone else to play the egg shaker today. Wouldn't you know he'd pick the only other Asian resident in the room (hehe). It was too cute. Her eyes brightened as she pointed to herself, as if saying "Who, me?" I placed the egg shaker in front of her and told her that the doctor has specially chosen her today. She picked up the shaker and gave it a couple good warm-up shakes.

Alright, the band is equipped, warmed-up, and ready to go. The guitar is (somewhat) in tune. Let's get this party started! Between the doc playin' the ba-jeebers out of the egg shaker and these two residents applauding me as if we were at Carnegie Hall, it was just a grand old time! That is, until we sang "Five Foot Two"... you never know what can of worms you'll open with some of these songs. They seem harmless, but then they trigger something or someone. One of my biggest fans raised his hand like a little school boy and said, "I'm 5'2"! I'm 5'2"! No, wait... 5'3"! I'm 5'3"! How tall are you???" "I'm 5'4"," I told him. "Oh, well I'm 5'3"!" he added again. So I said, "Well then, a 5'2" eyes of blue girl would be perfect for you!"

After I finished the next song, the old man school boy interrupted me mid-sentence to ask me if I saw him blowing kisses to me.

"No, I must've missed it," I said.
"Hey... hey!... can you kiss and play guitar and sing all at the same time???"

Ok. This has gone too far. I politely told him that it would be impossible to sing and kiss at the same time. Yeah, he looked disappointed, but serves him right for asking me questions like that! Sadly, he wasn't discouraged. He continued to blow me kisses in bunches of 50 or so. Just incessant air kisses. One after the other after the other. After the end of the next song, he said,

"You're 5'4" and I'm 5'3"... that's perfect!"
"I think I'm too tall for you."
"It's okay! I'll just stand on my tippy-toes!!"

Thankfully, just then, the aide told me to wrap it up so they could get ready for lunch. I had about enough of this man for one day. We sang a quick good-bye song, I collected the egg shakers, shook the doc's hand one more time, and gathered my things as efficiently as I could. As I left the room, I could hear the man behind me yelling, "You should stay all day! At least for a few hours! It'd be perfect!"

How persistent these old men can be!! No means no!

The middle of my day was spent at a very lovely open house, hosted by a new assisted living facility. They had a guest speaker give a presentation on Alzheimer's and Dementia. She is a geriatrician. (Think 'pediatrician' but for old people.) She was really funny and gave a wonderful presentation! The coolest thing about her was her wholistic approach to her practice. She sounded like she was advocating for the same things Music Therapy and Hospice advocate! (Natural, non-medicinal remedies [like MT] vs. strictly pharmacological treatments, and ensuring quality of life over a cure [hospice!!].)
Here's some notes I took:

MCI - Mild Cognitive Impairment
•Loss of memory
•Loss in language, spatial relations, or judgment
•Still able to function

Distinguishing types of Dementia
•storage vs. retrieval
•retrieval of some things more than others (personality, language, spatial skills, concentration)
•motor symptoms

Cognitive symptoms:
•personality change
•delusions - fixed, false belief (someone's stealing from me!)

Lewy Body Dementia
Frontal-Temporal Dementia
Vascular Dementia
Alzheimer's Disease

People w/ dementia in the US
10% of 65+
50% of 85+

Prescription as well as OTC drugs can make dementia worse

Goal: to enhance QOL and maximize function by improving cognition, mood, and behavior

Tips for CGs:
•DON'T argue, correct, confront
•DO distract and pay attention to emotional context rather than verbal context

My afternoon was spent at yes, that place I always go to. I saw our cute little looker once again. She was sitting right in the lobby entrance when I arrived. Her daughter decided to grab some lunch while I visited with her mother. She took the patient's purse off her lap and went off to lunch. Okay, just to remind you, this patient usually either is A.) sleeping or B.) looks at you sweetly and says "oh that's just lovely!" Today, I saw a whole new side of her. "BRING BACK MY POCKETBOOK!!" She was sooo mad!! For the next 10 minutes, all she could talk about was how badly she needed her pocketbook and how her daughter took it from her. Every time I said 'your daughter', she got mad all over again and screamed for her pocketbook. Even when I said a word that rhymed with her daughter's name, the same reaction was given. Finally she calmed down, and we sat and watched CNN together. The TV was blasting and the radio on the PA system was blaring, so I figured, heck with the music -- we'll just hang out today. And that's just what we did. We had a very lovely conversation. She understood what I was saying, and I understood (most) of what she said. She was extremely in-tune with everything today. What a change! The only inaccurate thing she told me was that she was over 100 years old. I said, "Oh wow! You must take really good care of yourself!" Really though, the gal's only 97. :) You don't want to start a confrontation or conflict. As the geriatrician said, find the emotion behind the words, then focus on that and try to make it better.

My last patient of the week was Miss Chicago. She loves to analyze the lyrics to songs, so we sang some of her favorite songs (Leavin on a Jet Plane, Can't Help Falling in Love) and talked about the words. We also sang some Catholic hymns in honor of the Easter season. She always thanks us for coming and says "I love you!" It may not seem like that big of a deal, but this lady is notorious in her facility for being a huge B*word -- with us though, she shows a much softer side. She introduces me to her teddy bears as if they're real people, and says things like, "I love you!" When considering the rougher side of her personality, I take to heart her 'I love you's' that much more. :)

Happy Easter!

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