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Losing Patients

Discussion in 'General Issues and Discussion Forum' started by Nat Smith, Dec 8, 2009.

  1. Nat Smith

    Nat Smith Active Member

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    I just found out today that my oldest patient died...she was 111 yrs old. I'd been seeing her for about 2yrs in one of my ACF's. In that whole time, she has never been able to really communicate with me due to her dementia, but I always talked to her as if she knew what was going on. I just find it really strange that she won't be there anymore. I turned up today and someone else is already in her bed.

    I had another patient pass away about a month ago too...him and his wife used to come in and feel compelled to bring me biscuits and cakes every visit. I'm yet to see his wife back yet on her own, but that too will feel really weird.

    I'm sure many of you have had the same thing happen. We see people of all ages, but it's those regular favourites or memorable cantankerous ones that we'll never forget...
  2. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    Reminds me of one a number of years ago. Had being seeing her regularly and on a visit she told me that she won't be coming back to see me again. My immediate reaction was to think to myself "what have I done this time!", Turned out she only had a matter of weeks to live.

    When I taught the gerontology here at LTU, I always related that story. Thats why they need to study gerontology (and the death and dying part ot it).
  3. Graham

    Graham RIP

    I had a great old chap in my Leicester days. Saw him every month, nasty feet. One appointment he didn't show. Not like him. I eventually called his home, his wife answered, she said he was on his way to see his chiropodist! I didn't say who I was. I called the local emergency. They had picked up an older gentleman who died at the bus stop. They couldn't ID him so I gave them his details.

    The head Nurse called back a few hours later and thanked me for the information.

    I have always missed that gentleman.
  4. Some time ago I was treating bilateral heel ulcerations in an infirm lady in a nursing home in Great Yarmouth. She had an interesting history - she was parachuted into France during the German occupation and assisted the French Resistance - and on her return to London, she was co-opted into the War Cabinet as Winston Churchill's Personal Assistant, later accompanying him to Yalta for the signing of the peace treaty with Roosevelt and Stalin.

    When I saw her she couldn't walk unaided and needed assistance to get to the bathroom. However, in May 1995 she managed to get out of bed one night and walk a mile and a half to a local cemetery where she lay down atop a nondescript grave and died. A police investigation followed and it was discovered the grave was that of a young woman who died in May 1945 - and papers found in her possession indicated that the pair were in fact lovers (despite the fact that she later married and had three children). Eerily, it transpired that both women died on the same date in May - 50 years apart!

    I guess if we are lucky, many patients become more than just a name on a record card and certainly my life has been tremendously enriched by these relationships. However, the corrollarly
  5. Boots n all

    Boots n all Well-Known Member

    We loose one or two a year, its the nature of our client base. old, frail or just health complications that never end.
    But we did loose one this year which took us by suprize, he would come in every12 weeks (or more)to get another repair done to his work boots, age 70 (+) and still doing a lawn mowing rounds in Research and Eltham, both very steep areas, how many times can you cut the boot with the whipper sniper and never your toes?
    Every time he came in you would have to hear one of his jokes, not always the sort you want to hear, but never the less you always listen, l though he would have run out eventually, but then one time he bought me in 40 hand written pages of his jokes.

    The first we knew of the lose was a Detective standing in our store wanting to interview me, he was lost in the recent bushfires at Kinglake, we thought he might have as he had not kept his appointment that morning of the bushfire.

    We send a card with our condolences when we hear of these events but never attend the funerals.
  6. How weird - the site "froze" when writing the above post and when I rebooted the post was lost and didn't appear in the thread. Six hours later it appears - incomplete! Very strange!!

    Unlike David, I do attend patient funerals where appropriate and when invited.
  7. PowerPodiatry

    PowerPodiatry Active Member

    I call my patients living history and deeply appreciate the fact that they share their lives with me.
    I have been doing this long enough to say I have treated patients that fought in the Boer war. One of many of my centenarians once related her tale of the 3 world wars and when i was arrogant enough to correct her I was set straight.
    When she was a little girl all the bright young men went off on a great adventure to darkest Africa and she was so keen to hear the stories when they came back. She said this was WW1 to her because it changed her world.

    Then as a young women she experienced WW2 (ww1 to us) and because her world had already been changed forever she had come to realise to love men is to love war and she would not talk to me further about this war.

    I thought this was the end of my lesson but a big smile came across her face and she told me how change never seems to leave you alone.
    She told me not of WW3 but of love for her husband. In WW3 her husband dug an air raid shelter then planted a vegetable garden over it to hide the entrance. The problem was that when you watered the garden it would fill up with water. Her love and pride in her husband was so great that she never told him.

    In her words "If a war changes your world then it is a WORLD WAR and you better not cut my toe like you did last time".
  8. irish frank

    irish frank Member

    i love this thread,living history is the only way to see the seniors who visit us,
    when working in the uk several yearsago,I had the pleasure of treating a truly extraordinary gentleman, as a japanese P.O.W he was slave labouring in nagasaki/hiroshima( i cant remember which) when the bomb was dropped,the fact that he was imprisoned underground saved him. I certainly value hearing these interesting reminicences.
  9. markjohconley

    markjohconley Well-Known Member

    If I can change that thread title to "Lost Patients" then this post is relevant.
    I had an old patient, of deteriorating mental health and habit to dress 'extravagently'. Well I was on the other side of town when I met him in the local shopping plaza. We had our usual animated conversation, with many a side glance in our direction by passing shoppers. We parted wishing each other the best. I'm driving back home when on the radio came this missing person call asking for assistance. The police had been alerted that this gent had gone missing and asked for assistance. They then described him as "...., wearing a bright red fez, leopard-skin top and dark-coloured lycra bicycle shorts, ..." with the caller having difficulty completing the call and keeping her composure! The same ensemble he was wearing back at the plaza. Bless them, not my only 'wandering' client, but an occasion which is readily recalled.
    (Yes I contacted the police, and Yes he couldn't recall it at his next appointment)

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