Super Septuagenarians

So, things are much different since the last time I checked in.

This time last month I was working with critically ill patients in the ICU at a hospital in Savannah, GA.  I’m now one month into my next clinical rotation at a skilled nursing facility close to home here in North Carolina.  I have to say that two months of working in the ICU with patients connected to everything from ventilators to chest tubes has made the patients I am working with now (mostly 70+ years old) seem indestructible with superhuman-like strength and endurance.

It took me a few days to adjust to being able to walk with a patient without needing 15 minutes just to make them ‘portable’ first.  The lesson here is that it’s all relative!

So far my experience is going very well.  I’m really enjoying working with this population much more than I anticipated that I would.  The patients I work with are, for the most part, eager to participate in therapy and a pleasure to be around.

For example, one of my patients is sharp as a tack at well over 85-years-old and we’ve really developed a great rapport together.  Here’s an example of a recent exchange we’ve had:

Patient: “Well hello, there!  How’s your day going?”

Me (in an overly dramatic theatrical way): “Oh, you know, treated some patients, ate some lunch, treated some more patients.  How ‘bout yours?”

Patient (equally as dramatic): “Oh, you know, had some therapy, ate some lunch, had some more therapy.”

I’m glad that this program requires us to gain clinical experience in various settings because you really never know where you might find your niche.  If there were no restrictions on where we did our clinical rotations I probably would have focused on the outpatient setting and I would have missed out on some great experiences that have really opened my eyes to other options that are out there and that will make me a more rounded clinician regardless of where I ultimately end up.


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