Thursday, June 5, 2008

Mike and I got to work with the Department of Senior Services today. We went on three home visits with a nurse and project coordinator, who along with another nurse, make up the Crisis Team on Aging. They get phone calls from neighbors, family members, and city employees who are concerned for the health and safety of elderly residents.

The first call involved a very paranoid woman who thought that enemies from her past (which, when described, were just people she didn't like) were spraying a chemical into her apartment. She called it terrorism, and she was very irritated that the FBI hadn't done anything yet.

The second call was a 90 year old woman who was living in horrible conditions. The nurse we were with gave us Vick's VapoRub to put under our noses, but this did nothing to ward off the unbelievable feces smell that pervaded the entire apartment. The woman refused to leave her home, but because her son was there, she was experiencing dementia, and her legs were swelled up to twice what they should have been, they called an ambulance to take her to the hospital.

The third case, pictured above, was a woman who was sleeping in her car at night. She was sitting in the car when we arrived, wearing a coat despite the hot day. She told us that the neighbors were stealing her social security check, and that they take blood from her eyes at night. Two police officers entered the dark house, and feeling adventurous, I followed them in. I felt like I was in Silence of the Lambs. We also found out that she is the wife of a prominent Chicago bluesman, which I think is true because she had photos, had the same last name, and there was music equipment in the house. An ambulance came for her, and our day of fascinating old people adventure was done.

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