Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Paying It Forward

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Paying It Forward

Article excerpt

I was 14 when my grandmother fell and broke her hip. She went to the emergency department by ambulance from the restaurant we were at, and Dad took me to the hospital with him. He was an only child, and not a medical person. He was very worried.

There, Grandma looked older and more frail than usual. She and my dad were both anxious when told she'd need surgery.

Then the orthopedic surgeon came in. Tall and confident, he was initially quite imposing. But he was polite and had a great bedside manner. He calmed my dad and grandmother down, explained what needed to be done, and was reassuring. After surgery, he came to the waiting room to let us know things had gone well. 1 remember how impressed Dad and I both were.

Now, here was that surgeon again, on the other side of my desk. Arthritis had taken away some of his height. But he still carried himself with a proud dignity.

His family had brought him to me for worsening memory problems. He thought he was still in practice, although he had retired years ago. He didn't remember his address, what city we were in, or what a clock looked like.

You hear families talk about how much Alzheimer's disease takes away from a loved one, but you rarely have the opportunity in a practice to see for yourself. …

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