One of my roommates, freshly returned from a nursing home to visit a family friend, just asked me “How in God’s name I’m specializing in Adult/Geri for NP practice”. Well, a few reasons, actually. I really, really love older people. They’re funny and wise and have a much better sense of propriety than most people in my generation do. When they DO loosen up, they’re HILARIOUS. I had a patient recently who was kind of a hit with the unit in the hospital, and one of the doctors joked that she’d like to hang out with her sometime (she was 94 years old). The lady replied, “Only if you can drink, missy.” I loved it.
There’s more to it though. My own grandfather was one of the most polite and honorable people that I knew. I always smiled when he would tip his hat (yes, I said tip his hat) when he passed a lady on the street. I think he didn’t even know he was doing it after a while, it was just a reflex. He was a fire chief for many many years, and even after all of his work, he rarely glorified the job or made himself look like a hero. In fact, he made it look like his duty in life; as if there were no question that he should have done that job and that he should have done it extraordinarily well.
That is the difference between that generation and ours. I often feel as though people our age are looking for self-fulfillment, to be “happy”, to make sure everything goes exactly their way. With the older generation, however, there is clearly a sense of duty and purpose in their work. They went through the depression and had to work for everything they had. Self fulfillment was a hard day’s work and being committed to your family. So, when I was thinking about a specialty, I realized that they’ve been working so hard all of their lives, I would like to make their hospital stays (or outpatient visits, whatever- haven’t quite figured that one out yet) a little bit nicer.
On a much less profound note, I just made a massive batch of oreo brownies for Michael’s birthday. Dear Michael, my teachers would call these “a ticket to the diabetes train”… at least it’ll be a fun ride!