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The interview of my well elder went vey well. I felt that D.T.

has had
a very interesting and fulfilling life. My impression of him was that he looks
and feels pretty good considering the entire medical complications he’s
encountered over his life. Because I have known D.T for about fifteen years,
it was fascinating how much I didn’t know about him. Due to the fact that
he’s my father-in-law, I feel very fortunate to have taken the time to do this.
I now have a recording of D.T.’s legacy that I can pass on to my children and
grand children. So many times in today’s society legacies are not told and
become forgotten.
One communication barrier that I used was false reassurance. D.T. has
been very ill in the past and I found myself saying that everything will be
fine when in reality he lives day to day due to his heart condition. The
therapeutic communication skills I used were using silence so he had a
chance to really tell his story without interruptions and asking open ended
questions to prompt him to open up. The interview lasted about an hour and
a half but the time went very quickly. It’s amazing what people go through in
life and how they perceive it.
My client was really open and willing to tell me about his life. There
were times when he became openly emotional and other times when he was
laughing because maybe he hadn’t thought of these times for a long time. At
other times in the interview, he was honest about how close to death he was
and how afraid he has been of dying.
D.T. has adjusted to aging well even with all the medical problems
he’s has in the past. He can still golf, fish and camp but other activities he
enjoyed in the past he has had to let go of like basketball & football. He
must be careful with activities that may stress his heart because he lives in a
constant state of Atrial Fibrillation and his heart can quickly go into
Ventricular Tachycardia. He is still able to drive but knows when they travel
that they’re only able to drive six to eight hours before they have to stop
overnight. The knowledge deficits I noticed were that he hasn’t had a
nutritional assessment for at least five years; there are some safety deficits in
their house such as no grab bars in the bath tub or risers on the toilet but I
intend on helping get some of these items installed. They also live on the
second floor so they have to go up two flights of stairs during the regularly
therefore winter safety is an issue that I have addressed with them.
The interview took place in the morning at D.T.’s over a hot cup of
coffee. He grew up in a small town in North Dakota called Wahpeton. He
married a local girl and had two boys. After attending a local college in
Moorhead, MN he moved back to Wahpeton where he worked at Wahpeton
schools for thirty four years as a teacher, principal and superintendent. He
started all girls athletics in the city of Wahpeton and enjoyed all aspects of
teaching. He had his first heart attack in 1979 and was physically dead on
the table before he was brought back to life. In 1980 he lost his first wife
Donna to ovarian cancer. He then met and married his current wife Stacey in
1981. His second heart attack occurred in 1997 and they placed a
defibrillator at that time. He also had a heart ablation done to remove
substances that were making his heart race. Two years later he became very
ill with complications from a reaction to Amioderone which put him in a
drug induced coma for two weeks. He’s had colon and prostate cancer
several times. In 2005, he had a subdural hematoma due to his Coumadin
use. He was rushed to St. Anthony’s Central where they preformed brain
surgery. He beat the odds and fully recovered without any complications.
He’s lives day to day but has had little complications in the past three years.
He lives with his wife and dog Maddie in an apartment in Westminster. I feel
his positive attitude and medical compliance makes him a well elder.
His idea of health and old age are that you live each day to the fullest
doing what you can, stay active everyday and thank God for all you’ve been
given. His grandchildren keep him young and he lives to be with them. His
medications are really the reason he’s able to continue everyday. He takes as
many as seventeen meds per day. He listens to physicians and tries to
comply with what they tell them. They maintain independence because they
really eat properly, exercise accordingly and get out when they can to have
fun.