That’s Not Going To Cruci-fix This

, , , , , | Healthy | June 5, 2018

(I work in the dementia section of a senior living community. We have one resident who is known for her paranoid delusions and her visions of a religious nature. When dementia patients express beliefs that diverge from reality — e.g. that their long-dead spouse is waiting for them in the car, that they are the owner of the facility, etc. — it’s rarely helpful to correct their delusion, because it just makes them more agitated. We just try to keep them safe and calm, and redirect their attention if possible. Sometimes it’s not possible, though.)

Resident: “Did you see them?”

Me: “Did I see what, [Resident]?”

Resident: “The babies. They’re all dead. Satan killed them all, and they’re outside my window.”

Me: “No, I didn’t see them. But I wasn’t looking out the window. Say, [Resident], would you like to join the others in the rec room? We’re having a snack and a singalong.”

Resident: “Attack? Why would I attack you?”

Me: “No, a snack.”

Resident: “No snakes!”

Me: “Okay, how about the chapel? Should we go to the chapel? You could pray for the babies.”

Resident: “Yes, the chapel, that’s good. Let’s go to the chapel.”

(We go to the chapel, which has been known to have a calming effect on this resident in the past.)

Me: “Okay, let’s just have a seat and pray.”

Resident: “TOOL OF SATAN!”

(I turn, just in time to duck the three-foot-long, brass crucifix that is being swung towards my head. The resident, a small, frail lady, apparently snatched it from the altar, and is wielding it like a pick-axe, and her face is contorted in a red ball of rage.)

Resident: “Out! Out, you tool of Satan! You have no power here!”

Me: *knowing that saying, “I’m not a tool of Satan,” isn’t going to convince her of anything* “Oh, s***.”

(I turned and ran. My coworkers heard the commotion, and laughed heartily at the sight of a 6’2″, 250-pound man fleeing from a crucifix-wielding woman half my size. For the rest of my time there, one coworker refused to address me as anything but “Tool of Satan.”)

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