Book Report- A Funny Thing Happened on my way to the Dementia Ward

Topics: Certified Nursing Assistant, Nursing, Nursing assistant skills Pages: 3 (625 words) Published: May 26, 2014
Charles Schoenfeld, retired in 2003 as a UPS truck driver then took classes to be a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). He passed the exam and began working at a dementia care facility where he says, “I fit right in.” During one of Chuck’s last visits to his mother’s apartment he slipped and fell on the kitchen floor she had just “washed” with Crisco Oil. Chuck and his wife, Maggie, persuaded her to move in with them. During the Wisconsin winters, his mother lived with her daughter, Jean, in warmer Texas. When their mother’s health declined further, they moved her into a dementia unit a block away from their own home. As often happens when visiting a family member in a nursing home, Chuck also spent time with other residents. What makes him unique though, is this military veteran and UPS driver was so moved that he changed careers at age 56 to become a CNA. For the next six-plus years, he made the hard work fun. He described one day as a collage of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Mission Impossible, and Rocky. He learned to redirect Mabel when her piercing screams for the police made him hope they would arrive after she used her walker as a weapon. The book is written humbly, honestly, and vividly, admitting that one of the greatest obstacles he had to overcome were his own insecurities. For one, he could never quite get through helping residents with their “personal cares,” such as toileting. However, he did have to do them from time to time. He was mostly called upon to do the other hard work like calming combative residents. He writes about nursing assistants who work hard and long hours, often working overtime to make ends meet. They duck, dodge, sometimes take direct hits, and still continue working which is just a testament to how much they care. He talked about Little Lila, who was in her late nineties and had no visitors but was “lovingly feisty.” Silly antics with former school teacher Frieda who knew better despite Chuck’s request for her to copy a...
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