Stories from the Tenth-Floor Clinic: A Nurse Practitioner Remembers
Up on the tenth floor of a twenty story building controlled by the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA), in a dilapidated one bedroom apartment, Marianna Crane initiated and operated a senior-health clinic. This is back in the 1980s when the word gerontology was still new to the medical lexicon and sounded somewhat alien to the youthful public. As a nurse practitioner familiar with senior medical problems from her past experience, this intrepid health-care worker undertook the daunting charge of administering basic health services to the older indigents of Chicago. This is her story of dealing with governmental red tape and of how she managed to treat the basic needs of her impoverished clients–from those suffering with cardiac malfunctions, end-stage cancers, alcoholism, dementia, malnutrition, isolation, and so many other problems. These short stories familiarize the reader with the health problems that afflict the aged, vividly describe her frustrations in her attempts to assuage some of the difficulties, and closely detail the complications wrought by bureaucratic indifference. While she copes with many of her outside patients’ problems, she admits that she is outwitted when handling her own difficult mother. This nurse practitioner’s account of her experience brings to light the still-unsettling social problem of caring for the aging population. Her frequent venting of exasperation with the coworkers, conditions, and administrators that hinder her intentions tend to somewhat alienate the reader from the writer.
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