“The Adventures of
Starring Dr. El as
There have been thousands of movies and TV shows about the exciting work of cops, lawyers, and hospitals, but long-term care? Fuhgeddaboutit!
Here, Dr. El aims to correct that oversight with a show that reveals the versatility and pragmatism of a nursing home psychologist willing to do what it takes to meet the needs of her residents.
Act 1, Scene 1
In today’s episode, Dr. El walks into 85-year old resident Frank Corolla’s nursing home room. His bed is neatly made and the curtain is drawn between his bed and his neighbor’s in their semi-private room. Mr. Corolla is sitting in his chair in his pajamas and bathrobe, listening to the radio.
Dr. El (in a loud voice): Hey, Mr. Corolla! It’s Dr. El. How are you doing today?
Mr. Corolla (looking sad): Not good.
Dr. El (sitting on the edge of the bed): What’s the matter?
Mr. Corolla: My eyes are hurting me so bad I was crying today.
Dr. El: Did that help?
Mr. Corolla: No.
Dr. El: I’m sorry to hear that. I’ll talk to the nurse. I’ll be right back.
Act 1, Scene 2
Dr. El appears at the nursing station and waits while the nurse finishes her phone call. The nurse hangs up.
Nurse: How are you, Dr. El? How can I help you?
Dr. El: Well, I’m good, thanks, but Mr. Corolla eyes are hurting him so badly he was crying today. I wrote a note for the doctor last week but I don’t see any follow up. Do you know what’s happening with that?
Nurse (looking in the computer): I don’t see anything from the doctor. I’ll call the nurse practitioner.
Dr. El: Thanks!
Act 1, Scene 3
Dr. El runs into the nurse in the stairwell.
Dr. El: Were you able to reach the nurse practitioner?
Nurse: Yes. She put in an order to see the ophthalmologist.
Dr. El: Awesome!
Act 2, Scene 1
Dr. El walks into Ms. Johnson’s room and finds her frantically rummaging through her closet with one hand. With the other, she holds on to the wall. She looks like she’s about to fall.
Dr. El: Ms. Johnson! Are you OK? What are you doing?
Ms. Johnson (looking up with tears in her eyes): I was looking for a shirt I wanted to wear and look how they do my things! All crammed in here like they was nothing! They’s something to me. They’s all I got.
The camera pans to the closet, filled with hangers and clothes sticking out every which way. Some clothes are on the floor.
Dr. El: Here, let me help you. You have a seat over here and you can direct me.
Act 2, Scene 2
Dr. El is holding a bunch of empty hangers and some clothes belonging to other residents. The camera pans over the closet again, showing a neat row of hangers and shoes arranged on the floor.
Ms. Johnson (beaming): Well, don’t that look nice! I didn’t know them other people’s things were in there. Now I can find what I need. You’s like my own daughter to me, God rest her soul!
Dr. El: It’s my pleasure, Ms. Johnson. I hope someone does this for me when it’s my turn.
[The audience ooohs and aaahs.]
Act 3, Scene 1
Dr. El is pressing buttons on a mobile phone in Ms. Rivera’s bedroom.
Ms. Rivera (from her wheelchair): See, I told you there was something wrong with it! I haven’t been able to call my sister in days. She’s half-blind, you know. She’s going to be worried about me.
Dr. El: You’re right, Ms. Rivera, it’s not charging even though it’s plugged in. Would you like to use my cell phone to call your sister?
Act 3, Scene 2
Ms. Rivera (talking into Dr. El’s cell phone): My phone is broken, that’s why I couldn’t call … No, I’m fine … I can only talk but a minute because my doctor is letting me use her phone. I just wanted to let you know I’m OK … All right … All right … You take care of yourself now.
Ms. Rivera (hanging up and smiling at Dr. El): My sister’s OK!
Act 3, Scene 3
Dr. El is in the social work office, standing by the desk of Ms. Rivera’s social worker.
Dr. El: I just wanted to let you know that Ms. Rivera’s cell phone isn’t working. I helped her call her sister, but she’s anxious to get her telephone fixed.
Social Worker: I’ll call her niece who takes care of the bill and let her know.
[The crowd goes wild.]
Tune in next time for more exciting episodes of
Eleanor Feldman Barbera, PhD, is a 2014 Award of Excellence winner in the Blog Content category of the APEX Awards for Publication Excellence program. She also is the Gold Medalist in the Blog-How To/Tips/Service category of the 2014 American Society of Business Publication Editors Midwest Regional competition. A consultant with nearly 20 years of experience as a psychologist in long-term care, she maintains her own award-winning website at MyBetterNursingHome.com.