Gary Tetz

A group of very fine long-term care people and I just spent the last 10 days in Nicaragua.  I’ll blog about why we went in a future installment, but first need to share the most important lesson learned on the trip.

They have gravity down there.

On day two, while staring through a video camera viewfinder and not being careful where my little feet were going, I took a spill. Went boom. Rolled my ankle. Felt a disturbing pop. Hit the ground hard. Remained earthbound for a considerable period of time.

Eventually, a compassionate soul helped me to my feet and I spent the next week hobbling around Central America in a protective boot or rolling in a wheelchair. On the trip back, the simultaneous luxury and humiliation of being wheeled through airports was followed by a full swab-and-grope by a TSA supervisor after the boot set off an orange-level alert.

Now back home, I’m personally discovering first-hand a concept that was strictly abstract before. It’s something called activities of daily living — ADLs as we ALPs (acronym-loving people) affectionately refer to them in LTC. Little, easy things like driving, climbing to my third floor apartment, showering and walking are suddenly exhausting and painful challenges.

It’s as though I’ve been forcibly enrolled in ADL sensitivity training, like in high school when I had to carry a sack of flour and pretend it was a baby, or complete one of those surprisingly illuminating dementia simulation exercises at a Leading Age convention.

I didn’t think I needed to learn this particular lesson, but apparently the universe felt otherwise. And in the future, I promise to never take ADLs for granted again — or leave home without first being swaddled in multiple layers of bubble-wrap.

Things I Think is written by Gary Tetz, a national Silver Medalist and regional Gold Medal winner in Humor Writing in the 2014 Association of Business Press Editors (ASBPE) awards program. He has amused, informed and sometimes befuddled long-term care readers worldwide since his debut with the former at the end of a previous century. He is a multimedia consultant for Consonus Healthcare Services in Portland, OR.