We met Baxter, a housebound gentleman who was referred by his PCP.
There were worries of depression and anxiety, in addition to suffering from psoriasis. COVID-19 motivated this gentleman to confine himself to his home. Our sessions would be offered by telephone.
Our first session quickly revealed that Baxter had psoriasis. He said it spreads and affects sleep, appetite and various other daily functions. Watching television, he said, is a primary activity.
He lives alone.
Baxter’s wife died three years ago. Three adult children live independently with their own respective families. Each lives at a distance that Covid placed a damper on the visit. He also has three sisters who all live out west. He hasn’t seen them for two years. Family reunions had not taken place for two years. A few active tomcats sitting on the lap are his companions. He was quarantined during COVID. The cold months made wearing heavy clothing uncomfortable for him. Fewer clothes are easier on her psoriasis. He claims to have ordered food online; however, he is not hungry. He lost weight.
Not being out for months, taking different medications without success and not feeling well affected him a lot. His concentration was impacted by the painful psoriasis. Seeking support, even neighbors who were once active with Baxter when his wife was alive stopped visiting him. After his wife’s death, women in the neighborhood made offerings of food to Baxter. Over time, husbands joined their wives for visits. They ended up all stopping their visits, with the exception of two women.
Baxter was made emotional as he recounted the following. The last woman who continued to visit him, his wife’s best friend, could no longer visit him. Her husband’s jealousy got the better of her. He was heartbroken.
“It’s like I have a communicable disease and everyone is afraid of catching it.”
I felt sad for Baxter. I asked him how all these recent experiences had affected him.
He thinks his psoriasis affects him socially. He is embarrassed by his appearance. It turned out to be a “source of sorrow”. We started processing for the second session a support idea. I also asked him for verbal consent to consult with his PCP who had referred Baxter for consulting services.
Baxter called 10 minutes before our phone appointment. Hello Baxter. I’m glad to hear your voice. How are you? Did you sleep much last night?
“I’m not doing too well. My next PCP appointment isn’t for another month. I thought you were talking to him. He’s a nice person and all, but maybe you can explain how you can help. »
Good idea Baxter.
My experience has taught me that the medical providers who refer me are open to a new perspective. Don’t forget that she asked you for help. Working together can open up many possibilities for you. On the one hand, pointing out the depth of your psoriasis discomfort can be helpful. Maybe she could try to see you earlier than your scheduled date. You also mentioned a desire for a vaccine. Maybe she can defend you by scheduling where she is offered.
She needs to hear that the basic functioning of sleep and appetite is affected. The past few years have been difficult for Baxter. Your wife died, friends came and went, and your siblings and children didn’t see you in person. Your cats have been supports; it looks like they have become your life. It’s just to start.
“I understand what you are saying. I need to experience good things. Heck, I need to go out even just for a walk. Maybe I could walk after dark when most people are inside. Like I said, I don’t feel good about my body. I need to see my PCP.
Have you given more thought to a referral, me to a community agency that can complement my services?
Very well. There is a group called the Mental Health Association. They can do outreach if you consent. They can join me and offer services that may prove useful. With your consent, I can meet with them to offer them an early insight into mental health. Afterwards, they can make an appointment at home.
They can then offer you an independent assessment to determine what you need. They advocate for people who have issues affected by mental health events. The idea of “It takes a village” can be a laudable undertaking. Working together can be a healthy source of varied experiences. What are you saying?
“Am I obligated if this outfit comes? What you’re saying is they can get information about me from you and then do an assessment of things I might need? »
Alright Baxter. You and I are currently consulting over the phone. Allowing a reputable agency to offer complementary services will hopefully improve your well-being.
“Okay I get it. They need to see firsthand how I live day to day.
Exactly. This will provide a more clear and concise assessment. We all work with you. You are your best advocate. Over the phone or in person, the group could offer greater opportunities for greater success. I want to offer you, Baxter, open consideration for your mental health treatment. You have spoken of many areas of loss in your life. If you have time to consider grieving, the losses can, over time, improve your health. Soon you and I might schedule a home visit or a session at my office. Please think about it. We made another appointment for the following week. As usual, customers can call me if a problem arises requiring immediate assistance or intervention.
May peace be on earth and may it begin with me.