Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Client Runs Away from Nursing Home and Elopes

"Debbie has escaped from her nursing home and eloped. The home's staff doesn't know where she is," read the email from my supervisor. Debbie's a longtime client at my agency, and was tied in several programs over the past ten years. She hadn't had a case manager at my agency for at least five years, around the time she moved to a nursing home (due to mental illness). She was in her early sixties at that time. Despite this she still came by the agency for social events and kept in touch with a few staff members who checked in with her occasionally. Even those who didn't work with her knew her by name. I spoke with her a few times and thought she was very sweet. She taught for 25 years and still seemed to have a demeanor of a teacher.

Reading the e-mail I was surprised at first and then couldn't help but think -- that's sweet. I'm not a big sentimentalist but I couldn't help romanticize the scene. Debbie and her boyfriend leaving together and taking a bus towards the sunset. I had seen Debbie and Ben, her boyfriend, a couple of times and all of staff had heard of him. They moved into the nursing home around the same time. Neither one had family that we knew of and when the two would come to an event together they would sit in the back and hold hands. Usually Ben would fall asleep at some point. No one on staff had heard of Debbie's plans. The nursing home is understandably trying to locate them and truthfully I expect they would come back in a few days. But I want to think they get a day of honeymooning first.

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