Monday, November 18, 2013

Dad Just Wants Some Control


It's all about control.

Sometimes conditions don't warrant exercising control despite all good intentions. Sometimes exercising control is detrimental to the outcome. Other times placing control into the hands of others is absolutely necessary to attain the best result.

I am reminded of this as I deal with Dad dying.

Those of you who have been reading this blog of late know that my dad is slowly checking out. His condition is terminal and I have been busy making arrangements for his return to home under compassionate hospice and full time life care.

Dad is anxious to get home. Saturday he gave the nurses a bad time and wouldn't take his medication, nor let my sister-in-law, who is a registered nurse, clean his teeth and put salve on his dried and bleeding lips.

When I arrived I took control and told Dad, "You're taking your medication - now sit up, shut up, and drink this water."

Which he did.

Then I told Dad that I was going to clean his teeth and put the medicated salve on his lips, and to stop being nasty.

He complied.

Then I told Dad what to expect for the next couple of days, that despite his anxiousness I needed to make arrangements to have everything in place for his move - scheduled for today (Monday).

That didn't keep him from calling me at 2 a.m. on Sunday, and again at 4 a.m., and yet again later that morning, to express that he wanted out of the hospital.

And each time I told him that he will move on Monday, that I needed time to make sure he was safe and that everything was ready.

So in the meantime he used his iPhone to try and access his bank account. I didn't tell him originally that I had changed the password to his online access to the bank account to make sure that no one else tampered with assets. I guess I should have...

Well dang if he didn't exceed the number of failed access attempts, which means that I had to ferret out a whole lot more information to reset the passcode!

Control - Dad just wants control over something, anything, to make his last few days as normal as possible.

I understand that.

It's the mindset of so many injured workers. So many lack any control over their fate and futures. So often the behavior we see from injured workers acting out against their interests is because they have a need to regain control over their lives.

I am reminded about a particularly nasty file I was handling for a major airline. The claimant, a mechanic, had some relatively minor injuries, but the major injury was his psyche - the guys was truly a ticking time bomb.

So much so that my firm decided that security was necessary at all of the hearings.

The employer authorized me an unusually high amount for settlement. This was rejected, over his attorney's vociferous counseling, because the claimant wanted his trial.

So we put on the trial, and honestly I really didn't have to do much at trial. We just let the claimant talk.

A few days after the trial the judge issued her award, which of course amounted to substantially less than what the settlement offer was.

My client issued the check, and it was returned undeliverable several weeks later. Telephone calls to the applicant attorney, some investigative work - nothing; the claimant had disappeared.

We never found him. It seems that his work comp case didn't really matter to him. He just wanted his trial, to be able to tell his story - it was justice in his mind.

He wanted some control back. That's all. It wasn't about the money, it was about control. He took control from his attorney, from his doctors, from the system. Perhaps he had some mental issues, perhaps not. But regardless, he had control issues.

I've written about this before - file a work comp claim and your life is taken away from you as others make all the decisions for you: doctors, attorneys, claims examiners, supervisors, rehabilitation providers, workers' compensation judges, risk managers - so many people involved in setting the path of an injured worker's future.

And the injured worker feels helpless, unable to exert the control they thought they had over their lives.

Like Dad.

1 comment:

  1. So, you did to your Dad, what your Dad tried to do to your Mom. Having been in your position with my Mother, as well as being an adjuster, there comes a Moment of Realization (when the Beneficiary fights back against the unwanted infantilization) when we realize we're trying to be Thr Parent, and the other party is holding on to their own self-worth, and won't allure us to give what they don't want nor need.

    Better to pull back, offer suggestions, and let then come to their own conclusions. Otherwise you have a person who can no longer think for himself, and just gives up.

    I found that a friendly Hi. How are you doing, just called to chat, does more to keep the person going than any amount of "help"that I can offer, but which only serves to make ME feel better for having offered, but alienates the very person I want to help.