Healing old wounds

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NICK, MY HOME HEALTHCARE patient, suffered from poorly controlled diabetes and heart failure. At 73, he sported a full head of white hair and a scraggly beard. He was periodically dependent on supplemental oxygen. My role was to monitor his cardiac status and medication adherence and provide wound care to the open lesions on his edematous lower extremities. Several home visits were needed before Nick could correctly monitor his blood glucose levels and follow his medication and dietary regimens.
Nick, a former venture capitalist who'd lost most of his money in failed business deals, now spent much of his time alone in his one-bedroom apartment. He hadn't seen his adult daughter or grandchildren for years after his divorce and rarely contacted them. Always friendly and joking, he seldom shared his feelings or initiated serious conversation.
So, I was surprised one day when he said, “My daughter's in town for a month and plans to visit. Molly says she has important questions to ask me.” He shrugged. “She's 45 and needs to get on with her life.”
I looked up. “Sounds serious. Any idea what she wants to find out?”
He sighed, “Old family stuff, what she calls family secrets. I have nothing to say. Let bygones be bygones.”
“Maybe Jennifer, the social worker, can help you sort through your feelings,” I offered.
He cleared his throat, “Nope. There's nothing a social worker can do.”
“Anything you want to tell me about?” I asked.
He swallowed hard, “Maybe tomorrow we can talk, see what you think. To be honest, underneath all my jokes, I'm pretty confused.”
“I'll be back tomorrow at 1 p.m.” I said.
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