November Residential Series: Dickey’s Story!
This November, leading up to #GivingTuesday, we are highlighting different aspects of our residential program. This week, we are highlighting the persistence and advocacy of the staff and residents at Lawrence Street.
One of Triangle’s longtime residents, Dickey, is a warm and friendly presence in his home on Lawrence Street. The neighborhood knows him as an independent, upbeat, and chatty man.
One day, Dickey had a fall at the house and appeared to be weak. Staff members immediately brought him to the emergency room, but they couldn’t find anything wrong with him. He followed up with his Primary Care Physician, who ordered an x-ray of his lower back, which found old fractures, but no new injuries from the fall.
Over the next few weeks, staff members could tell he did not seem like his usual friendly self. He was weak and still had back pain. The staff persisted, taking him to the ER again. Upon arriving, they found that he had an infection in his back. After a few days in the hospital treating the infection, he was discharged, and then had Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy at the house for a month
Despite all the attention and care, Dickey still wasn’t improving. He had good days and bad days, but had the most trouble getting ready in the morning. Despite usually being very independent, he needed help from staff members doing his daily activities.
The staff and residents could still tell that something wasn’t right, and they brought him back to the ER. After more x-rays and ultrasounds, the doctors had no idea what was going on. The staff knew that Dickey needed more medical attention and brought him back to his Primary Care Physician the next day. He was losing weight and having a hard time picking up his right foot to walk. The doctor ordered a CT scan in the afternoon, and called that night to inform the staff that he had a large, infected abscess on his spine. He was immediately taken to Tufts Medical Center to undergo emergency surgery to remove the abscess. The abscess was pinching nerves in his back, which was causing the difficulty walking and moving around.
Dickey was in the hospital for a week before moving into a rehab center for three months. He has worked hard and made massive improvements. He has returned to the house and can now walk using a walker. He has resumed his favorite daily habits, including picking up the paper from a local store.
If left untreated, Dickey’s condition could have been life threatening or led to permanent damage. The staff’s persistence and Dickey’s self-advocacy were crucial in getting him the help that he needed! This is representative of the care that Triangle’s staff give each and every individual.