Stories from the Tenth-Floor Clinic
She Writes Press (2018)
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views (8/18)
Marianna Crane touched every emotion I have and then some in her memoir, “Stories from the Tenth Floor Clinic.” Having been one of the first gerontological nurse practitioners in the 1980s, as well as having over forty years of nursing experience, she can show exactly what nurse practitioners do while having little or no resources to provide care for the underserved, namely our elderly.
Marianna is put in charge of a senior clinic in a Chicago subsidized housing building, after leaving the VA hospital. Given that Gerontology in the 80s was a new field, many nurses, as well as doctors, did not know or were trained in how to care for this up and coming generation. Even to this day, many elder medical practitioners can’t be bothered with new training leaving many seniors without the proper resources or living arrangements. I can certainly testify to this. My mom who is 92 has now been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and is a fall risk due to severe osteoporosis. Her doctor who is 79 felt no need for any assessments for these conditions as it “is a part of old age.”
Sharing some of her patient's stories, Marianna shows how the elderly can be scammed, abused and are often afraid to seek the medical treatment they need. She describes the various roles one must take on while providing the best care she can with so few resources. She also admits that she has made mistakes, thought “that’s not in my job description,” while at the same time dealing with her own, often stubborn, opinionated mom at home.
Although I loved all the patients, Marianna came in contact with; I enjoyed Pigeon Lady with her need to leave the windows open to feed the birds regardless of bird droppings and crumbs that attracted bugs. Ms. Henry is another individual I felt close to. She had to decide whether to eat or get her prescriptions filled so the young companion Delilah speaks up on her behalf and is willing to spend the night in her apartment to ensure she follows the treatment plan.
Marianna Crane truly is an inspiration to all who serve the elderly with little or no support or equipment. Readers will see her compassion, heartache and ability to admit her mistakes in her emotional writing. While reading “Stories from the Tenth-Floor” I called my mother several times to tell her I loved her. She says she is fine in her nursing home and doesn’t need anything, but that’s what Marianna’s clients said as well.
I highly recommend “Stories from the Tenth Floor Clinic” by Marianna Crane to all families, caretakers and those who work with the elderly.