Visiting Mum in the nursing home, I witnessed a pathetic but touching scene outside her door. A man was wandering down the hall at a fairly fast pace for one so frail, trying to get away from the caregivers who were trying to corral him to give him a bath. He was refusing to move and they were marshalling more reserves. Parked in the doorway observing this, all in her pink robe (which my mum is sure is hers) was a sweet silver haired lady. They are husband and wife, but must be housed in separate wards. He is mentally impaired, but what he does know is that a wife is more important than a bath.
He insisted on being with his P; and only after much assurance that after his bath he would be with her for dinner, did he agree to a wash. Tough and tender to watch.
Yesterday, as I sat with Mum waiting for the country music band to get set up, I heard an alarm go off. It was hooked to O’s wheelchair. He kept trying to escape and would set off his alarm, detach his wiring, and go off at a senior run.
Finally his wife P, arrived, and he was calm once again in his chair, holding hands with his love, possibly the greatest touchpoint to reality that he has in this fractured piece at the end of his life.
Makes me so sad. I’ve seen this so many times. Oh thank God for the good people that care for our elderly. And I pray that there will still be good people when it’s my turn….
Me, too. I see my mum and the frail person she has become in mind and body, and I am thankful she has folks to be patient and loving to her. Sigh. Though it makes me realize that, though sudden, a quick death would be much preferred to withering away in such incapacitated states.
So tender and so tough. A foreshadowing, I fear. You write so very well Lilly.
Thanks, Mike. It is hard not to think of how each of us will fair in the years to come. It is sad to see, and I appreciate the folks that show so much tenderness and care as they work with the aged.
It’d rather sad they can’t be together.
Yeah, it would be best if they could afford a private room together, but it’s probably money.
I know how expensive that can be.
My Mom is in a board and care near us because she’s in late dementia. Like the man in your story, she knows people without remembering their specific roles or identities – she only knows whether or not a person is someone she loved. Like the man you noted, she needs connection and reassurance of her own significance, more than she needs regulations. That was a very poignant picture you described, and it hits home for my family and I.
It is so hard to see strong, productive people wither away. Sigh.
It is a beautiful love story, but so sad. And I know how difficult it must be for you with your Mom there. I know because I have been through that with my own mother.
It is hard to see people with stories–productive, wonderful people–living their days, losing function day by day.
This brought tears to my eyes. So poignant. Thanks for posting.
Folks that work there and do their care well have a special gift.
You describe the inevitable for many human beings all too well…
It is hard to see once productive lives in that state. We must not leave them alone.