Isn’t it remarkable how humans are so adaptable? The nursing home, which a few days ago seemed like one of the most God-forsaken places on earth, now doesn’t seem so bad. Mrs. J even told us this evening that she’d rather be there than in the hospital. As for myself, I’ve been able to look beneath the surface and see that there is beauty in the most unlikely places.
The nurses seem to genuinely care about the patients, which really surprises me. I figured they viewed it as nothing more than a job, but I’ve seen nothing but gentleness and kindness.
This evening, a little lady rolled her wheelchair out into the hallway and loudly demanded something to clean her fingernails with. The two nurses working in her vicinity giggled to one another, but one quickly arrived to clean her nails.
The nursing home has an amazing physical rehabilitation facility and Mrs. J gets therapy five days a week. We got to watch some of it the other day and I was again impressed with the faculty.
One young woman dresses up her small dog in costumes and brings him in to greet the patients. The dog loves the attention and the patients love the dog, so it’s win-win.
The lady in Mrs. J’s room obviously has Alzheimer’s, yet the nurses always respond to her nonsensical questions. Having never really been around anyone with this disease, I have been a little fascinated watching the effects it has had on her brain. Some days she seems better than others – today wasn’t one of them.
She had somehow gotten it in her head that she and her husband (who sits with her all day, every day) had three cars and one of them was broken down. She became almost hysterical, thinking that they were stranded there, unable to get home. Despite her husband’s constant reminders that they were in the nursing home, she insisted on calling her family members to inform them that they needed a way to get home.
Finally, after hanging up the phone, she turned and informed us that she was apparently supposed to spend the night there and that she had been told to put on her gown and go to bed. I couldn’t help but feel a smile tugging at the corners of my mouth from the absurdity of it all, but it quickly vanished when she began sobbing and apologizing for causing everyone so many problems. She cries often, but I’ve discovered it seems to stem from frustration when she can’t get her thoughts together. What a sad, devastating disease.
So, even though I desperately want Mrs. J to come home, I have decided that things could easily be worse. That’s a much better feeling than I had Monday evening.