This week I came upon a blog entry at Bella Camilla. It was poignant. I want to share it with you as it tells such a beautiful story and one that is not all that uncommon in a nursing home setting.


It was a busy morning, about 8:30, when an elderly gentleman in his 80’s arrived at the hospital to have stitches removed from his thumb. He said he was in a hurry as he had an appointment at 9:00 am. The nurse took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before someone would be able to see him. I saw him looking at his watch and decided, since I was not busy with another patient, I would evaluate his wound. On exam, it was well healed, so I talked to one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and redress his wound.

While taking care of his wound, I asked him if he had another doctor’s appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry. The gentleman told me no, that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife. I inquired as to her health.

He told me that she had been at the nursing home for a while and that she was a victim of Alzheimer’s disease. As we talked, I asked if she would be upset if he was a bit late.

He replied that she no longer knew who he was, that she had not recognized him in five years now. I was surprised, and asked him, ‘And you still go every morning, even though she doesn’t know who you are?’

He smiled as he patted my hand and said,  ‘She doesn’t know me, but I still know who she is.’


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A week before Christmas I dropped by to see my father and give him the weekly update on family.  He seemed mildly interested but a little distant.  I asked him if he would like anything for Christmas like pajamas, cologne, or a certain dessert and he just said…”No…. Nothing I want.”  I told him I was excited to be bringing him some food from our Christmas spread this year.  We had decided to change it up and do a Louisiana style seafood boil. He again said, “No…. Don’t worry about bringing me anything”. He even turned down pecan pie, which is a FIRST for him.

Ever since his heart attack back in October I have felt my father pulling away from me.  In November he went in for a few days with a mild case of pneumonia too. Sometimes I feel that he is pulling away since he is not sure how much longer he will be around….. Either way it’s not easy.  My attempts at joking around with him and taking him on walks outside have even been met with little feedback. I even bought him a nicer coccyx seat cushion a few weeks ago but that just has prevented him from complaining about being in a wheelchair as much during the day.

So what do you do when your elderly parent seems to have lost their hope and joy in the small things in life? I must tell you…. I do not even know.  I have read a few articles that clearly state it is common at this stage of life but their must be more I can do.   It takes me about 30 minutes to drive out to see him and when you start feeling like your visit is unwanted it makes it harder to get in the car once a week and visit anyway.  I know I will continue to see him because it’s the right thing to do.  I will do my best to be positive and bring him good news about his grandchildren.


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