Monthly Archives: November 2012
Recently moving to private duty nursing i picked up a new client out west. His three sons were all brought together because Harry fell and ended up in the hospital for a few weeks. When i met him he had just returned to his studio apartment at the assisted living facility where he had called home for the past four years. He was pretty grumpy when i first met him but i have had much experience over the years with many behaviors regarding the elderly. I was used to it. His sons were nervous as we all four sat around Harry and tried to begin a first visit. Harry cannot hear very well but other than short term memory lapses , he is sharp as a tac even in his 90’s. Clearly his kids are not real close to him because they are all at a loss as to what to talk about. This only adds to the tension. I was told that just a week before i was sitting there in Harry’s room with him, he had to have all three sons there to lift him out of bed just to use the bedside commode. I was impressed to see that other than moving slowly he seemed to have recovered remarkably well in one week.After a short visit briefly chatting with the sons , I told Harry i would come by from time to time to see how he was doing. That was several weeks ago and i do believe we are now beginning to make a connection between us. I am noticing that more than anything i think he likes to know that someone is thinking of him and has intentions of visiting him . This is just a guess but it seems as though he really just didn’t want to feel invisible anymore. He was lonely.From short talks we have had thus far i see that he may not remember if he ate lunch two hours prior yet he remembers every name, every date, every detail of WWII and his time in the U.S. Marine Corps. he remembers every date of every major change in his life from job to college to marriage. Everyone he was friends with and most of his family have all died. He has outlived his wife by almost two decades. So he sits for long periods of time in his room watching marathons of Law and Order. My FAVORITE tv series ever! How lucky did i feel when i started making regular visits to see Harry and get to sit and watch LandO with him and get paid for it?? haha. Well, it is truly never that simple. Harry doesn’t allow me to help him much. I think he thinks i am just some lonely housewife coming to see him to find purpose. 🙂 The sons are paying me out of their own pockets. They felt he might resent me being there if he knew he was paying me. I am not sure how much family can really empathize with their loved ones in a situation like Harry’s. But i know for me that losing all my independence and some of my mobility, my hearing and all my familiar faces in my life would take a hard toll on my demeanor. I would hope not but really he is just a greatly misunderstood man. He has the reputation for blessing out every staff member and resident in his assisted living facility. The family was nervous that he would be forced to move out and then they would not know what to do with him. It does not feel like me being there is all that grand but i am learning how much it means to Harry. I just pretend i am there to stop in and say hello. I crochet when visit and offer up myself as a listening ear if he wishes to talk but most of the time he just watches the television set. He did get excited oneday and started telling me for four solid hours about being a marine and being in the war itself.His face lit up. He just seemed to come alive and i was astounded at all the dates he could recall about every occurrence all those years ago. We went through his book he saved throughout his days as a marine. I am a history lover and this felt like a rare joy to get to sit next to such an interesting man who had so much to offer in the way of history. I felt so lucky to be sitting there listening to Harry. I knew i had definately made a difference that day for him. Early the next morning i get a call and to my surprise its Harry. He told me that a few of his dinner buddies were gonna come by to watch a dvd on WWII and could i bring some beer when i come? I was quite amused. I knew he had every right to it as he was in his own right mind . I happily agreed to bring some. As life goes , i was late getting there due to tree service blocking traffic in both directions all down his road. When i arrived he was visibly upset and disappointed. He mentioned i was late and quickly added that his buddies never showed. He was crushed. Like the life and color just drained from him. I realized how much he was looking forward to this time of reminscing with other military branches from his day. I promised myself not to be so late next time and to remember how much these visits help him even more than he realizes. He has not yet jumped my case about anything and i greatly respected the energy he used to refrain from blowin up at me like i know he wanted to that day. the past few times i have been there i think of things i could kind of bribe him for his good side and try to bring them. I showed him my wooden utensils i make for our small home business and i had his pants resized to fit him. Of course now he likes me. 🙂 I thought last week that if he liked me too much it might be too easy for him to use me as his verbal punching bag. I resolved to not worry about it now. My last visit there he expressed his great appreciation for goin out and buying him hotdogs (im a vegan who advocates against hotdogs yet at his age i opted to give him whatever he desires) and for all my time with him and he said he wished to buy me dinner to the place of my choosing. Wow. I was so honored. I really had done well since that unfortunate cocktail hour that didnt happen. I bring him hot tea and Dean Martin on cd and sit and watch hours of Law and Order with him and now i get dinner with this precious old man! I am not sure who is blessed more by this connection . Harry or me?