Other Wind
16 / November16 / November16 / November


David’s pap-paw is in a nursing home, recuperating from pneumonia. He has dementia, and it has gotten more severe since his recent illness began. Each time we visit, we show him the same two pictures, one of mam-maw and him with a basket of tomatoes and one of him with the same tomatoes out in his garden. He describes them to us like he’s never seen them before. We ask him if he’d like to go for a walk (or a wheel) around the halls or if he’d like to eat something, and he says he’ll have to see what mam-maw (who he forgets is more than an hour away in Polk Conty) thinks. This is sweet, because it shows how much he loves mam-maw, but it is also sad. Sunday night, he sat under six covers and still worried about the cold. We gave him some Juicy Fruit and he was happy for a while. The man loves his gum.

Pap-paw stays in his room mostly, but many of the residents sit out in the hall in their wheelchairs. (The nurses like them to be up and about, which I think is nice for a nursing home.) They congregate in silence around the nurses’ station, as if they’re waiting for something exciting to happen. I can’t help but feel I’m a little bit of that something when I walk through. They all look at me, some in stares, some in glances, like I might just surpise them.

I've been spending lots of time in a nursing home lately myself with my mom and dad.

Although they did not have much to do when they were in their own home they seem so much more lost and idle in the nursing facility.

Although they have some organized activities it does not seem nearly enough and mostly it does not sem to attract their interest.

Posted by: bill on November 17, 2004 02:30 PM