Tuesday, January 10, 2012


I have the distinct privilege of working in the field of geriatric rehabilitation. It’s a great break from my at-home days, although the rate of diaper changes is probably similar. But I feel like I learn so much. Especially about who I want to be when I grow up.

I walked into a lady’s hospital room today. She was twisted and contorted in her wheelchair, listing horribly towards her right, snoring softly, and drooling heavily from flaccid lips. Having her dentures out certainly didn’t help the situation. (Actually, I tried putting her dentures in. That didn’t help much either.) She has trouble chewing and swallowing. This is why I was supposed to work with her in the late afternoon. I inwardly groaned, wondering how I would manage to pass 45 minutes in productive activity.

She was happy to wake up when I talked to her, allowed herself to be untwisted and uncontorted in her chair, and agreed to try some tea and graham crackers. She was very hard of hearing, so I pulled my chair up very close, and we got down to business. She intently listened to everything I said, reading my lips and moving hers along with my words. Her eyes smiled, her lips had difficulty doing the same. She drooled quite a bit. And coughed a fair amount, too. She didn’t know the answers to most of my questions. She could tell me she had 3 kids, but couldn’t remember their names. Most of my questions were answered with “I don’t remember.” How old are you? Where do you live? Do you prefer coffee or tea? How do you like to take your tea? What foods do you like to eat? She didn’t remember. She had no idea who she was.

She has a 90 year old husband. He helps take care of her. He calls her his “Sweet Precious.”

That’s who I want to be when I’m 93. My husband’s “Sweet Precious.”

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