Today, when I drove up to see Jerry, the bus was out front. The alzheimer residents had just returned from a “scenic tour”. I think I mentioned in an earlier post about how cumbersome it was to carry these “tours” out. It takes forever to load and unload.
When I approached the bus, one of the female residents was in her wheelchair on the ramp. The activity director and a CNA were trying to figure out how to get her off the bus. The ramp had decided not to work. I looked up and asked, “What’s going on?” The activity director responded with , “The ramp isn’t working. Here. Catch!” The resident’s eyes popped open! We all laughed. I watched as they painstakingly, picked each resident up and helped them walk...a slow shuffle...off the bus, then lift the wheelchairs down to the ground. What patience!
It’s attitudes like this that are the little things. The little things that are so important. In a year and a half, I’ve honestly not seen any instance where a staff member has lost their patience. Not to say it hasn’t happened...afterall, it’s a thankless job and requires endless patience. Last week, I witnessed a new patient acting out. It was at the end of dinner time and the staff members were wheeling the residence out of the dining hall and into their activity room where they hang out an watch tv. This gentleman began to get hostile. Jerry and I managed to slink out of the way as we watched him stand up from his wheelchair, begin to yell, and push his wheelchair aside. I witnessed as the staff calmly, but firmly interacted with him, coaxed him back into his chair and swept him on down the hall. They were well trained to diffuse the situation.
Anyway, today when I went to the back, I saw Jerry “sleeping” in the activity room. That’s what they call it when he is dazed and out of it in front of the tv. Barbara, one of the other residents, who always expects a hug, was sitting next to Jerry and began to wave. I tiptoed over to give her a hug and Jerry turned his head. Up he “jumped” with his arms open. I just love that! Seconds later, he had no clue who I was, but he was ready to “get outta Dodge.” I tapped in the code to the door and he opened it. (I think he’s escaped from time to time because he knows just how to open that door.) Our trip was to the Dairy Queen where I got him his favorite medium sized Butterfinger Blizzard. That skinny thing ate the entire thing! Trips to the “Queen” are good because it’s short, he doesn’t have to get out of the car, and well, .....it’s ice cream.
By the time we returned, the shift had changed. He really didn’t want me to leave, but we used the old standby “divertion” tactic. FOOD! One of the CNA’s coaxed him with some yogart. The sweet kind. He went right over and I slipped out without his even noticing. Out of sight, out of mind. He probably didn’t even realize I was gone.