I arrived around noon and the staff was walking several of the men in the facility to the activity room. The activity directors were grilling hamburgers and hotdogs for the men in the unit. It was their Father’s Day lunch. NO WOMEN ALLOWED! The minute I walked through the double doors I saw this long lanky man’s silhouette in the hallway. They turned him around and pointed. He came running, eyes gazed past me, but hugging me tight. He mouthed, “How’d you do that?” I had to squeeze him extra tight and hold his face to mine so he could see my eyes. We sat Jerry down with a couple of the other male residents and I began helping serve. It seems to work better to actually participate in the activities, verses observe. Once finished serving, Sherry (the assistant activity directlor), and I sat down. She began to feed one of the residents, I held the conversation and made sure the other spoons were making it to the mouth with food actually on them. Jerry can still hold his burger once I clamp his hands on it. George, Jerry’s roommate, has to have his food pureed. The reason being that an Alzheimer patient, in the late stages, looses the ability to chew and swallow. It was still a positive experience and one that I am now use to.
Once our luncheon was over, Jerry was anxious to “go somewhere”. I took him back to his room to do “the do” before we left. Jetti, our lead CNA came with me to get Jerry changed and spiffed up to go out. I watched as Jetti took care of Jerry. She helped him brush his teeth and gently guided the cup to his mouth, saying, “It’s a terrible, terrible disease.” He depended on her and looked to her for his every move. We talked about Jerry’s decline. And George’s too. She said, “I’m afraid, I’m going to lose several of them at the same time.” They seem to all be declining together.
In a few minutes, I took Jerry to the car. I could tell he was so excited because he had a little perk in his shuffle. His eyes were smiling as we walked arm in arm down the hall. On the way out, he saw some of the other employees. He had to break away from me to give them a hug. They love that. He does too.
We didn’t stay out long. Just long enough to feel a short escape and while we were out, my oldest daughter called. The minute Jerry heard her voice on the speaker, he began to cry. It was only a split second, though, until his attention was elsewhere. The most precious part was when little 4 year old McCauley spoke. They had a special bond and use to eat speghetti together. He asked to speak with Papa J. I encouraged him to continue to talk and that Papa J was in the car next to me. Little McCauley wanted to invite Papa J to come and throw the football. It was so cute and I actually think Jerry heard the word “football”. There is still a tiny connection. I love the innocence and the unconditional love that children bring.
That’s it for today. It was a good day.