Working as a nurse in assisted living has always proven to be both rewarding and challenging. Close interaction with today’s seniors however can sometimes leave you speechless as I discovered late one afternoon.
Once again, Milly occupies the entrance to our nurse’s station waiting on her pills—for the third time! Unable to remember anything past several seconds, she waits patiently for me to finish transcribing a telephone order and jotting a brief chart note.
“Hi Milly . . . how can I help you?”
“I would like to have my pills please.”
“I’d love to hun, but remember, the earliest I can give them is six o’clock.”
“That’s right, I’m sorry, I keep forgetting.”
“It’s okay. Come back at six and I’ll have em’ all ready for you.”
Sheepishly, she retreats with her walker—before abruptly returning.
“I just want you to know that I think you’re a wonderful young man . . . and nurse. You always appear so happy, and helpful . . . to me . . . and to everyone.”
She’s no doubt schmoozing, but I listen anyway and take in all the heartfelt compliments.
“You always make time for me and I LOVE your smile! I wish we had more workers here like you.”
Leaning in, she gives a loud whisper. “You’re my favorite!”
Slowly, she pushed away and headed to her room.
I began to feel guilty for thinking that she was brown-nosing only to get her pills. After all, her memory is no more than a sieve and in addition to her frailty, is completely dependent on others for her safety and well being. With such a compliment, I should feel good, honored, even proud. And so, with a renewed spirit I grabbed my leftovers from the fridge and headed for the door. Exiting, I see Milly has returned.
“Hi Milly . . . can I help you?”
With a confused look, she gave me the once over and confessed . . .
“I’m so sorry but, I thought you were someone else. See you at six.”😊
For more stories like 6PM, check out Remembering What I Forgot by K. Allen.
Ken Boring is a licensed Practical Nurse who specializes in behavior modification and interactive care-giving. Following his decade long career as a Dementia unit supervisor, he now writes on understanding Alzheimers Disease (AD) from a caregiver’s perspective. Additionally, he lectures on the role which life choices, environment, and genetic makeup play in the possible development of AD.