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Long-Term Care

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“This Is My Life Now”
An interview with a nursing home resident
By Sarah Wood


(Page 1 of 3)

I walked into the cheerful, rather narrow halls of the care center. It didn’t smell of feces and urine like many I had been in. Up the hall from where I walked in, was a small dining room. Some of the residents were sitting there. I found out later that they were waiting for dinner. It was two in the afternoon. They don’t eat until five thirty. “I’ll just wait”, said one resident who sat in a wheel chair, watching people walking by. She called all the nurses by name. She had been here a while, I imagine.

I traveled down the hall to the room of my friend. She was lying in bed, reading a book. The room is small, two beds, two dressers and two nightstands in this room are a tight squeeze. My friend has many pictures of loved ones on the wall. “I can’t remember who they all are, so my daughter pasted those little name tags under each of the pictures.” She explains. Her roommate is not so lucky. No pictures of loved ones adorn her walls. She has very few living relatives and none close.

I sit down to talk with my friend. “How are you doing?” I ask her. I haven’t seen her in a while. “ Oh, about the same. Same thing every day.” My friend says. We fill the air with some more conversation. My friend loves to talk. She enjoys sharing stories of her life. She has many to share.

“Y’know, I survived the great fire of 36’” she tells me. She has short-term memory loss and she knows it.

I have heard her stories before. I don’t mind hearing them again. Someday, I will miss hearing them and treasure each time that I did. We get to talk about some “girl talk” stuff. My friend loves to talk “girl talk”. My friend says she feels like we’re sisters. I agree. I ask my friend how she likes it here. She has lived here for three years.

“Oh, it’s all right I guess. It’s not home. I’d rather be home” she tells me.

What’s the best thing about being here? I ask her.

“Having somebody to take care of you. If something goes wrong, if you have an “accident” or anything, somebody is here to help you. But, it takes them so darn long to get to you. Sometimes I wonder if it really matters to have the nurses here at all.” She tells me.

What do you think they could do to make it better for you here?

 

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