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