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So Keep on Smilin’ Responses


Before entering my now 94-year-old dad into a nursing home last year, I used to take him to the park. Sometimes, I would have to cut our visits short because of my tree and pollen allergies. The other day, out of the clear blue sky, he says, “Wherever you decide to scatter me, just make sure you find out which way the wind is blowing. I don't want you to get my ashes in your eyes and aggravate those allergies.”


Not so funny maybe, but I refer to a wheelchair as a limousine, which always brings on a lighter mood and some smiles or conversation.  It is so much more exciting and acceptable to travel in a limousine than a wheelchair!

I have asked people (those I thought might appreciate it) if that was beer/wine/Kentucky Bourbon (pick a drink) in their IV or if they would like some. Most responses were humorous and lightened the mood or opened up a conversation.

One country gentleman, when asked how he felt, told me he felt like a “cross cut saw.” Then, noticing this city girl’s quizzical expression, he asked if I knew what that meant. I said, “No.” He said it would “take two to handle him.” He became one of my favorites.

Another time I had to assess a tiny and very elderly lady that the family said had AD and they wanted a diagnosis from the geriatric team social worker. The family said she was difficult and had even run away from home, down a field and was so fast they could not catch her.  I asked her about running down a field at her home and she said, “I can’t do that...I’m slow as smoke.” 

Another man in the hospital acquired some surgical tape and wrote a message on his hospital gown that said, “HELP. SET ME FREE.”

Anonymous (more or less)

My dad has Alzheimer's and one evening he had his clothes all packed in a bag and we were watching a St. Louis Cardinals game. He told me he was going on a trip and he left the room. I waited awhile and went to check on him; he was in bed! Meanwhile another gentleman named Don, who also has Alzheimer's and had been in the room watching the game with us, struck up a conversation with me.

Don wanted to start his own baseball team, but he was worried that we would be embarrassed or skunked. When Nurse Judy came into the room to check vitals, we recruited her son to play for our team. He has only one arm, but he is strong. That was a good thing. Don kept asking me if I thought Wallace ever played. (I found out later that Wallace was his brother.) Then Cassie (a CNA) came in and we asked her if she could play. She said (with a great accent and without missing a beat), “BASEBALL. I can play BASEBALL! I am from the Dominican Republic and all the best baseball players come from the Dominican Republic.” YEAH! We now had someone that could actually play. I told Don that I bet she had friends and she agreed, so now we were well on our way to a team that would not embarrass us! Don gave this big smile and two thumbs up! I told him that I had to go and make some phone calls to the rest of the team and I was able to take my leave.

My dad had made his trip off to bed and Don had his baseball team!  It was a happy evening and a wonderful visit and, if I remember right, even the Cardinals won the game that night!


My father came to live with me at the age of 91 and he did not want to be here. I tried to get him to go to the Adult Day Health Care program that I ran, but he resisted. Finally, I said, “You have to go, for your good and mine.” It was difficult for the first two weeks, but he went. After two weeks, he beat me to the car. I asked him what had happened. He told me he had found a female friend that he liked being with and, in a very serious manner, he looked me in the eye and said, “But you should know that there is no sex involved.” I had to keep a straight face and it was difficult not to laugh out loud. I still think of this every time I think of him.





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