Monday, August 22, 2016

Celebration of Good Days

On Sunday, I visited Gary in the late morning.  He was sleeping in his chair in the dining room when I arrived.  I went straight to his room without waking him to take the suitcase of long sleeve shirts that I brought him.  After rearranging his closet, folding clothes and generally tidying his space, I went out to see if he was awake.

He was awake and responded to my hello kiss.  He immediately shut his eyes and nodded while waiting for his lunch.  "We" selected the baked salmon with rice and brussel sprouts.  I started feeding him and noticed that he never opened his eyes.  I did not tell him to open his mouth once but opened his mouth the appropriate amount with every bite.  He sensed if it was broth only and pursed his lips enough to slurp the broth.  If it was a larger bite of salmon, he opened his mouth appropriately.  I asked him to open his eyes several times but he never complied.

I was amazed at his ability to sense and perceive what he needed to do.  He did not respond to questions or prompts.  He ate and sat quiet.  I left and went for an afternoon, once again, to myself. 

Today, after work and a chiropractor appointment, I stopped by in the middle of his dinner.  He was alert, wide eyed and smiling.  He said hello and responded to my kiss.
It seems all the residents were more awake and spirited tonight. 

One of the caregivers told me that he had been singing to the Fleetwood Mac compact disc earlier and laughing.  He was completely aware of me and answered some basic questions.  As I fed him his dessert, he commented it was good without prompting.

"Marvin" (names changed to protect the innocent) was sitting at the table.  He was very confused and apologizing that he did not have his wallet to pay for dinner.  Over the next few minutes he was told by several people that he did not need money and his family had paid for everything.  He asked about his wife.  Two of the caregivers looked at one another and were not sure what to tell him.  One of them told him the truth.  She said that when he moved in 4 years ago that he told them his wife "Helene" had died and gone to Heaven.  He instantly grieved for her.  I watched his face go sad.  It was the right thing to do but for a moment I experienced his agony.

Then, one of the caregivers mentioned his job at the FBI.  He instantly went clear and told me about his 10 years serving in the FBI and was secretary to a very prominent FBI director.  I was fascinated and asked him about the experience. He shared that he never felt as if he was at work and that he allowed this director to call him by the same nickname that only his mother had called him.  He remembered that life fondly and switched the subject to his wife.  She had also worked with the FBI and held a rank higher than his.  We agreed that she is probably organizing Heaven.

I then asked Marvin about his experience as Mayor of a local community.  He told me about the election and commented that it was noble work and he had enjoyed it.  He then felt his pockets for his car keys and became upset that he could not go home.  I suggested that maybe he left them with the parking valet.  He accepted that premise and asked to go to bed.

Meanwhile, Gary was listening and often repeating comments we were making.  "Organizing Heaven.  Keys with the valet. Mr. Hoover."  The entire time he was holding my hand and sneaking kisses while I talked to Marvin.  He was alert.  I then realized that he was wet and asked the caregivers to change him.  As they moved him into the wheelchair, I prepared to leave.  As I was walking out the door, I blew him a kiss in our previously customary fashion.  The caregiver helped him blow me a kiss (Giant SMILE ON HIS FACE) and I caught it and put it in my blouse as if it made my heart beat.  He gave me the most genuine smile and told the caregiver that I was cute.  On that note, I left.

The changes in demeanor and behavior from day to day are amazing.  I love the days when he is like he was tonight.  He faintly resembles that man I loved fully for so many years.  At the same time, I am somewhat dismayed and upset on those days because the contrast to the bad days hurts so much.  However, I will ALWAYS take the good days and celebrate them. 

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