Tuesday, November 22, 2011

MARVELOUS MEN

 Gentle Readers . . .  and Maxwell,

Recently I think I frightened some of you with my men in the nursing home story.

If you were upset or offended, I apologize. If you liked hearing about those gross old men, then what in the heck is the matter with you?

Oh, it's o.k. I know some of it was funny.

But now I'd like to tell you stories about some of my favorite men in the nursing home.
One such gentleman was D. He fought in Italy during World War II and for him the war had never ended. The sound of a door slamming was a bomb. Any loud noise frightened him. So many years since that war and he still struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder.

I tried to be very quiet and gentle with D. and he appreciated it. He knew my name, but he always called me honey. It's funny -- when I was a reporter I absolutely could not stand it when a man called me honey or sweetie. But in the nursing home I didn't mind at all. I knew those men called me honey because they loved me.

D. couldn't walk or turn himself in bed. We could have moved him to a special chair that's on wheels but has more padding than a wheelchair and also features neck and head supports, but he refused. I guess D. felt more secure in his bed.

However, D. did not feel secure in bed when we had to turn him on his side to wash him or treat skin problems on his back. We had to put down his guard rail because we would have injured our backs if we leaned over the rail to turn a patient. D. would get pretty panicky when his guard rail was down, even though I was standing right there, holding him.

I would tell D., and other patients who were afraid, You're safe. No one has ever fallen out of bed when I'm in charge. You can't get past me. Invariably the patient would reply, Yeah, but you're not very big and I might be the first.

Because I trusted D., I told him that while he was on his side, he could put his arm around me. He did, and I whispered, You can even pat my bottom if you want.

D. gave my rear a little pat, and a huge smile spread over his face. Before he knew it, we were finished, and the guard rail was back in place. Thanks, honey, D. said.

I was also in love with Mr. A. Every time I gave him a pitcher of fresh water, he'd tap his cheek and say, Give me a kiss right here baby doll.

I was happy to oblige.

As his death approached, he quite often asked me to sit and talk with him in the wee small hours of the morning. He liked to tell me stories of his childhood -- running and playing in the woods.

 I was so sad when the end approached for Mr. A., but when his oldest son came in to be with Mr. A. during his last days, the son greeted us and I thrilled at the sound of his voice.

You sound exactly like your dad, I said.

Thank you, he said.

And I could see that Mr. A lived on through his son.

And we had E., who couldn't speak, but it was clear he loved his ladies. I'd put my arm around him and kiss his forehead and I'd see this sly grin on his face. He looked like a little kid who had stolen some candy from the store and gotten away with it.

I liked to imagine that E. could remember the pleasures he had enjoyed with ladies in the past, and when he went to bed, he dreamed of dressing up in a tux and taking me to a nightclub to dance. I would have been honored to dance with him.

Infinities of love,

Lola



28 comments:

  1. These kinds of stories certainly make up for the previous one. :P

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  2. This is a lovely story, babydoll. Some of the nicest people I've met are older men (maybe senior citizens is a more appropriate term) like your men here :p

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  3. I do cringe when men call call me honey or sweetheart but when it comes from a dear old man, it's one of the highest forms of praise! What a fabulous way to remember these wonderful men. Thanks for sharing their stories.

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  4. I visit my mother in a nursing home – she has Alzheimer’s. Your stories cheer me up – a little bit. I know everyone at the home has their own unique stories. But I don’t think there are any nurses like you there.

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  5. Much more of a less scary story, oh so nice even. What is wrong with you?..haha

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  6. Nice memories leave a lingering fragrance, don't they? :)
    Blessings to you - Marsha

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  7. There are millions of stories left untold in nursing homes.
    I stop by almost every day at the one where my mom not lives.
    I hope I'm not a grabber when I get to that age, but with all the fun I've had in my younger days, all bets are off :)

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  8. I love this post. It really touched me because my mom was very sick and got placed in a nursing home fin her mid forties. I would spend my weekends there with all the sickly, older people. Its sad to get so close to people that have such little time left...That's life, I suppose.

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  9. Lola this, again, shows your kind soul. I'm so glad I met you through blogging. What a special lady you are. I'm honored to call you friend.

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  10. Yeah, a definite 180-degree turnaround from the last nursing home post... but it's a great read.

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  11. This is the sweetest post! You are such a caring individual and I'm sure you've brought comfort to many. Nothing better than grabbing the hand (gently, of course)of a senior citizen and connecting.

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  12. Blimey, this is beautiful. Working in a place like this must give you a unique insight into life and death that so many of us will never have until our turn to die comes along. Tell us more.

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  13. I say that between these two posts, there's a book.

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  14. Aww these are really nice stories. Much nicer than the other one haha although I will admit that one was interesting.
    I think it would be cool to talk with these people and hear about a time I didn't grow up in.

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  15. Usually your posts make me laugh, & sometimes they make me angry, but this one was just SWEET!

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  16. Thank you all for your kind comments. Beth, it's entirely possible that some of the health care workers you see are kinder than you know, especially the people who chat with the patients at 3 a.m. I always talked with people, even if they were in a vegetative state. The sense of hearing is the last to go. Our night staff was very loving. We took good care of our patients and we took care of each other.

    Love,
    Lola

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  17. Very sweet Lola.

    But I preferred the other one.

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  18. I have tears in my eyes after this post. Thank God there are people like you in the world, who can share not only their skills, but also their loving kindness, with those who need it. You were a true angel for those sweet men. :)

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  19. So sweet. I used to love visiting the old folks homes for stories like these ones.
    It always amazed me how kind they'd be when I came to play my violin. I loved it when they showed me pictures of what they'd looked like when they were young.

    Awesome story :0)

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  20. My uncle is still in the Vietnam war. :s

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  21. You are a very special soul Lola. No doubt! When my Dad was in the nursing home there were a couple nurses who just adored him and I so appreciated the extra attention they gave him and kept me abreast of any changes. Others who worked there, it was just a job! No compassion. These seniors were once our age. We need to remember that. Extra hugs for you today Lola!

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  22. Ahhh Lola - that was lovely. I just love old people. My daughter is a social worker and so enjoys working with that population. Sometimes they're cranky and hard to deal with, but they just need love and attention. You seem to have a talent for it. When my grandmother was nearing the end, I would sit by her and she would tell me stories of being a girl in Mesa, AZ. It was a priceless experience. Your post made my day.

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  23. I guess that is why I get all the hugs and kisses at the Waffle House. And I got to feel a bottom or two, too. But none of them meant as much to them as yours did for you. You have a kind heart, Lola. The old guys are worse off since you left.

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  24. What a beautiful story. It is so touching. Seniors are just looking for someone to talk to and spend time with. I enjoy spending time with them. There's so much we all can learn. Thanks for sharing this.

    http://sassyuptownchic.blogspot.com/

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  25. I worked at a nursing home as an aide when I was in college. I loved some of those people. One man couldn't see well, and he would always ask who was there when someone walked into his room. He always seemed so happy when I came in, and I thought he just loved me, but then I found out that I had the same first name as his wife. :)

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