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.
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.
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.
Infinities of love,