Got me dreaming sweet dreams
The whole day, through
My father-in-law has been moved into Hospice care which also means he has also been moved to the second floor of his care facility. The building is shaped like a gigantic X with the nursing stations and the dinning area set in the center and the patients rooms lining both sides of the four hallways that extend from the middle of the X. The second floor also includes the Alzheimer/dementia wing so that walking into that section of the building is, in some ways, like walking into zombie land. I've been there in the morning, at lunch time, in the afternoon, and at night. Each time I walked though the second floor doors I mentally prepare myself for what I may see or hear.
The majority of the mobile patients are in wheelchairs and some of them are always parked near the nurses stations or in the dinning area. There are four armchairs set against the wall on either side of the main doors (2 per side) and most afternoons there is a woman sitting in one of the chairs, hands covering her face, wrapped in some kind of misery that has her crying and moaning. Others patients are parked in the doorways of their rooms or near the portable nursing stations set up in the hallways. Most are either zonked out mentally or sleeping.
At first I was disturbed by the way the nurses seemed to ignore some patients but after few visits I understood that the women who called out, "Help, help, help," did so almost constantly, that the women who kept telling the nurses she was going to report them for what amounted to dereliction of duty always said that when the nurses did not do something she wanted them to do (Once when I walked past her she looked at me angrily and said she was reporting me.) and that the woman slumped in the wheelchair in the doorway of her room was there because she preferred sitting where see could see everything and everyone over lying in her own bed away from the action.
Most of the time I can keep my fears and/or empathy under control but the other day as I walked to my father-in-law's room I saw a women sitting in a wheelchair in the middle of the hall. She was facing away from me and as I got closer I could hear her talking to herself. As I passed her I looked down and saw she had her hands up near her heart and left shoulder as if she was holding a baby. Then I heard her say, "There, there, just snuggle in, everything will be alright." As she soothed a child that wasn't there, the look and smile on her face was beatific.
I love you and I’m dreaming of you
But that won’t do,
How long must I dream?
I felt my heart and resolve shatter and I hurried down the hall past my father-in-law's room to the Family Lounge and quickly sat down. I put my hands to my face trying to hold back the tears I felt welling up in my eyes. I did not want to cry because I knew once I started I would not be able to stop. After a few minutes I got up, walked over to the doorway, paused, took a deep breath, and then turned and walked into my father-in-law's room.