Thursday, May 17, 2007

She doesn't know me anymore

I was a nurse at a local hospital. And that day I remember still, it was a busy morning time, approximately 8:30 am, when an elderly gentleman, in his 80's, presented to have sutures (stitches) removed from his thumb.

He stated that he was in a hurry as he had an appointment at 9:00 am. I took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before someone would to able to see him. I saw him looking at his watch and decided, since I was not busy with another patient, I would evaluate his wound. On exam it was well healed, so I talked to one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and redress his wound.

While taking care of his wound, we began to engage in conversation. I asked him if he had a doctor's appointment this morning somewhere else, as he was in such a hurry. The gentleman told me "No, I need to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with my wife" with a smile.

"Oh, I am sorry. How's her
health now?" I inquired out of growing compassion for him.

"Well, she had been there for a while and is was a victim of Alzheimer Disease".

I went silent.

Little later, a
s I finished dressing his wound, I asked if she would be worried if he was a bit late. "I don't think so dear. She no longer knows who I am. She has not recognized me in five years now".

I was shaken. "And Sir, you are still going there every morning, even though she doesn't know who you are?", I apparently couldn't make sense out of it!

He smiled, patted my hand and said, "Well dear, she doesn't know me... but I still know who she is", and I saw him hurriedly making his way of out of the door stretching the last bit from his old muscles.

I had to hold back tears as he left, I had goose bumps on my arm, and wished to myself, "that is the kind of love I want in my life".

True love is neither physical, nor romantic. True love is an acceptance of all that is, has been, will be, and will not be.