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talking to myself

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Between two rooms and a hard place

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This is an old piece that I want to reshare.  I have very fond memories of both Emilio and William.  There were good men and I was honored to be able to take of them for a while.

About three years ago we added some rooms to our infirmary. Two new patient rooms, much roomier than the old ones, also with larger bathroom facilities….. friendlier to wheelchairs of the manual, and electric variety. We also added on a bathroom, small separate shower room, and three adjoining rooms. A large storage closet, a small computer room, and office, with the doctor examining room connecting both, all in all a good use of our space I think.

When we finished the rooms, we moved William into the room farthest from the main meeting room. The place where we have the TV, and also the dining and visiting area; which I find to be a cheerful place most of the time. Emilio went into the room closest, and both seemed very happy with the arrangement. Emilio had a Jazzy chair, and since they are larger than a wheelchair, he appreciated the added space. He soon had the room to his likening, which is well organized and neat.

William also moved in and soon had the room to his liking. Now William is not like Emilio, what I mean neatness is not a priority with him. Something we soon learned here. I remember going into his room and finding most of his clothes scattered around his room. Some of the clothing was on his two chairs; the rest was stacked evenly over his bed. So I put everything back, since I too am a tad partial to neatness, and left feeling that once again I have saved one small part of the world from the encroaching menace of chaos. Came back an hour later and everything was back the way it was. After doing this a couple of more times, I knew I had lost, and made peace with the situation. It seems that instead of wanting a second blanket, William loves to simply stack whatever clothing he can find over himself for warmth. Don’t know the why of this, but so it is; a hard fact of reality. Both were good neighbors, each knew his space, and things went smoothly.

Then William Alzheimer’s took a turn for the worse, and he became a flight risk. He became more confused and did not always know where he was, though he seemed always to remember me. I think it is my hard headed quality that makes me stick out with some of the residents here. I liked to bump heads; it is sort of a hobby of mine. Which can be useful, for I am the bad cop here when the role needs to be played, a much-needed role here, though it does not have to be played out very often….. the nurse being the good cop….yes being hard-headed has its benefits.

Well, William had to be sent to a facility for a few weeks so that his meds could be sorted out. In the meantime, Emilio came to me as asked if he could have Williams room since it was further down from the central meeting area and quieter. So we allowed that, and he moved in straight away, and was happy, at least for awhile. We moved him in because we thought that when William returned he would not remember where his old room was…..a big mistake on my part.

William returned and it took some time to get used to him now that his condition worsened. He was always trying to get out, and a couple of times he did; following visitors out, but thankfully we always got him before he got too far. Actually, he barely got out of the building. We also gave him a new room, one in which we could keep a better eye on him. The problem was that his short memory was pretty much gone, but the memory of his old room, now occupied by Emilio was still strong. So he kept going into Emilio’s room. He would go in, and rearrange the room the way he liked it. That’s right; he would put all of Emilio’s things on the bed and chairs etc……and also use his bathroom. Emilio is a very private and neat person found this hard to take, though to his credit he tried to be patient and understanding. I think the straw that broke the camel’s back happened last week. Emilio went into his what he thought would be a clean bathroom and discovered that William and been there, easy to do with William.

So last Friday Emilio came to me and ask if he could move into his old room. Not the one next to William, since it was occupied with Leo, but to the room, he lived in before the new ones were built. Now the room is empty so we said yes. So Emilio is moved into his old room and is happy again, though it is a little smaller, and the bathroom not quite as easy to use as the old one, but sufficient for his needs, so he is content, which is easy to do for him. He is very easy to take care of.

Now we will see. For the time being, the only thing I can say is that William is between two rooms. He remembers both at different times. So hopefully by the time one of the two rooms is needed, he will have finally settled into the larger room that he seems to remember more clearly. The situation had some humor to it. At least it did for those who worked there, but for Emilio, it was not funny, though he was very patient, more patient than most people would be. Such is Emilio, kind, gentle, intelligent, empathic, and a joy to work with.Now we are waiting to see if William can get some feeling of having his own place where he can call home.

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