Dad spent 13 months in a nursing home, always said he didn't want to end in one, but, oh well. My aunt spent five years in the same nursing home. During their stays, I visited regularly, especially the thirteen months my dad was in. Though they've both long passed, I still visit the home. I play and sing for the residents, and you could say the nurses and staff too, cause they listen, I think for them the entertainment can definitely break up the day to the positive.
People give me credit for entertaining at the nursing home, but I say it's me who has gotten a lot from the visiting. I even got a girlfriend out of it - for a few nights.
Tell ya what-Kelly, beautiful nurse assistant, my Godfrey, what a gal. She'd sit in a chair at the head of dad's bed, her long right leg crossing her left, with her pink-socked toes balancing a clog, and she'd feed dad sherbet. I'd stand behind her sneaking looks at her little wispy blonde hairs at the base of her tan back, gathered just below the waistband of her scrub. Holy cripes. It was too much it was, to be so close to Kelly, looking at her wispy lower back hairs, while she took loving care of dad.
She'd feed the cup's last spoonful of sherbet to dad and say, "How's that Bill," and before he'd answer I'd chime in "you want some more don't ya dad?" Course dad, fare-they-well into the dementia and a life-long sweet lover, would pipe up "Yeah, oh yeah, I'll take more ah that."
I run back and forth to the sherbet fridge so many times I wore holes through the soles of my boots. Same boots I got on right now.
Once a month you have a special meeting with the head nurse about your loved one. It's a private meet where you can voice concerns, ask questions, and take in specific details the head nurse has regarding your loved one. At one such meeting the head nurse started off telling ma and me she was especially concerned with something about dad.
Mom queried, "Yeah, well, what is, what's the problem nurse?"
"Ah," she started slowly "something very unusual is happening with Bill, not any of us has seen before."
By now my mother was about to vault over the table and choke the information out of the head nurse "Yes, what, what, what's the concern nurse?"
"Well lately, Bill's movements have come out 95 percent ... sherbet. We can't figure why. We're concerned."
I told her I didn't think it was a problem and that if she checks her duty schedule she might find the sherbet movements coincide strictly with nurse assistant Kelly's work days.
From then on I'd enter dad's room with a hearty "Hey dad, let me guess; the flavor of the day is raspberry mocha nut. Again."
You're disgusted, but I tell you what. Visit a nursing home every day for thirteen months to watch your dad slowly whither away, and you'll hope things arise to take the edge off.
My aunt ended up dying in the same nursing home.
Last Thanksgiving night, just about when I was loosening my trousers I got the call. I rang ma and we went down to look at Aunt Laura. They don't move the deceased, they keep them as is till you get there so you can look at them. So we looked at her, and, sure enough she was dead. So we looked at her some more, and left.
For a period of time mom continued to visit the nursing home. I believe she hasn't been in a good lone while.
My aunt was the fourth to last strain of our strain of DeWees. What's left is my ma, my sis and me. I'm the last dude, so I better get to breeding. Any gals out there wanna breed, ring me. I don't mean breed to have a kid, I just mean, if I'm the last of a strain of something, I sure as hang think I want to go out breeding.
Life goes on, but for me in a way different then it would have had I not spent such an amount of time hanging out in a nursing home. Dad didn't want to end there, but his ending there has had an everlasting positive effect on my life.
And what ever happened to beautiful Kelly the nurse assistant? I think she's married and has a couple of kids. Hmmm, be fun to see her. Though I probably wouldn't be into her too much anymore. Them wispy hairs are probably all worn off by now.
Rusty DeWees tours Vermont and Northern New York with his act "The Logger." His column appears weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Listen for The Logger, Rusty DeWees, Thursdays at 7:40 on the Big Station, 98.9 WOKO