Cookie Update...

I went to see Cookie in the nursing home today. She was in her room, sitting in her wheelchair, just like always. But unlike even a month ago, Cookie is very different...Her beautiful white, perfectly styled hair is dull and disheveled.

The bruises on her face from falling out of her wheelchair have faded to an ugly greenish-yellow. The bruising on her hands is worse. They tell me she has been wandering, trying to escape, banging into walls, against doors, at windows and this is why her hands are bruised.

Her shoes were off. Cookie always wore shoes. Her clothes were stained and mismatched. Cookie has always been meticulous about her appearance.

She stared up at me, uncomprehending. I spoke to her and she didn't respond, just gave me a slight smile, like maybe I was speaking Japanese and while she knew I was a friendly person, my words meant nothing.

For one long minute I thought she was completely lost to me.

And then she said, "You are my sweetheart. I know that's right."

The nurse came in and had to almost yell in Cookie's ear in order for her to hear. That's when I understood that it's not that Cookie doesn't understand me, she just can't hear me. Her hearing aid is still lost.

"I think the facility is going to pay for a new one," the nurse said.

I should hope so.

And while they're at it...maybe they could sink some money into paying the staff a living wage, employing good people and enough of them to insure that patients like Cookie don't sit in their own urine, hurting and looking homeless or afraid or both.

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