Tuesdays in the Nursing Home



Instead of consulting in a nursing home this Tuesday, I found myself on the other end of the spectrum- as a family member visiting.  We were all gathered at the assisted living facility, visiting my mother, and eating dinner with her in the private dining room.

I was among the last to get up and go into the main dining room to get my salad from the salad bar.  I walked through the familiar swell of elderly folks, picked up a plate and took my position at the end of the short line.  My sister was at the head of the line, filling her plate and chatting amicably with a slightly younger resident when the man standing next to me gives a deep sigh.

I look up, into the face of a man who can't be much over 70, dapper with a neatly trimmed goatee and the sad, world-wise eyes of a man who's come to the facility a few years too early.

He inclines his head toward the woman talking to my sister and shrugs apologetically.  "We old people, we're so slow," he says, with a self-deprecating chuckle.

I am thrown off by his unexpected remark, momentarily unable to answer him because he is alert and aware, a former college professor type whose sadness cuts through my heart.

I meet his eye and smile.  "And yet," I say "I am still unable to keep up."


Anonymous said...

You are a hero Nancy.

Nancy said...

And you are a sweetheart. In real life I'm just another bozo on the bus but thanks for thinking more of me!

Anonymous said...

Anytime Nancy.