I spend a couple of days a week consulting in two nursing homes. They're terrible. Pits. When you think about the worst kind of hell to go to in your old age, that's where I work. It's not so bad for me...I get to leave. My friends who live there can't leave.

I do everything I can to drag my "outside" friends over to visit my "inside" friends...but it's slow going. I guess at our age it's a little too close to the bone. And my outside friends say "It's so depressing! How can you stand it?!"

Oh, they are so missing out! I can walk through those doors having the worst day in the world and 20 minutes later, I'm a thousand miles away from my problems. My inside friends give me far more than I can ever hope to give them.

But...I digress!

Marti is my true best friend. She agreed to come hang with the Insiders one morning a week. She reads to Laura.

Two weeks ago, I introduced her to Cookie. Sweet little white-haired old lady with a ready smile and a great sense of humor. But lately, Cookie can't remember where she is, or what we're doing. Most days it's a struggle to form enough words to complete a sentence. It is painful for both of us because Cookie knows she's been slipping and she and I both miss "her."

We're working on it though. We're waiting for the new meds to kick in. I think she'll be back.

I know this because 2 weeks ago she met Marti. Then, last week, Marti who doesn't know Cookie's lost, stops by her room.

"Have you seen Nancy?" Marti asks. (Now, I don't even think Cookie knows my name!)

Cookie says, "She went upstairs to a meeting I think." (Which was true!!!)

Then Cookie frowns at Marti. "You don't think she's in trouble do you?" She asks Marti.

Marti smiles, shakes her head, "Oh, I really don't think so! Not Nancy!"

Cookie shakes her head. "You know," she says to Marti. "I just think they ought to go ahead and move her down here with us. I just think she'd fit in a lot better!"

Marti bites her tongue and manages to agree with Cookie.

When she finds me, she can't wait to tell me Cookie thinks I'm a resident, not staff!

I laugh with her and then I realize the most awesome thing of all...Cookie has just paid me the highest compliment. In a place where the staff is seen as harsh and busy, apart from the rest, Cookie has decided I can't be one of those people. I'm one of Them, the Insiders.

Life is good.

Very, very good.