My coworkers and I thought we heard mumbling on the other side of the door, so we eased it open and saw our newest Alzheimer’s patient, Joyce*, on the floor.
We had gotten Joyce the day before at our facility near Asheville, NC. She had been brought to us by her loving family, who desired what was best for her. For the past several years, Joyce had been showing more signs of dementia. Within the last year, her family said she had gotten out of their house and was found in the backyard, wandering about aimlessly upon several occasions. They began worrying about what might happen if Joyce were to use the front door and take to the busy street?
So, they brought Joyce to our lock-in ward, where ‘walkers’ such as Joyce can be in a safe environment and stroll about without putting themselves at risk to serious injury.
And so it was that I and my fellow nurse aides found Joyce on the floor the day after she came. We assumed she’d taken a tumble, so we prepared to call the nurse. But as we got closer, we began making out the mumbling.
Joyce was saying:
Thank you for this place to stay. Thank you for this soft bed. Thank you for my family and friends...”
Needless to say, we all stopped in our tracks and tiptoed out of the room. We felt foolish. Here we were ready to get the nurse, check for bruises and get vitals on a lady who had simply closed the door and knelt by her bed to pray.
Joyce must have been quite a praying woman in her time because she kept on her knees quite a while. A couple of us waited at the door just in case she needed help getting up. I marveled at how this lady who has a disease noted for forgetfulness was remembering to do something that the rest of us all too often forget.
Joyce closed her prayer with,
“And dear God,
Thank you for all these dear people who take care of us in this wonderful place. Bless them each and everyone.”
Joyce didn’t need help getting up from her prayer. She did however, need a tissue. She had tears in her eyes. I took one out of the box for her, and one for me.
* Name has been changed to protect privacy.
For the past seven years Ron Reese has worked as a nurse aide at Pisgah Manor in Candler, North Carolina. For most of that time Ron has worked on the Alzheimer’s Ward.
Oh Ron, thank you for telling us about this! I am a nurse, so I can relate to what you say here. Also, I have noticed at the local nursing home the residents from the "A" unit remember all about the Lord when they come to Bible study once a week! God is more powerful than any disease! love, Deborah,RN
Thank you so much for sharing this Ron. I need one of those tissues now too! I can't even begin to explain the emotions this beautiful devotion caused within me. Thank you again and I want to thank God for this precious sister's example. With love, Deb