Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Twilight Years of Life (07/02/09)
TITLE: You Made My Day
By Patricia Protzman
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I walked into the nursing home at seven am ready for another busy day as charge nurse. As I started toward the nursing station, I met Emily.
“Good morning, Emily. How are you today?”
“Good morning, Cathy, I’m doing fine and how are you?”
“I’m doing great. I replied.”
“When you have time, I would like to show you my vegetable garden out back. See you later.” Emily said, as she hurriedly walked toward the dining room.
“Okay,” I replied. “I’ll try to come at lunchtime.”
Mrs. Emily Baker was a healthy, active, eighty-two year old widow who lived on the second floor. She wanted everyone to call her, “Emily.” She had been a homemaker her entire married life and her only child, a son, lived out of state. During the four years I worked here, I had never met him.
The owners of the nursing home knew Emily personally and allowed her to live here for a very small monthly rent. She said she wanted to pay them back by doing chores. Everyday she picked up and delivered mail to the staff and other residents; and, during mealtimes, collected the dirty dishes and returned them to the kitchen. Sometimes, she would come to my office to talk. Every afternoon as the staff left, she sat outside on the porch swing and told each person, “You made my day.”
As I rounded the corner, I saw Mr. William Bowers, an eighty-seven year old retired police officer with Alzheimer’s disease, sitting in a geriatric chair in the middle of the hall. He was yelling and threatening to throw a plastic glass of liquid he held on anyone coming near him. I didn’t see the night nurse, but Pam, a nursing aide, was standing about six feet away.
“Good morning, Pam” I said. “What’s going on with Mr. Bowers?”
Pam replied, “Good morning, Cathy. Mr. Bowers finished his breakfast and I gave him orange juice to drink while I took his tray back to the kitchen. When I returned, I caught him urinating in the glass and he tried to throw it on me when I attempted to take the glass from him. I got this far with the chair and stopped to let him calm down. He’s still agitated.”
“Yes, he sure is,” I remarked. “I have a plan. Get his attention and I will sneak up behind him, tip the glass, and pour the urine onto the floor. Watch out, though, he’s probably going to throw the glass.”
“Okay,” Pam replied.
Pam kept Mr. Bower’s attention as I slowly passed him. I bent down behind him, grabbed the glass, and quickly turned it upside down, pouring the contents onto the floor. He had a strong grip on the glass, yanked it from my hand, and threw it. The glass missed Pam and hit the floor breaking into a million pieces.
“Whew, that was close, Pam said.” “At least he can’t throw urine on us anymore. I’ll take him to his room and stay with him until he settles down.”
“Thanks, Pam,” I replied.
I received the night nurse’s report, passed the medications, changed dressings, and completed all the necessary paperwork and it was time for lunch. I decided to check out Emily’s vegetable garden.
As I reached the top of the stairs, I met Emily coming out of her room.
She saw me and said, “You’re just in time. I was on my way to see you.”
We opened the back door of the nursing home and she took me to a small garden. There were tomato and cucumber plants and a small patch of lettuce and green onions.
“Did you plant all this, Emily?”
“I sure did, after Gary plowed up the ground.” She said, proudly.
Gary was our maintenance man. He often performed little acts of kindness for the residents.
We went back inside and Emily followed me to a little niche where I usually ate lunch. She asked me about my children and we talked about gardening.
“Well, it’s time for me to get back to work, Emily. I enjoyed our time together.”
“I did too, Cathy.” She replied.
The rest of the afternoon went fast and before long, it was time for me to go home.
I came outside and Emily was sitting on the porch swing. As I came near, she said,
“You made my day.”
I smiled and said. “You made my day too, Emily. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
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