She stood by the door, waiting. She asked me if I were his wife. I said yes.
It seems she needed to take a look at him, she being a doctor and him a patient. He was in the shower, so we waited. I told her that his mouth was constantly in a rictus position. She wondered how I knew that term. I read a lot.
One of my favorite nurses chatted with me while we waited for him to get out of the shower. We talked about life, about being older, about money being tight and about things we’d like to do. The nurse laughed and smiled. We spoke about her concerns for him and I told her mine.
He spends a lot of time in his room now. He’s able to eat in his room since he wasn’t eating well in the dining room. The nurse was concerned that he’s not getting enough stimulation, being in his room. I let her know that the dining room and all of its craziness was too much stimulation for him. He likes being alone, quiet, watching TV, napping. He can do those things and not have to play Bingo with people who suffer from worse dementia than he, yelling out things that make no sense. She agreed.
In a few minutes, his shower was over. He was in his wheelchair. The nurse told him I was here and I saw his smile all the way down the corridor.
I went to his chair and gave him a kiss and a hug. He smiled. He shivered a little because he was cold from his shower. The doctor came upon us in the hall and held his hand all the way down to his room.
She spoke with him about his difficulty swallowing and he agreed he’d been having trouble. She voiced concern over his weight loss, as had I. It’s hard to put on weight when you have trouble swallowing. She too saw the rictus with his teeth clenched tight together.
We spoke about the progression of his disease and what we would need to do to make him comfortable now and later. She listened. She listened.
Today I go back, with our son, for a Father’s Day Cookout. We’re taking his gift, a brand new watch. He loves watches. He’ll be so happy. We love being able to bring him joy, if only just a little.