This is a conversation I had with a resident just last night. It isn’t a funny one. It is one of the sweetest, most profound conversations I have had with anyone. It was what I call a round conversation. Meaning that it looped and repeated many times, as is typical for a conversation with Alzheimer’s. Even though this conversation repeated itself over and over in varying sequences it remained fairly cohesive, which doesn’t often happen. I am posting the basic conversation, not the many loops.
The other reason this conversation was so profound is that it was outright religion themed. Which is something that I am very careful to keep vague when speaking with patients. This conversation, however, became very deep without me even realizing it. I somehow transformed my personal spirituality into hers as a form of therapy.
Patient: “You know, the best time with you is when you smile with your heart. God Almighty gave you that lovely face for me to love.”
Nurse: “God Almighty gave you to me because he knew I’d care for you through your pain.”
Patient: “When you smile I know I have a chance in life.”
Nurse: “Then I have accomplished my goal in life.”
Patient (crying): “Does God love me?”
Nurse: “With all his heart”
Patient: “I love you for being the face of God this morning. Will you teach me a new prayer?”
Nurse: “I think you should teach me your favorite prayer.”
Patient: “Did I do something wrong to make him make me so confused? Why does it hurt so much?”
Nurse: “You did nothing wrong. Sometimes being subject to the human condition can’t be helped. It’s part of being alive. How about you teach me that prayer.”
Patient: “I think your name is my prayer today. By the way, what is your name?”