“I have my tai chi on backwards.”
Patient: “What do you need this for?
Nurse: “It’s my computer. That’s where all my information is stored.”
Patient: “The stringy parts and all?”
“Who’s the gin freeze in your ear?”
Patient: “Are you a soldier here?”
Nurse: “I’m a soldier in the army of love.”
Patient: “You must have 77 caliber kisses.”
“You’re a jack of all parades.”
Patient: “Can you bring me something to hope for?”
Nurse: “My hugs and kisses?”
Patient: “Well, that’s a whole lotta snuckabucka.”
Nurse: “I don’t wanna snuckabucka with anyone but you.”
“I’m so old they won’t even put me in things anymore.”
“Are you sitting out here praying for me to spin your web?”
Nurse: “You’ve eaten so many cookies you’re going to turn into a chocolate chip.
Patient: “No, I can’t, I’m from the south.”
“Purple is a strange color. It can bring you back to life when you die a little inside.”
“Claim your Spain, morning shower.”
“We danced with the wind blowing us over crackles and blue moons.”
“It sounds like it’s kind of dark over there.”
“Stick it in your ear hair and smoke a liver.”
I have the best job in the world. I get to help amazing people live a full dignified life with Alzheimer’s Disease. The people who shaped our world into the amazing place it is are now shaping my world as I continue to hold theirs into shape. It is a fascinating cycle of learning how to let the lives of others inspire my imagination while simultaneously being an anchor for them to hold on to reality. It is often like trying to direct a movie where none of the actors speak the same language as each other or the same language as me. But in the middle of all this chaos are real stories.
A resident brought a DVD set to me stating, “I have no need of this. I was there, in the control room, for every Apollo mission. Maybe you want to see this.” So I graciously accepted the set. We went on to discuss his work with NASA and the space program. He agreed the only thing holding me back from being an astronaut is the fact that I can’t do math. Our mutual laughter made his story my story.
This is how Alzheimer’s Disease should be treated. With stories not drugs and isolation from the world. Stories should be fostered for as long as someone can continue to tell them. It is how we connect to them and their past as the past slowly fades from their stories.
In my mind, few other entities embody the spirit of shaping our world like NASA. They are the epitome of adventure and exploration. It is my pleasure to make life worthwhile for some one who was mission control. After all, he helped make life worthwhile for me. I consider it a great honor to be the person who listens to the stories of these great men and women.
“For such a pretty building you’d think you’d have phones on the moon.”
“I am me today.”
“I hope my opponents have diarrhea all day!”