Sunday, December 13, 2020

for the want of a happy squirrel

My job at the old folks home.  It's not at all glamorous.  In fact, in many ways, it is highly anti-glamorous.  And to say that the pay compensates for the anti-glam would be incorrect.  

When I'd been there for about a month, a coworker told me how she thinks of the residents on her days off.  She looks at the clock and thinks about what they're doing at the given time.  She would wonder how their morning went, how the afternoon is going, etc.

Darned if I don't catch myself doing it too.  I'm off today and currently wondering how the morning went.  Dare I say I've made friends with some of the residents? 

Honestly, though, there are time when I just don't have the time they assume.  They want to chat and tell stories, and I totally understand that, especially given the quarantine conditions.  

An added bonus is that, for many of them, they're speech is slow, and it's like I can feel my internal lava bubbling as I wait for them to finish a sentence.

I got caught in such a situation yesterday.  In her mid-60s, T is one of our youngest residents.  She's young enough to be the daughter of most of the others.  But she clearly can't live independently.

Her speech and movements are slow and rather childlike, but now and then, she'll crack a funny joke that gives a glimmer of her wit.  We don't know why the residents live in a care facility unless they tell us - HIPAA and all that.  I knew that T has children and grandchildren, and she hasn't always been the way she is now, but nothing beyond that.

I was with her yesterday, and she was commenting on the snow slowly falling outside her window, and how the snow gets the squirrels all excited.  Then she lowered her voice a bit and looked straight at me.

"That's what happened to me", she said in her slow measured way.  "I slipped on my icy stairs as I was feeding the squirrels.  That's why I had to have brain surgery..."

Then she added, "Please be careful out there".

Suddenly, I didn't feel in a rush.
Yup, please be careful out there.  Pass it on.

Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
3. Write about the last time you visited a friend.


Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

Oh man that made me tear up. It's nice that you gave her some time. I am certain that there are days that is impossible to do from work or just being tired and want to go home. I can't fathom being all alone forever.Kind of breaks my heart.

Abby said...

Peggy, most of them are "toughing it out", and they've been able to have a few visits outside with family. But now that the weather's gotten colder, visits get cancelled :(

Brian said...

Man, that was a moving story. Can certainly see how one could "adopt" some of the residents. So kind of you to give her the time & space to relate her story. Damn squirrels.

Abby said...

Brian, damn squirrels!

Ginny said...

I would be thinking of them too, even off the clock. You're involved in their day to day lives. I'm sure it's tough getting your work done while giving residents attention. I'm sure they get lonely.

Abby said...

Ginny, they do get lonely, but they're a resilient bunch. I guess that's how they've made it so far! And they're usually quite cheerful... unless they lose at bingo.

KatBouska said...

Oh that sweetheart. I'm so glad she's in good hands with you and your coworkers especially since I imagine time with family is limited for them. Bless her heart.