Patrick C. Keaveny

The Wordy Coder

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Fifth Day – Oct. 29th


Today, Sally and I were assigned a new patient.

Her name is Betty, and our contact, Kelly, assigned her to us since Dorothy wasn’t working out. When we got there, Betty was talking with a man there (her son, Art), and after being introduced we were told to leave the room so they could get Betty out of bed (a long process apparently).

Art told us that his mother had an extreme form of some kind of mental illness, though was unsure if it was Alzheimer’s or Dimentia. Sometimes she would remember things, other times she thought Art was her boyfriend.

We sat down with her and tried to get to know her. I was excited to find that she loved literature, and we talked for several minutes about different books. At some point I think it’d be cool to find out what’s her favorite book and bring that in.

Alzheimer’s/Dimentia is a very painful process, both for the patient and those close to him/her. I remember my aunt told me that when my Grandma had developed Dimentia, it was heartbreaking for all of them. My aunt told me that it was difficult seeing her mother, who had raised seven children despite being poor for a long time, turn into someone who couldn’t even recognize her own daughter.

It seemed as if Betty is the same way. A lot of the time, it seems like she can’t remember how to speak, which is why I always feel a rush of Serotonin whenever she answers one of our questions. I often wonder what it’s like for someone with that kind of illness, whether they simply revert to stages in their lives when things were great, or if their mind is just collapsing in on itself and they are suffering too much for words.

In any case, Betty was quite talkative and even made us laugh a few times. By the end, she seemed like she enjoyed the time we spent with her, which is the first time I felt like I did something useful since starting the Hospice program. Hopefully that pattern can continue!