Today we saw our new patient, Betty, again.
This time was very similar to last time, as we had to leave the room while the nurse got her out of bed. Apparently the process involves taking off her clothes, hence the need for privacy.
I’m still very new to all this, so I’m having trouble figuring out how to proceed. Luckily, Sally has had experience with Hospice before, but I’d really like to be more involved so it doesn’t feel like I’m just shifting all the responsibility to her.
In any case, I tried to ask her about a specific picture she had on the desk. It was a picture of Betty with a young girl, possibly a granddaughter. Betty said that the girl’s name was Betty, but that she couldn’t remember who she was. It wasn’t until then that I really saw the impact of something like Alzheimer’s could have on a patient. She looked like she was struggling so hard to remember who the girl was, because she knew that it was someone she cared about. This is similar to an experience with my own grandma my aunt described to me shortly before my grandma died.
I never got the chance to know either of my grandmothers much, as they both died before I was six. I remember my maternal grandmother taught me to play cards and to garden, which are fond memories of mine, but I often wonder what kind of relationship I would have had I have been older when they passed.
Betty seemed to enjoy our visit, even though it was a little hard on her. What I’d really like to do in the future is find some way to visit with her without making her struggle. I feel like most of the questions I ask are insulting, even though others assure me they’re not. But I do wish I could do MORE than simply ask her questions. I hear from other volunteers about how their patients are always so excited right up until they leave, and I wish I could emulate that somehow. After all, if we can’t make one of the few remaining hours of their lives worthwhile, what’s the point in us visiting them?