Monday, 17 August 2009

He's my Lover

My work involves placing people, of all ages, into long term care beds in the city here. Sending ones loved one off to a facility to live is difficult, very difficult.

Very long wait lists leave families feeling helpless and usually what I do offer is not what they had hoped for. So my days can be not very fulfilling. We are meeting a need though, just not a happy one.

Harold and Marge were married 60 years when Marge moved to a LTC home. Her dementia was too much for Harold to manage in their apartment. He visited her daily and all day, helping her with meals, dressing, taking her for walks. But one day Harold didn't show up.

He had been admitted to hosp with a stroke.

Marge asked for him, every day.

"How is Harold?"

"Is he okay?"

Her children tried to shield her from the bad news.

"Oh he can't make it today" as if Marge was too demented to know that her partner of 60 years would just decide not to make his daily visits. She knew something was wrong. She didn't ask where he was she asked how he was.

Harold eventually stabilized and went on my list, just as his wife had the year before. But the list has over a hundred people on it. People wait and wait for placement often to a place they do not want. Part of my job is to manage the list fairly. It wasn't his turn.

Fairly to whom I wondered. Surely this was not fair to Harold and Marge. Was she too demented to know the difference?

Last week Harold went to the home.

Today the care home called to share a little something with us.

Harold's daughter brought him to his new home today; a room right across the hall from his wife of 60 years. The daughter wheeled Harold into Marge's room.

"Mom, do you know who this is" asked the daughter?

"Of course I do" she replied.

"He's my lover"

Some days at work are really rewarding! :)


Sheryl said...

Julie you did the right thing. I know you are supposed to do the "right" thing and be fair and equal and in my opinion that is exactly what you did. What ever fall out that may come about because of your action will be worth the stand you took today. You have made whatever little time these two people have left together blessed and because of that it was the right thing to do!!!

Julie Cortens said...

Thanks for the support.
I wish I could have been there to see the look on their faces when they saw each other.
And when I am 90 yrs old I want to still see my husband as my lover!!

Mrs Manz said...

Touching story, Julie... glad you could share. :)

Kate said...

Really, what is fair? Is it fair to slowly lose your cherished memories? Is it fair to watch your best friend deteriorate? Is it fair to be parted after 60 years of togetherness? Lots of tears on this one Julie. Thank-you for sharing. It reminds me of The Notebook.