Sam's Archive

Izzy – Sam

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

February 6, 2008 – Cold, icy rain. Snow and ice storm coming. Izzy and I went to see Sam in a nursing home near Glens Falls, today. Sam was a grocer in his worklife, and is now dying of Alzheimers/Dementia in a large, well-run nursing home. Nursing homes are full of drama – visits, chats, feuds, falls, turns for the worse – and in the late afternoon, they are peaceful places, almost restful, almost always quiet.
By their very nature, the homes seem to be filled people who often seemed lost, left behind. The nurses always seem dedicated and cheerful to me, and this work, it seems to me, must be a calling. Before and after dinner, families come streaming in for some visitors, not for others.
Izzy and I were in one nursing home where the woman we visited hadn’t had a visitor in many months.
Sam is not always lucid, and has been temperamental with patients and nurses. He was napping when Izzy and I came in. Izzy went over to the bed, and put his head in Sam’s hand, and Sam stirred, woke up, and then sat up. “Awww,” he said, “there’s a good dog,” and he smiled and sat up, and Izzy hopped up onto the bed and then lay down, his head in Sam’s lap, as Sam stroked him gently and talked about his late wife. They sat together for perhaps 10 minutes, and then Sam tired, and Izzy and I left.
Sam remembered that he had a cocker spaniel, but couldn’t remember the dog’s name.
It was a peaceful visit, and satisfying. Sam was smiling and calm when we left, happy and pleased to see Izzy.
Izzy’s gifts for this seem to be sharpening, and on the way out of the nursing home, as often happens, we diverted into a common room where the residents were watching TV were surprised and delighted when we walked by and Izzy stopped for pats and hugs. My favorite time to visit these nursing homes is in the early evening, when they are quiet and Izzy patrols the halls like a benevolent spirit, and a much appreciated one. We will go and see Warren and Helen later in the week.