Meanwhile at the VA Dementia Ward

The End, Almost

My ongoing journey with my veteran buddy at the VA may have ended in a way I didn’t expect.

Last visit I asked him if he wanted to do our regular thing, to wheel down to the empty staff lounge where we can listen to music and watch videos without disturbing the other residents.

Normally he responds in the affirmative.

Last time he didn’t respond in any way, but I assumed it was part of his growing difficulty in communicating, and that he would appreciate what we always do together.

So I wheeled him there and we started watching videos together.

But after about 20 minutes he said, clearly, “Let’s get out of here.” Which I took to mean that he wanted to go back to the dayroom where most all of the residents spend their days.

So I wheeled him right back to the dayroom and he seemed not to want me around and I left.

Then a few days later his family texted me to say that they asked if he wanted me to visit again and he said no.

So there it stands.

Any of you that have cared for someone unable to express their needs probably knows the situation: you can’t know for sure what they want; you take your best guess, you might be wrong.

As I write this my calendar just alerted me that it is time to visit him at the VA but I am not going.

Along with sadness I am also aware that I am feeling relief to be released from a self-imposed duty without which my life will be simpler.

But I won’t yet delete his Sunday and Wednesday visits from the calendar just yet.

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