Meanwhile at the VA Dementia Ward

Weekday Bingo

We wandered into a special weekday bingo game today. For some reason, the mood was much more jovial than the “official” Sunday game.

It was held in an activity room without the big lighted scoreboard.

People were wisecracking all around.

The caller calls out “i17, i17, i17′. From across the room comes back “i hear you” using the same melody. Many snickers from all around.

We are privileged to find a spot at a table with the legendary WWII nurse who is past 100 years old.

And at the same table with us is a young fellow, not 30, in pretty bad shape. He is struggling to keep up with the numbers called and we help him out. The tilt of his brow makes it clear that it is difficult for him to understand everything that is unfolding.

I hold down his card with one hand so he can slide the red plastic cover down on each number that hits. Seems he only has one arm that works, so he needs an extra hand.

I am pleased that he realizes that my hand on his card is a helping gesture, nothing hostile.

I can’t help noticing that at this one table we have veterans from WWII all the way up to the current wars; seventy years of wars.

The sweet fellow to our left seems friendly and in good shape; we kid a lot. When he wins a dollar I tell him to check if it is counterfeit.

But a few minutes later he claims the same bingo he just won. I remind him that was the one where he won the counterfeit dollar and with a smile says, “Oh yeah, that’s right.”