This morning I went to visit a friend while my kids were at VBS. This friend happens to be in a nursing home--in the Alzheimer's unit. She came to live there a little less than a year ago. At the time she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, she and her husband were told to expect about 3 years of coherancy before she she lost touch.
But, doctors are often wrong.
She got sick and was given an antibiotic that triggered her Alzheimer's to rapidly take hold of her mind. She had hallucinations and lost her awareness of what was real and what wasn't. After she was taken off the medication, she regained a tiny portion of what she had lost, but not a lot. Within a month, she was in the nursing home.
Over the past year, I've tried to visit her periodically. But, because I have 3 young children someone has always been sick. I could only go visit when everyone (including me) was well.
The last time I visited was a month ago. It was the first time she didn't know me at all. I sat with her and sang some hymns to her. After my visit, I thought I would try and go each week, but I got sick in July and couldn't go. Her husband had tried to tell me at the time that it was okay if I didn't go. I reassured him at the time that I wanted to.
Today was probably the last time I will visit her.
When I arrived, I saw her walking into her room. I asked if I could sing to her. She said she didn't know. She said she was dumber and couldn't put thoughts together. She walked around her bed and then back around. She told me "they" were doing something that they'd already started. She wasn't able to make the decision to sit down.
I realized that my visit was doing her more harm than good--it was making her more aware of how much she doesn't understand. It set her ill at ease because she didn't know me. I told her I loved her and left.
I am sad. Sometimes what seems like a good thing to do isn't always the best thing to do for the other person.