We visited an assisted living facility slash nursing home today.
The resident in question is only 62. Doesn’t belong there. Unfortunately a history of drug and alcohol abuse and more recent encounters with some bad prescriptions from a psychotic ex have burned out enough synapses to destroy his memory and much of his faculties.
And people are shocked when I tell them I don’t do drugs.
Several in my family have tangled with drug and alcohol problems. At least one drank herself to death. It’s not a path I choose to take.
While we were at the home, a woman tried to enter the apartment. She was lost and confused, and a nurse had to come get her.
Is this how it ends? I wondered.
Not if I can help it. This is why I exercise. Why I try to keep my mind sharp. Why I don’t do drugs and why my vices are few.
Some say nursing homes are scary because they’re reminders of our mortality. They’ve got it wrong. Nursing homes are reminders of our own fragility. If things go wrong, if we abuse our bodies and our minds, our lives can end long before our hearts stop beating.
I’m glad we could brighten this person’s day. He lit up when we arrived, and we could see the joy in his eyes at simply having my wife and I, our children, and his own mother in the room with him. Despite the moment of alarm with the other resident, we had a great visit.
But hey, I guess it could have been worse. Imagine if old Gladys Foster had tried to force her way into the apartment (NSFW):