As a CNA, I worked on a Skilled Nursing floor. I was actually quite disappointed when I was hired there. I wanted to work on the Medical/Surgical floor! The Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) was like a nursing home within a hospital.
The elderly didn’t bother me per se, but neither did I think I’d get enough experience for when I went to nursing school. Little did I know that I would meet some of the most wonderful people, both coworker and patient.
Two that stand out are “Rosie” and “Harry.” They were husband and wife and were on our floor at the same time; she for a rehab’ing a broken hip and he for end stage cancer. They shared a room and were the sweetest people I can remember meeting.
Rosie was so tiny that when she sat in a wheelchair, her feet never touched the footrests. Harry would forever thank me for anything I did for him and constantly listened to jazz tapes. He was at the stage where his appetite wasn’t very good. He’d never eat the hospital food, but his family would bring him chocolate shakes and fast food from Subway, which he would nibble on a bit.
Rosie also had Alzheimer’s. She was definitely forgetful, but sweeter than sweet at all times. Whenever she saw me, she’d take my hand, bring it to her face and tell me what beautiful skin I had. Consequently, although she never minded having Harry in her room with her, she almost never remembered that he was her husband of 50+ years.
One day, Rosie was up in her wheelchair, legs dangling and all, and I rolled her by Harry’s bed. He looked up at her and said, “I love you, babe.” She looked at him almost lovingly, then peered up at me with this look that some Alzheimer patients have – sort of a cross between “do I know this person speaking to me?” and “are you going to answer him, or shall I?” Finally she glanced at him again, shook her head a little and said, “Poor guy – so skinny!” and giggled.
He just smiled. She was pretty irresistible when she giggled.