Flowers for Algernon

I don’t have jetlag, but I got a late start painting my fingernails and toenails tonight, so I’m waiting for them to dry. So I’ll catch you up on what I’m doing here in Schenectady, NY.

Two of my good friends, TOK and Vision Guy, are getting married. I’m the MoH (Maid of Honor), so I came a few days early to help prepare. You’d think that with all the weddings I’ve been to lately, I’d be better at this. But I’m not. Lucky for me, TOK has everything ready to go, so I have been helping with all the errands, watching the kids, and providing a small amount of entertainment.

One of the errands involved stopping by a facility for memory-loss patients. Of course, the first thing that happened was that I almost let one escape! When the staff buzzed TOK and I in, there was an elderly man standing by the door. As I walked in, he tried to slip out. The look on his face told me he wasn’t supposed to be doing that, so I pulled the door shut behind me. But it wasn’t quite fast enough and he opened the door up. The alarm sounded. A staff member came and coaxed him back inside.

The facility was pretty nice and the staff were helpful, but it was tough seeing everyone there looking kind of lost. I could only imagine what it must be like for the patients during those rare moments of lucidity when they recognize family members, realize where they are, and comprehend their situation.

TOK was amazing. Gentle, but persuasive. Incredibly caring. And I was useless. I didn’t know what to do or say. Besides, it didn’t seem like it would make any difference if I explained who I am. So as I sat there silent, I was thinking about how patient the staff must be, and how hard it is on family members when their loved one doesn’t remember who they are any longer. And when TOK explained for the third time that she will be marrying this woman’s son on Saturday, and the woman looked kind of confused and shocked, TOK joked again that maybe they should have mentioned the wedding sooner. And I tried to nonchalantly wipe away my tears.

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