Wednesday, October 29, 2008

dessert stealer.

i was in the nursing home in the afternoon, shortly after lunchtime. it didn't smell like a nursing home; the rarely-bathed-chemically-tries-to-be-clean smell didn't linger in the air like it usually does in the try-to-be-clean hallways of other nursing homes i've stepped into. no, this nursing home smelled different...older, maybe.

the halls were white. the walls were white. black scuff marks streaked the side rails of the hallways, evidence that wheelchairs frequently wheeled astray & into the plastic barriers guarding the peeling wallpaper. the nurses station was the center of the second floor, with each wing of rooms branching from a mecca of files, folders, phones, & frenzied nurses bustling to & fro in an attempt to take care of the somewhat unruly patients.

there were odd sounds that echoed down the hallways. yelps. moans. the background noise of TV's turned up for hearing-aided ears. and even the hiss of the oxygen pumps could be heard if you listened close enough. it was obvious there was a bit of excitement in the air--residents were milling about, weaving in & out of their rooms, down the hallways...some trying to make an escape on the elevator. they had their annual halloween party tonight...and the chaos in the hallway was partly due to the blocked-off dining room where staff was decorating. one seventy-something year old woman pranced down the hallway in a neon green fuzzy scarf & purple spandex. another man flew past the elevator in his wheelchair pretending to shoot everyone who walked by with his imaginary gun. i was even informed by the large woman in room 108 that johnny successfully escaped over the weekend & was found walking down the street outside in little more than his pajamas.

i was about three patients into our visit when i noticed an inconspicuous man wearing a red zip-up sport jacket walking the hallways. in the middle of charting my patients physical exam, the man stopped walking & perched himself at the center of chaos in the most inconvenient place possible near the counter of the nurses station. his head was covered in reddish brown hair that was growing more sparse each day. and although easy on his feet, it was obvious from his habitus that he had known some other handicap. he large tongue protruded much more than normal as he licked his lips every few seconds and his thin fingered hands rubbed his protuberant belly much like Santa Clause might.

he was thinking something--that much i could tell. but between charting & my own thinking, i hardly noticed what he was doing just a few feet away from my stack of patient files. a few moments passed and i looked up to find the back of the red jacket facing me and the man standing with his face shoved in a corner in the hallway about 6 feet from the nurses station where he had just been standing.

why in the world would this man put himself in the corner voluntarily??

and then, without warning, red-jacket-man turned around and bee-lined for the nurses station counter again. holding a small round plate with streaks of brown mousse on it in his left hand, i finally noticed the large tray of desserts that had been set for later delivery to other residents on the counter right where he was standing.

which is about the time i glanced up toward his balding head of hair. and what i saw was a 60-something year old man with chocolate mousse all over his face, not to mention the globs of whipped cream & choclate that had escaped his mouth & landed on the front of his red jacket.

he did it. he STOLE another residents dessert right from the nurses station and devoured it in the corner of the hallway.

that large tongue of his went in-and-out and in-and-out faster than before--probably in an attempt to hide the evidence of what he'd just done. but the damage was done, evidenced not by the globs of leftovers he didn't notice on the front of his jacket but mostly by the 6 other desserts he had ruined when he "set" his emptied dessert plate right on top of them.

the nurses aid in black scrubs came running down the hallway after she saw him meandering around the dessert tray. he made a run for it, hobbling down the hallway as fast as his skinny little legs would carry him.

but not without a GIANT smile on his face. he was darn proud of himself for his steal...


Lollipop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
joyfuliving said...

you've been tagged! :)

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