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Saturday, February 06, 2016  |  323 Days Until Christmas
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Stories, Poems and Humor
Left Book My Christmas Angel
by Uhde, Patricia
Right Book

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Group: Stories
Language: English

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The night was hectic. It often is when you are a nurse in a long-term care facility. Some times are worse than others. Change-over night is always one of the worst. Every first day of the month, comes change over. December the first. Change-over night. Anyone who works long-term care will tell you, change-over and full moons. On change-over things will be crazy. There are papers to be shuffled. Books to be carefully examined, or the potential for error is too great. When you are responsible for another persons life, you just can't have errors.

The job doesn't let up, just because it is change-over. There are many routine things that still must be done.

There are... Call lights to answer. Bedpans to place, remove, empty, and clean. Pillows to fluff. Blankets to add to the bed. Ice to pass, so a cool drink of water can be offered. Medication carts to stock. Medication boxes to be checked for ones that need to be reordered. Calls to lab to ensure blood work gets drawn in the morning. There are antibiotics to give for infections, and temperatures to take. There are blood pressures to obtain. There is medication to give to control, or decrease pain level. Testing for blood sugar levels to do. There are Insulin shots to give to the diabetics. There are bandages and ointments to be applied. And the list goes on.

And there is an occasional confused, unsteady walker to pickup off the floor. After you have carefully examined them, and are assured they aren't hurt.

I have one such person who falls often. Three falls this weekend alone. I have often joked with her that an angel wraps wings around her. Because she has never been seriously hurt. I have told her she needs to stop working her angel such overtime!

She can be quite the handful for our staff. She can't understand why we want to walk along beside her. Her mind takes her to a time and place she can recall. She can't understand why so much is different now.

Tonight she furrows her brow, and repeats "Where is my husband? He should be home by now!"

"Mrs. Smith, Where did you live before you came here to be with us?" My reply provides some acknowledgment. I know things aren't the same. It also reinforces to her, that she isn't at the home she shared with him any longer.

She studies for a moment, with no particular answer.

"Didn't you live up around Selvin or Jockey?" I ask.

I have an unfair advantage. I have read her chart.

"Well, yes!" she recalls.

She chats a bit about home. The furrow in her brow relaxes a bit. Her long-term recall is much better than her short-term memory.

"You might know my folks," I add. "Rainey, My maiden name is Rainey"

Her face lights. "Kenny Rainey, I know a Kenny Rainey! He was a wonderful man. He would give you the shoes off his back." "He had this thing, over his..." as she covers her mouth with her hand, on one side. "Didn't he...? Young." "And he married Deloris Bass, didn't... He didn't see a stranger. He loved to talk, kind words. He went to Eben..ez..knee..benzer..."

Ebenezer. Ebenezer Church. I help to her find the word.

"Yes! He was a deacon!"

My eyes began to well up. I laid my head against her chest. She stroked my hair with a loving touch. It was a touch, not unlike my own father's.

I looked up at her. "He's my Daddy."

"Well, You are JUST like him!"

Daddy had a tumor, which covered a portion of his mouth. It was removed when I was a child. Daddy both married, and died young. Daddy was a deacon. Daddy was a storyteller. I could spend hours at his knee as he wove words into fabric that clothed me in comfort. He gave me a sense of belonging. He told parables that helped me understand human nature. Through his stories I learned the power of compassion. I learned how pain could be inflicted by not only a harsh word, but also by the lack of a kind one. I learned of God and his mercy.

It was a hurried night. It would have saved time to simply walk on by.

I would have missed the chance to feel Daddy's kind gentle touch just once more.

She gave to me a gift you cannot buy or tie up in pretty packages.

When she falls, maybe the protective wings that wrap around are her own.

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