Simon Cowell , American Idol,Wheel Chaired Hecklers and Other Nursing Home Hazzards
I just finished visiting my mother in a nursing home. I go there about three times a week to see my mom, have some laughs and check on her safety and well-being. My mom had a stroke about three years ago and her speech, body function and short term memory has been affected. She is also wheel chair dependent now. My mom is eighty -one years old she retains her beautiful youthful face and her ability to start trouble.
It's hard going to the nursing home to visit mom but and a friend pointed out to me it's easier than going to visit the cemetery. So I go putting on a cheerful face and go ,even though at times ,I am an emotional wreck inside. The nursing home is full of smells: food,medicine urine, poop and air freshener even though they try very hard to keep the bad smellls to a minimum. Once I get pass the first floor lobby it's gets easier.
Somedays when I visit my mom, her recall ability is as clear as day. Even her short-term memory is accessable with a few prompts. Its like a sunny summer day at the beach on those visits. We laugh and giggle like school girls at summer camp. Some would think us naughty as we whisper and discuss individual clients and fall into peals of laughter about some of the crazy things that go on at the nursing home.
Once we attended an impronto serenade by a man who came to visit his wife. His wife had Alhiemers and he would come and sit with her every day, all day. One day he brought a book of hymns to the common room/cafeteria. (My mom had been put on the Alheimers floor while they searched for a bed elsewhere in the facility). This man began to sing. He didn't have a bad voice but every song he sang sounded alike it. His singing at first look was romantic and loving but after the fifth song It was down right annoying. How can Jesus Keep Me Near The Cross sound the same Amazing Grace? My mom and I both sing and we tried hard to provide a background chorus to improve his tonal quality to help change the sameness of each song. He glared at our attempts to provide backup and we tried hard to stiffle our giggles at his annoyance at our joining in.
One of the clients who I thought was catatonic began to speak. She had never made any motion as many times as I had visited the home before. It's like she came alive just to heckle this man . She told him.
"You couldn't carry a tune if it was in a plastic bag. That why your wife is here to get away from that awful din. Why don't you to get a hotel room and carry on like that. Put you hands over your mouth so I can take mine off my ears. Finally, she screamed." Just shut the hell up why don't you". The man kept singing even louder ignoring her pleas for quiet.
His singing became louder as her shouting became louder. It was like a contest of wills.Their noisy exchange had excited the other clients and chaos erupted. The clients became increasing agitated their nonsensical mummuring begining to reaching a fevers pitch. The singing man in his defiance began to sing even louder. stumbling over the words of the hymns. The heckling client in the wheel chair began insulted him more.
"You sound like a bag of dried leaves "she screamed. "You don't even know the words".
A male client shuffled over to singing man and put his hands over the singing man's mouth The aides tried to lead the man away as he pushed them back.The aides had a full blown cafeteria fight on there hands. The other elderly patients began to act up physically and nursing aides rushed from everywhere tried to quell the mutiny. The wheel chair heckler continued to talk.
"You get on my nerves with that shitty ass singing every damn time you come here songs sounds all alike. it ".He don't even know the words to the songs...she repeated as she slipped back into her catatonic state.
Finally the Catholic Sister In Charge appeared in full black habit regalia asking the man could he continue his karaoke at another time. What a hoot! We could contain ourselves no longer as the man exited with a bruised ego harrumping out the door pulling his limp wife as he left. I said the sister looked like Simon Cowell on American Idol tv show as we howled laughing so hard we couldn't catch our breath.
The Sister reentered the room and walked up to my mom and I . She gave us the catholic school nun's stare. Like I can't prove it but I know you two are the trouble makers as she looked around the room otherwise quiet room. Of course the wheel chaired heckler was silent by then. The mouth grabber was in a chair with his legs crossed. We exited the common room looking guilty as sin and loving every minute of it.
That"s was the most fun I've had since I've been here my mom stated and we sniggered, giggled and sniggered again and again. Unfortunately, the Singing Man was waiting on the elevator and over heard us. He turned beet red and then the Sister reappeared to ride the elevator with the man to the ground floor. Shortly, afterwards my mother was transferred off the Alheimers floor and everytime that Nun passes me now I get the catholic school stare. It was worth it. Next time, I tell you about the fight my mom started in the cafeteria.