YOUR CHALLENGE is to write max 500 word piece or a poem about any character who loses an item that when found by another results in their mutual happiness/relief/salvation.
...And here is my entry:
“Where’s my lady?”
“What do you mean, Elaine? What lady?”
“My lady! You know.”
Elaine showed her frustration as the nurse tried to help her.
Elaine was one of the new residents in the nursing home. She had suffered a stroke. Communicating with her was very difficult at times. Typical of a person with expressive aphasia, she couldn’t come up with the right words, even though she knew what she wanted to say in her mind.
“We need your help,” the nurse said as she came into my office. “We can’t figure out what Elaine wants, and we are afraid she is going to get agitated.”
We rushed to her room.
“Where’s my lady?” she insisted.
Elaine had no family. A friend was her caregiver.
“Are you looking for your friend, Pam?”
“No. No. ‘My lady’.”
I wondered if she was referring to a loved one’s picture. I searched through her dresser drawers, finding a picture of Pam.
“Is this ‘your lady’”?
“No. No.” Elaine seemed even more frustrated.
Is she looking for a doll, a stuffed animal perhaps? I pondered.
“No. No,” she repeated, as I showed her a teddy bear I found on top of her cabinet.
I was growing frustrated myself. This was becoming my most challenging communication task. With an Alzheimer’s resident, I could have easily changed the subject, and he/she would have forgotten all about ”my lady,” or whatever he/she was looking for. But this case was different. Elaine wouldn’t easily forget what she was looking for.
Our unsuccessful search for “my lady” went for almost an hour. Fortunately it was time for lunch.
“Elaine, it’s time for lunch. I will help you to continue looking for “your lady” after you finish lunch. Is that alright?”
Eventually, she agreed. I decided to continue my ‘Sherlock Holmes’ search for clues, although deduction doesn’t help much when trying to decode what a person with dementia is really trying to ask for or say.
I called Elaine’s friend, Pam. I told her what was going on. After a long discussion over the phone, Pam wasn’t much help either.
I returned to Elaine’s room. I was positive that Elaine was not looking for a person. She wasn’t asking about a pet either. Pam had said she didn’t have one.
I looked throughout her room again.
The closet! I had forgotten to look into her closet. What if she was referring to a piece of clothing, or a pair of shoes? I wondered.
When Elaine was back to her room, I started showing her item after item of things I found in her closet. It was becoming exhausting as Elaine’s wardrobe was quite large. On the very top shelf of her closet, I spied a black and white handbag. I grabbed it and showed it to Elaine.
“Yes, ‘my lady’!” she exclaimed, with a gleeful expression and a big smile.
I smiled too. And sighed.
I left Elaine’s room, hoping that my lunch was still warm.