Friday, January 29, 2016


OK, so this week at work, I wanted to cry.


We had a staff meeting early on, at which time I learned a little more about Alzheimer's disease. It's cause and progression, and the ways it manifests in a person's life. And when I saw it playing out before my eyes the next day, I simply wanted to cry.

I sat at the head of the table calling Bingo in the usual way. "B, twelve." *pause* "B, one-two." But I found the need to wait until I called the next number to be longer than I'm used to. Because the dear woman to my left took a long time to look over the numbers on her card. And the dear woman on my right took a long time, too. Even though my co-worker was right there with her, helping with the search. And reminding her each time she had a number that she should place a chip over it.
That cognitive loss and the inability to quickly identify numbers - I learned Tuesday - is one of the assaults of dementia.
But not everyone was so slow. And one of the ladies who was quick to place her chips wasted no time in hollering at my sweet friend when she was going too slow.
Oh, the heart break of seeing my friend deflate at each scolding.
The loss of self-control and social graces is another dementia casualty which I discovered at the staff meeting.
I sat at the Bingo table calling numbers slowly and deliberately, as I watched grown adults who -through no fault of their own - struggled to comprehend and find numbers, and toiled to contain their angst. I was alternately holding back tears, and asking God, Why? Why is such a terrible disease allowed to steal life???
Then it was as if HE said to me, Yours is not to know the reasons why. Yours is simply to love these people. And I understood. God has placed plenty of smart people in the medical field to research and seek a cure for this disease. And HE has placed me at GLC to love on those who suffer with it until that time comes.

So, when Miss Speedy became anxious, I told her it was OK - that we had time enough to wait.
And when the ladies to my right and left found and covered a number, I congratulated them on the fine job they were doing.
At the end of the game, we exchanged hugs and kisses and "I love you"s.  And, although no visible signs of memory or social improvement were made, the smiles on everyone's faces gave a clear indication that hearts were happy.

Mission accomplished.
Are there people in your life who struggle to meet the expectations of others around them?
How can you respond in ways which will build them up?



Sara K. said...

God truly has you on mission there, Karen! ;)

Karen Hossink said...

Sara - Yes. I believe HE does.