Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Contractual obligations

Today I went to John's nursing home to visit him and give him a haircut. On his 70th birthday I gave him a homemade voucher offering a lifetime of haircuts and computer support. Not much to do on the computer for his wife Joy, but the hair still keeps growing. It is always rewarding cutting John's hair as it seems to transform him when his hair is close-cropped and his eyebrows and ears are clipped. He actually seems brighter.

When I arrived, John was near the front door talking to the receptionist at the front desk. I didn't really hear what he was saying to her, but it was along the lines of a command. Most of the time John believes he is still at his workplace, Edith Cowan University. I can see how he must perceive the rabbit warren of rooms and nurses stations to be like the offices of his old workplace.

We were shown a small room which is used by an itinerant hairdresser to cut and style patients' hair. The hair cutting distracted maybe a dozen 'inmates' who were nearby watching television. John has developed a bad case of dandruff and I will suggest to Joy that he needs some dandruff shampoo and a bit more attention in his toiletry by his carers.

He now perceives that this is his home (and workplace) and so Joy can take him out and return him without too much drama most times. They usually drive to a riverside cafe and have a coffee and something to eat. This is a very sad situation for John and Joy. There are times when John seems to be aware of his situation and gets a bit weepy. Me too!

After the haircut we had a long talk covering many topics and to a casual observer it would seem a normal conversation. Today he told me that he could not easily connect his thoughts to his mouth.

No comments: