It was a busy morning, approximately 8:30 am, when an elderly gentleman in his 80’s, presented to have sutures removed from his thumb. He stated that he was in a hurry as he had an appointment at 9:00 am.
I took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing that it would be over an hour before someone would be able to see him. I saw him looking at his watch, and decided that as I was not busy with another patient I would evaluate his wound. On exam it was well healed, so I talked to one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and redress his wound.
While taking care of his wound, we began to engage in conversation. I asked him if he had a doctor’s appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry. The gentleman told me no, that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife. I then inquired as to her health. He told me that she had been there for a while and that she was a victim of Alzheimer Disease.
As we talked, and I finished dressing his wound I asked if she would be worried if he was a bit late. He replied that she no longer knew who he was, that she had not recognized him in 5 years now. I was surprised, and asked him.
“And you still go every morning, even though she doesn’t know who you are?”
He smiled as he patted my hand and said, “She doesn’t know me, but I still know who she is.”
I had to hold back tears as he left, I had goose bumps on my arm, and thought that is the kind of love I want in my life. I have retold this story many times, and still get goose bumps when I tell it.