Rassilon and I were asked to fill in at the nursing home we used to visit. We gave it up to help out someone who wanted to still do visits, but had health problems and couldn’t travel too far. So, as the nursing home was a fortnightly visit, that was perfect for them.
Well we went along today, and we still remembered the people that really enjoyed the visits and seeing Rassilon, so we went around to see the people on our list. However, there was an infection warning in the place, so we were actually given the option of visiting or not, but we went in anyway. Sick or not, people still like their visit from the dog.
Well, we went around the top level and met the people that really enjoyed Rassilon’s visits, and they remembered him, and his name, even after all the time we have been away. But the sad news came when we went downstairs.
We went to the room of the Polish woman who had not been on our original list, but saw Rassilon and really wanted to pat him, and enjoyed having a good long talk, (I always visited her last so I could spend extra time with her). The room was empty, but I knew it was bad news when I saw the bed with no sheets or blankets.
When I asked what had happened, I was told that she had passed away, and by the fact that the room was empty and the bed not made, and with the shortage of nursing home spaces, I guess it was possibly only yesterday.
This is the down side of therapy visiting aged care facilities on a regular basis and getting to know the residents. I will miss our talks together. And Rassilon will miss the blanket she always put on the floor to keep him warm.
But, in a case of one out one in, we met another resident, not on the list, but who wanted to pat Rassilon and just have a talk.
For me, when in a nursing home especially, forget the time limit, the residents are lonely and want to talk to someone. Rassilon is the ice breaker, he gets me in the room and gets them talking, and I will sit and talk with them. That is why my last 7 visits, which should have totaled 630 minutes have actually totaled 1000 minutes. I don’t think I EVER do a proper timed visit.
But it is about the people that I am visiting. I know it sounds like I am making myself sound like a hero or martyr, but having seen what it is like to be stuck in a hospital with no visitors, I feel sorry for the people we visit, and if spending time with them makes them happy, that is what Rassilon and I are there for. I am doing nothing but talking, and that is not a hard thing to do for a few extra minutes.