During these endless agonizing months of pandemic-induced isolation, visiting with dementia patients has been even more difficult for everyone involved than it was during what was formerly known as “normal.” Prior to March, I saw Peter several times a week. Instead of chatting we did jigsaw puzzles, watched sports on television or played dominoes, always accompanied by a cup of tea.
Now, with FaceTime as the only means to visit, talking is the only thing we can do. Until very recently we were able to visit outside through the fence but now — Covid cases are spiking within the facility — even that is out. I struggle to come up with things to talk about during the FaceTime meetings that Hailey, the activities director, arranges.
Yesterday was a different story. When I answered the 11:30 call I didn’t expect to see my husband still in bed and covered with his mattress pad instead of this quilt.
“BWAHAHA!” I burst out. He startled awake and looked directly at my face framed on the laptop screen Hailey had propped near his bed. “How did you get in here?” he asked. I tried to explain that I wasn’t there, but I couldn’t talk for laughing.
I heard Hailey giggle. “Sorry I’m late, Judy,” she said. “We had a fire drill and a lot was going on. I didn’t know he was still asleep.”
“He’s always liked to sleep late,” I said, “but this is late even for him.” Peter was having a very hard time waking up.
“What time is it?” he grumbled.
“Almost noon. Did you have breakfast?”
“Don’t know, but I’m hungry.”
“You’d better get up or you’ll miss lunch!”
He peeked under the covers. “But I’m not dressed,” he said and closed his eyes.
He peeked under the covers. “I’m not dressed,” he said as he snugged the mattress pad over his shoulders and closed his eyes.
Photos clockwise from top left • Peter looked pleasantly surprised to see me when he woke up yesterday morning • Last year on Halloween he was discharged after two days in hospital • Peter’s companion Mark draped him in his bed sheet while waiting to leave • Last January we could still have tea together in his room • Hailey snapped this so I could see what Peter looked like when he was chatting with me via FaceTime.