Journal of Gerontological Nursing

Epilogue 

A Thank You...

Sandra Netting, RN

Abstract

None of you people know me, so let me introduce myself. I'm 94 years old, I'm pretty tall, I'm blind, and I have Parkinson's Disease and arthritis and some other long-named things that I can't even say right. IVe been blind a long time so I know how to cope with that, but these other darn things do make life a chore at times! I have a bit of trouble articulating words now so it takes me longer to say things and by the time I get it all worked out in my head 1 tend to forget part of it and have to start over. It's very frustrating, believe me . . . but anyway, forget about that for now and let me get on with my story . . .

A little more about me - my name is Irene and I live in a nursing home - have done for the last six years. For the most part, I am content because I know I'm not a burden to my son, who lives far away. My days are long and sometimes wracked with pain, but mostly just long and lonely. I spend a lot of time thinking of the past and the many memories I have ... I remember when it was my feet hurrying along, my first love, my children, my family, the dances when we listened to the fiddler, I remember . . . don't think I don't just because I sit here with a faraway look or a blank stare. I remember when Frank died and how I wondered how I would ever be able to live without him, because I am really a quiet, gentle gal by nature ... Oh well, here I am straying from my story again, so bear with me.

For a couple of years now I've had to be fed and they tell me the lady that is in the room with me does too, so three times a day the nurses sit in here and care for us and feed us. One of them always talks and jokes with me and I love it! We even sing the song "Irene Goodnight" together. She doesn't seem to care if I miss some words, she just waits for me to catch up. It's wonderful to sing. This old battered heart swells, and I'm living again . . . I'm me . . . a person! Well anyway, one day she says I ought to have a radio so as I could listen to it. I smile and say that would be lovely, but I know it won't happen, it's just talk, and I do appreciate the thought and it would help to pass the many hours of my day, but ... 1 never really thought Td see the likes of it, I mean it don't make sense, why would someone do a thing like that?

Well, this person says she'll get me one by putting a notice in some church thing (1 think it's called a Bulletin) and then she quietly left the room. I really didn't expect a thing, but a week later in she comes and gives me a big hug and says, "Here's your radio, Irene, given to you by a lady named Julie who sends her love!" Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather. Imagine a stranger doing something like that for the likes of me!

She plugged it in and music sneaked into every corner ofthat room and it was so nice. It plays some new-fangled music that just plays the old…

None of you people know me, so let me introduce myself. I'm 94 years old, I'm pretty tall, I'm blind, and I have Parkinson's Disease and arthritis and some other long-named things that I can't even say right. IVe been blind a long time so I know how to cope with that, but these other darn things do make life a chore at times! I have a bit of trouble articulating words now so it takes me longer to say things and by the time I get it all worked out in my head 1 tend to forget part of it and have to start over. It's very frustrating, believe me . . . but anyway, forget about that for now and let me get on with my story . . .

A little more about me - my name is Irene and I live in a nursing home - have done for the last six years. For the most part, I am content because I know I'm not a burden to my son, who lives far away. My days are long and sometimes wracked with pain, but mostly just long and lonely. I spend a lot of time thinking of the past and the many memories I have ... I remember when it was my feet hurrying along, my first love, my children, my family, the dances when we listened to the fiddler, I remember . . . don't think I don't just because I sit here with a faraway look or a blank stare. I remember when Frank died and how I wondered how I would ever be able to live without him, because I am really a quiet, gentle gal by nature ... Oh well, here I am straying from my story again, so bear with me.

For a couple of years now I've had to be fed and they tell me the lady that is in the room with me does too, so three times a day the nurses sit in here and care for us and feed us. One of them always talks and jokes with me and I love it! We even sing the song "Irene Goodnight" together. She doesn't seem to care if I miss some words, she just waits for me to catch up. It's wonderful to sing. This old battered heart swells, and I'm living again . . . I'm me . . . a person! Well anyway, one day she says I ought to have a radio so as I could listen to it. I smile and say that would be lovely, but I know it won't happen, it's just talk, and I do appreciate the thought and it would help to pass the many hours of my day, but ... 1 never really thought Td see the likes of it, I mean it don't make sense, why would someone do a thing like that?

Well, this person says she'll get me one by putting a notice in some church thing (1 think it's called a Bulletin) and then she quietly left the room. I really didn't expect a thing, but a week later in she comes and gives me a big hug and says, "Here's your radio, Irene, given to you by a lady named Julie who sends her love!" Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather. Imagine a stranger doing something like that for the likes of me!

She plugged it in and music sneaked into every corner ofthat room and it was so nice. It plays some new-fangled music that just plays the old tunes and hymns all day long- she called it FM... Well I'll tell you, it filled the room and my heart and my cup was overflowing and I hoped Elizabeth in the next bed could hear it too . . . you see, she can't talk ... I listen to the songs all day and sometimes I hum along, or pat my knee in time to the music, and somehow the bones don't ache as much, the chair isn't so hard to sit on and it isn't such a long day ... All this because I know that somebody out in that big busy world cared enough to share with me ... I can't tell you what that does to me, how I feel so good inside . . .

That's why I asked the nurse to write this down. 1 wanted you to know how I feel and I thought maybe if you read this you might also have an old working radio that you could give someone in a nursing home to help them pass the time . . .

Well, guess Vm worn out talkin', but let me tell you something - God reaches all His people and I pray to thank Him for my radio every day. God loves me. . .and I love you.

Love, Irene

10.3928/0098-9134-19830301-21

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