We went back to the hospital where I wasn't sure if I had the heart to go back.....but we were assigned it so here we go.....
There are many departments to this very large hospital. We were asked to go to the locked in dementia area today. As we made our way over with the Activities Co-ordinator - a very helpful, considerate, dog-loving young man, he told me some history about the hospital and also gave me a lot of background on dementia. It is all very interesting to me. I made the comment that the brain is an amazing instrument and how dementia/alzheimer's effects people differently. He explained that the disease actually causes the brain to die and those areas show up as black when examined! Wherever the disease attacks, that determines how the patient behaves.
One lady was walking around the halls crying, loudly, with tears and all! Just walking around, crying. So sad. We made our way to the main room where many individuals were putting out their arms to touch Gabby. There was a sign that said, "Happy Birthday Donna!" We wished Donna a Happy Birthday and she said, "Is it my birthday? I didn't know!" We asked her when her birthday was and she told us March 29, 1929! Yup, it's your birthday!! 82 years old!! Couldn't remember that TODAY was her birthday but knew her birthdate. Amazing! She asked to keep Gabby. When I told her that Gabby was my dog and she lived with me, she told me, "Well, I am sure there are more where she comes from, just get another one!" hahaha!! Love it.
Many were able to reach down and pat Gabby on her head. Most dogs don't really enjoy this gesture. I can tell it is not one of Gabby's favorite either. But, she just sat there, looking at me as if to say, "I get it. I must just sit right now." The Co-ordinator also understood Gabby's expression and smiled, telling Gabby she was a good girl. A few even POUND on her head, not knowing there own strength. OUCH! Still, she just sits there.
We were able to visit a few private rooms but not many. One man was lying on his side and said that he would LOVE if Gabby sat with him. Gabby climbed up, nuzzled into his chest and laid her head on his shoulder. It was so sweet and the man was thrilled. He spoke softly, asking how old she was. I told him that she had a birthday coming up in a few weeks and she would be 4 years old. He said, "She is 32 years old. 8 times 4 is 32!" No one moved for a few minutes, just enjoyed the "lovefest" in the moment.
The biggest laugh goes to a lady named Martha. She is removed from the group and sits in a private area because she speaks VERY LOUDLY!!! Everything is a YELL!! I was told that yelling can be very upsetting to many patients so she must be more secluded. When we approached her she told us, "Keep on walking! I don't wanna see you or your dog!!" Oh my!! She rambled on and on, talking so much crap. We just laughed. I asked, "How old are you Martha?" She answered, "I don't know but I know I am not in my 40, 50's or even 60's!" hahahahah!!! We laughed and laughed. She was definitely a character and a half!
The last meeting was in a beautiful private area, surrounded by large windows with a background of many tall Eucalyptus trees. It was like stepping into an oasis!! A lady sat all alone in this area on a couch. The co-ordinator said, "Oh this is Linda, she doesn't like visitors." As we approached, I told her Gabby was here to see her! I told Gabby to jump up on the couch, she did. Linda immediately began stroking her and SMILING!!!! The co-ordinator and I just stood in the area, talking about the birth of his new baby, living in SF, homes he had bought....blah blah blah....We looked over and Linda was STILL smiling from ear to ear, stroking Gabby. We exchanged a look of being very pleased and continued talking a little longer while Linda enjoyed her moments.
After our one hour visit, we rode the elevators back down, said our goodbyes and departed. It was a great visit and I am thinking of asking to be assigned to this hospital as a regular!