As I was rushing past the nursing station, Sophia, a 93-year old woman wearing a red velour sweatsuit, was sobbing and calling out for help. She was sitting among a row of other residents who were watching television and passersby.
“What’s the matter?” I asked, stopping to kneel by her wheelchair.
“I want someone to put me
back to bed,” Sophia replied. “I’m so tired.”
“I’ll find someone to help you,” I reassured her. “It might take a little while, but someone will put you back to bed.”
I looked up, scanning the area for an aide or nurse. My eyes met those of a 30-something uniformed delivery man waiting for the elevator. “I bet you must run out of here at night,” he commented. His hardened voice held fear and disgust.
“Actually,” I told him matter-of-factly, “I like it a lot.”
With that, his face relaxed and his tone softened. “I’m really glad to hear that,” he said, sounding relieved. He looked around the room with what seemed to be a new perspective on the situation. The elevator doors opened. “Have a good day!” he called out, smiling.
I found the charge nurse and let her know about Sophia’s need to get back to bed. When I came back to the nursing station again a little while later, Sophia had returned to her room.