It was a busy morning in the hospital E.R.
At approximately 8:30 a.m., an elderly gentleman in his 80s arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb.
He stated that he was in a hurry as he had an appointment at 9:00 a.m.
I took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before someone would to able to see him.
I saw him looking at his watch and decided, since I was not busy with another patient, I would evaluate his wound.
On exam, it was well healed, so I talked to one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove his sutures, and redressed his wound.
While taking care of his wound, we began to engage in conversation. I asked him if he had a doctor’s appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry.
The gentleman told me no, that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife.
I then inquired as to her health. He told me that she had been there for a while and that she was a victim of Alzheimer Disease.
As we talked, and I finished dressing his wound, I asked if she would be worried if he was a bit late.
He replied that she no longer knew who he was, that she had not recognized him in five years now.
I was surprised, and asked him: “And you still go every morning, even though she doesn’t know who you are?”
He smiled as he patted my hand and said: “She doesn’t know me, but I still know who she is.”
I had to hold back tears as he left; I had goose bumps on my arm; and I thought, “That is the kind of love I want in my life.”