Friday, May 11, 2012


I have become aware that when I see a person in a wheelchair, with another person pushing, I tend to say hello to the pusher.

Here at the Koronis Manor, when I'm pushing Mom in her wheelchair, the workers all look at Mom and smile and say hello.

I think I've just learned something.

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This is a nice nursing home.  The people are super friendly, in that Minnesota way but with an extra measure.  Everyone is so kind and helpful.

And it smells clean.  You know that nursing home smell?  Well you don't smell it here.  I don't know what their secret is, but it's a huge blessing.

And yet.

This is a very depressing place.

Suppertime.  Mom and four elderly gentlemen around a square table.  They are wheeled in and then they sit and wait.  They wear towelly bibs.

People do an awful lot of sitting here, I've noticed.

The four at this table don't talk with each other.  Mom isn't up to conversation and the others...I don't know.  The one always forgets his hearing aids, I know that.

George sits to Mom's left.  He speaks German and is pretty sharp so we have had some fun conversations.

The guy to the right always struggles with fastening his towel.  I offered to help him, once, but he has enough dignity left that I hesitate to be too helpful.

They eat with varying degrees of neatness and then they wait helplessly to be wheeled back to their rooms.

It seems to me that God's original plan was for people to stay young, and then when Adam and Eve messed that one up, the plan was that people would grow old surrounded by their children and grandchildren, and familiar smells, and personal care from sons and daughters, and sitting on the porch swing to snap green beans, and the cat going to sleep beside you, and people dropping by to chat, and children running in with dandelion bouquets.

Then you have Real Life, and broken hips that need professional care, and daughters with families of their own living 2000 miles away.

So we do the best we can in a fallen and broken world.

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When I first went to Oregon years ago, little Marcus Schrock would say, at the supper table, "Hey Dorcas, say 'about.'"  And I would say "about," and he would laugh and laugh.  I could never see what was so funny.

Now, coming back to Minnesota, I understand.

I'll bet if I lived here for a year, I'd pick it up again and never notice.

Last night the ladies at the next table had a very interesting conversation going on in an accent that was pronounced even for Minnesota:

Quotes of the Day:
"Well, Grandma had ten children!  Oh ya!" . . ."They said we can't marry because we're related and I said, 'Are we Finnish?'". . ."We were watching TV and she stepped right in front of us so we couldn't see. . . Oh ya!"
I wish I could have heard the rest of the conversation.


  1. Yes, Dorcas I know that nursing home smell and it sure is anything but pleasant. So thankful that my mom's last days were in a nursing homr that did not have that smell. I am glad your mom gets to be a pleasant place for rehab - that sure can make a difference. It brings tears to my eyes when I think of how my mom struggled to adjust to thet nursing home. God bless you Dorcas for being there for your mom.

  2. I so appreciate your honest observations on elderly people and nursing homes. My parents are approaching that age when we should think about what comes next. It's hard.