Mr. Classical: Best Nursing Stories.
I worked on a Dementia unit for around a year. Those that don’t know what that is, it’s a unit or hallway that is locked down 24 hours a day. Anyone that is on the unit would have to have a code to get onto the floor and off the hallway. The patients are able to walk and usually talk but, unable to take care of their self and be safe if they were alone. Most of these patients can’t tell you what year it is or their name, because they can’t remember, but they can usually remember thirty years ago. Mostly “psych” patients are located on this floor/hallway. It gets very interesting on the locked unit especially on the shift that I did work which was 2pm to 10pm. There is a disease called Sun Downers Syndrome which makes patient go a little more demented/confused or just a little bit more aggressive/violent around the time of when the sun goes down, hence the name. Some patients are pleasantly confused, some were not, and just a few could be violent. Nurse’s have been punched in the face, urine thrown on them, and assaulted on this unit, so it’s a good thing to keep your guard up. When you work on this type of unit your always on guard and high alert.
Mr. Classical stayed on this unit. He didn’t say a whole lot he normally just rolled up and down the hallway in his wheelchair. Back and forth he would roll. He hardly stopped to eat much less anything else. If I was standing at my medication cart when he rolled by, would smack me on my rear, and keep rolling or he would say in a deep voice, “HHHEEELLLLOOOO”. I’d say “hey now”, he would just smile and keep rolling. One afternoon I was sitting at my desk and listening to the radio when a commercial came on and in the background of this commercial they had classical music playing. He stopped rolling. He just sat there listening to the music. Moving his shoulders slightly back and forth.
I stopped his daughter the next day and asked, “Did your father have any hobbies or interest?” She would say, “Oh man, He loved classical music. He had season tickets to the closest symphony and went in his tuxedo every time they played. He never missed a show.” I said, “Really” Well that got my mind going.
I came in the next day, went thru my routine, and near the end of my shift instead of playing the radio, I played classical music on my phone. I saw him coming down the hallway, until he came up to my desk, turned from his normal route down the hall, and then sat next to me in his wheelchair. He picked up my phone, just sat there humming to the music and tapping his foot. We did this night after night. Soon he started talking a little more. I mean it was a lot of words but it was more than he usually would say. He was making a little more sense when he spoke. It was as if the music was helping him come back a little.
One afternoon while co-workers that worked that hall with me were busy with other patients, I noticed that my phone was gone. Where could it have gone? Did I leave it somewhere? I looked and looked, then I heard a familiar voice coming from down the hallway. My partner’s voice? I get the where the voice was sounding and sure enough, Mr classical had my phone and had face timed my partner. They were just having a long conversation. I said, “Are you two having fun?” My partner said, “yea he is a cool dude.” There wasn’t a day that I came to work where he didn’t make me smile. He was just awesome.
Then Covid happened.
He was one of the first to pass away in our building from Covid-19. I saw him once before he died, he just looked at me and said, “HEELLLOOO” with that deep voice. His daughter who was very loving with him, couldn’t even come to the window because of the quarantine rules then. She still came the night he died and sat in the parking lot crying. It was around two a.m. when he left us. We had to call someone to come get his daughter and take her home, she was so upset. We all were. She didn’t even get to say good bye. I miss him. He was a cool dude.
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