The red-and-white transport vehicle pulls away from the curb at the medical center. With a heavy sigh, I shift my Chevy into drive and fall in behind while contemplating the task of getting to know the ins and outs of yet another health care institution.
Each place has its own particular power structure, and it will be in the best interest of the patient if I quickly learn the next prevailing protocol. Who will answer questions, be accountable, and take appropriate action? Who will be kind when no one is looking; who will not? I dread the role of being a watchdog.
Only the top of the passenger’s head above the wheelchair can be seen through the van’s back window. My mother is being moved to a nursing home today. I have tried my best to match wits with the pitfalls of dementia. I have failed.
Dementia is a thief in the night that robs a patient’s memory bank while bequeathing a siege of unforgettable images in the mind of the caregiver. For the author, a brief phone call was more than an interruption to business as usual; it was an omen of change. Her predictable life was about to become an emotional roller coaster ride marked with heartwrenching twists and turns, breathtaking highs and lows, and unmistakable encounters with grace.