what do you do if you’re a 95 year-old man
living with your daughter?
why, you cook her supper two nights a week!!
so, when you’re in the hospital for therapy
and you’re wanting to do something fun
making peanut butter cookies sounds like
your kind of therapy
Mr. 95-Year-Old had a busy afternoon
mixing and shaping and baking
the perfectly perfect pretty peanutty pleasures
but his real pleasure came when we decided to wheelchair ride
up and down
over and through
all over the hospital
plate of cookies in his lap
offering to one and all employees
“would you like a cookie? they’re just out of the oven”
when all the cookies were gone, he said
this has been the best day
it has been so much fun
do you think we missed anybody?
I want to make sure we didn’t leave anybody out
the wistful glimmer in those faded eyes
as he worried over not leaving anyone out
stays in my memory still
it is more blessed to give than to receive
It’s been some years now since I cared for this patient, but I remember how agog I was when he told me he cooked a full supper for his daughter two nights a week. When I questioned him as to the menu, he reeled off “meatloaf, mashed potatoes, butterbeans, cornbread” and such as that. And usually a dessert!!
As I sat there on that first visit in his room and chit-chatted with this most pleasant man, I reflected on the blessings I received out of getting to know my patients. You stare at them and listen to them and you realize that perhaps you are looking at your own self some fifty years in the future. There is nothing like healthcare to make one realize the brevity, beauty, and sadness in life. All that’s wonderful and horrible in life is right there in front of you.
The postscript to this little story is this. Within just a week, the patient’s body systems started failing, and he died. The peanut butter cookie day was one of his last good days, and I’m thankful that he got so much pleasure out of something that we younger and healthier people might take for granted…baking cookies and sharing them with others.
And let’s don’t take our youth and health for granted, either.