Ignoring me after I softly called his name, he continued staring out the window, and though there were stars in the sky, I questioned his ability to see them with his failing eyesight. I was tired, and something about him didn’t feel right, so I stood behind him silently, also staring out the window for a full minute in an attempt to determine why he felt so uncomfortable.
My approach lacked confidence, but I questioned whether he could sense that either. It was a shuffle really because I needed to place myself in his field of vision without adding the element of surprise and distrust, a hit and miss with dementia patients. I couldn’t touch him. Not yet. I was guessing I had less than two minutes to perform a believable trinity dance; exude love from my voice, eyes, and countenance once he realized how close I was.
Unfortunately, graceful was nowhere to be found in my bag of trinity warm-up exercises, and I stubbed my toe on the wheel of his bed, let out a high-pitched yelp and scared the shit out of him, which scared the shit out of me, which brought the nurses in so I never got to hang out with him after all.
Maybe I was uncomfortable because I didn’t believe I could offer greater peace than the path of the moonless starry sky he’d already attuned to. My hope is that he followed it without fear.