Goodbye Sam

by Ruth Z Deming

GOODBYE SAM (Names have been changed) My day at the adult day care center was not complete until Sam walked through that door. His blonde wife Olivia would drive him from their home in Bucks County. What a couple! Better than Rogers and Astaire. This lovely man, a physician before Alzheimer's crawled through his brain like a snake, maintained his sense of humor, and got along well with Ken, the joker. With fading powers, he walked inside and had little idea where he was. I'd steer him to our table or he'd end up wandering around as if stuck in a labyrinth. Bingo is everyone's favorite. Sometimes he played but could rarely recognize the numbers. And speak? He was a fine one at answering questions. But initiate he could not. Spiffily dressed, he wore cable neck sweaters, neatly pressed khaki pants and old-fashioned saddle shoes, neatly tied.

Could he dress himself?

One day we learned he would not be coming back. Olivia had put him in a nursing home.

My Sam was gone! Gone! Gone!

I didn't cry like I'm sure she did. Alzheimer's: what a terrifying word. Does he know? Does this 83-year-old man - he told me that - once a child psychiatrist and a general practitioner know he's circling the drain until all of him is gone?

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