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Chuck Hinman: IJMA. A man named Bob
Chuck Hinman: A man named Bob. Chuck says that he fought every day for Connie's femininity in the nursing home and we won -- so much so that someone else took an interest in her.
Next earlier Chuck Hinman column - Getting My Stories Published
By Chuck Hinman
A man named Bob
After having to place Connie in a nursing home, I had difficulty turning over to their staff such things as choosing the daily clothes she was to wear. I had been involved in her personal care for almost 20 years. I had grown to love the job! I had developed a nice wardrobe of attractive -- stylish clothes for her. She didn't have 'everyday clothes.' She was always dressed up. Why not? She had graduated from mundane things that women ordinarily do. She was my woman and I loved her so! And I knew she liked the role so I spoiled her big time!
She had matching jewelry and shoes for each outfit. I wanted her to wear hose every day, not bobby sox. How degrading! I applied her make-up each day. Her nails and hair were professionally done. She was a doll in, of all places, a nursing home!
Chuck wants Connie to be elegant even in a nursing home
So the transfer of these duties to the nursing home staff created problems to which I never adapted. I make no apology, I didn't want to adapt to a nursing home mentality. For example, they immediately preferred to dress her in loose-fitting sweat clothes, the easy-on-easy-off type. Well, she didn't have any of that type of clothes, and I wasn't going to buy her any.
They wanted athletic shoes with Velcro ties. In fact most everyone who had been in the nursing home any length of time had clothes with Velcro fasteners rather than buttons. But not Connie. Of all places where esteem needs to be preserved not destroyed, you would think it would be in a nursing home crammed to the gills with dementia patients.
I resisted to the end having Connie placed in the 'they all look alike' category. Perhaps it didn't make any difference to Connie but it sure did to me. I didn't give in easily to the indignities Alzheimer's Disease slowly but surely foisted on its victims. But by dam, it wasn't going to claim me as though I had no will to fight! So fight I did, and she was the best dressed, the most perfectly groomed lady in Geriatrics Nursing home as long as she lived. And she was the best smelling, by far!
She stood out and I rather suspect that she enjoyed it as much as her clobbered mind allowed her to. After all, she is a woman, and even though everything else was systematically taken away from her, I as her caregiver, her advocate, and her lover fought each day for her femininity and we won. But it wasn't easy. It brings tears to my eyes as I remember the battles at Geriatrics Nursing Home! I didn't have many friends among the staff but I got over that. There is a tremendous need for advocates for nursing home patients and I gladly stepped forward!
Chuck notices that someone else likes the way Connie looks
All of that to say, apparently there was someone else that liked the way Connie looked....
There was this good looking gentleman resident by the name of Bob who lived on the same floor as Connie. Although he was in a wheel chair, he was more mobile than most residents. I never knew what his problem was. He had a son who dropped in frequently to check on him. Bob rarely spoke but I think he understood. He was a man of few words.
Not long after Connie moved in, I had a hunch that Bob had noted something to his liking about Connie. At first, it was kind of amusing, the thought of a 'nursing home affair.' Then it bugged me and I hated his guts! He hung around her too much, never talking. But he was always there!
Chuck notices Bob is intent on kidnapping Connie
One evening after dinner, I pushed Connie back to her room. I was going to stay for awhile before I left her for the evening. Her room was small and didn't allow for much wheelchair traffic. The first thing I noticed, here was Bob coming in the doorway in his wheelchair. I didn't say anything. Bob never talked -- just looked handsome. I was reading the evening paper with one eye on Bob wondering what he had in mind.
Then it was obvious, he was going to kidnap Connie, in her wheelchair right before my eyes! Everything was slow motion. It was going to be very difficult for him, in his wheelchair to maneuver Connie in her wheelchair out of the room. I hadn't a clue as to his intended destination. But Bob was determined and time was no object.
As he was clearing the door area and it was obvious he was going to be successful, I told him in a parental voice, "Bob, she has to be back before dark!" He didn't say anything. I wasn't surprised!
Chuck rescues Connie from Bob
After just a minute or so of that nonsense, I decided, "Hey, I've had enough of this crap!" So I barged out the door and caught up with him and rolled Connie back to her room. He didn't say anything but I could tell by his countenance he wasn't happy. Well, neither was I for that matter! When I got back to the room, I could see that Bob was not far behind so I decided to push her into the bathroom and I would sit in front of the bathroom door.
"Where is she," he asked in a firm voice. I said in an equally firm voice, "Bob. she can't go with you!"
I couldn't believe when he argued in a subdued but clear voice, "Well, what does SHE say?" I'm sure the veins in my neck tripled in size! That's a sign I'm mad!
Chuck yells at Bob, "Get out of here"
I wanted to hit him in the mouth even though I knew he was a demented patient! I yelled at him, "It doesn't make any difference what she says, she is my wife and you can't have her so get out of here!" I was pulling his chair backwards out of the room when one of the staff heard the commotion and came and rescued all of us from a lover's brawl!
From then on, Bob didn't seem to pay any attention to Connie.
Connie passed away several years ago and Geriatrics Nursing Home went out of business. I do volunteer work on Monday afternoons, and every time our volunteer group sings at Silver Lake nursing home, I see Bob and wonder if he has his eye on any dolls there. He is still as handsome as ever. We don't speak!
Written by Chuck Hinman, May 30, 2005.
Some background information on this story
This story was forwarded to Robert Stone with some additional background information by Alsie Mae Stapleton who kept copies of everything Chuck Hinman sent her.
On Friday, May 6, 2005, her sister Orva Lee Brown wrote Alsie Mae:
I finally remembered today to tell Chuck to add the story he told at church one time about being jealous at seeing another man holding Connie's hand (at the day care where she sometimes stayed). He sent me a story he thought was it but it was the wrong one. Following is the latter part of the conversation.Earlier that day Chuck had written to Orva Lee:
Oh Yes ABSOLUTELY -- I had forgotten and I don't think I have written it as a story -- may have told it and that's all -- and I will write IT when I get some time -- thanks for reminding me -- this guy you are speaking of got the 'hots' over Connie and came to her room while I WAS THERE AND KIDNAPPED HER IN HER WHEELCHAIR -- RIGHT BEFORE MY EYES AND WHEN I PROTESTED -- that she couldn't go with him he said "well, what does she SAY?" Lord, I thought of killing him! Thanks so much -- that will be in Book 2 ... ChuckThis was a reply to Orva Lee's note to Chuck:
I have never read this story. But it's not the one I was speaking of. One time in church (Wednesday evening I think), you stood and told about going to visit Connie or pick her up from day care and she was getting off a bus and was holding some man's hand. You mentioned that you hadn't realized you were the jealous type until you saw this. Maybe I don't have all the facts right but I'll never forget it. The way you told it was so delightful. I laughed for a week over it.When Alsie sent me this information in January 2012, she said:
It was in the nursing home, when Connie's memory was completely gone and she had stopped speaking long before this. A man was sitting in his wheelchair next to Connie and was holding her hand. Chuck was very jealous.... He loved Connie very much. What hurt him the most is -- Connie seemed to be enjoying the man holding her hand.
This story was posted on 2013-10-13 01:45:21
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