The mystery of the missing lens.
Today I called at the nursing home to see Geoffrey. I was told that the day before had been his 89th birthday. I was also told that he was quite bright today. Recalling how sprightly he seemed the week before I was looking forward to meeting him again. But when I reached the lounge where he sits, I found him to be quite tired. It was difficult to communicate. He also had a problem hearing what I said. Not surprising really. A lady in the room was making loud noises as though in distress — she seemed to be taking her shoes off and then struggling to get them back on. A cleaner was at work with mop and vacuum cleaner removing the dinner debris from the tables and floor. Some residents were moving around and muttering in their own distinctive way. The radio then began making loud music. I thought it better not to stay long as Geoffrey tended to start shouting at the others out of frustration at not being able to hear my words. And when he did, he had problems comprehending what I said. However, he did agree to have his photograph taken. Unfortunately he was not spruced up this week but rather the opposite — he was wearing a loose pink jersey. Even so, I think the photograph has turned out quite well in the circumstances.
Geoffrey was sitting at a table with a lady resident. I offered her one of the jelly babies I had taken for Geoffrey. She bit its head off and passed it back. I assured her it was okay to eat it and so she put it back in her mouth. All this time she had been fiddling with her glasses. I feel sure she had removed one of the lenses and was trying to get it back. She pushed the glasses away and started sucking on something. I concentrated on Geoffrey. When I looked across the table I saw the loose lens had disappeared. I looked on the floor and around the area. An assistant was near and I told her that the lens was missing. She told me they were Geoffrey’s glasses. Had he been given a new pair? She said they would find the missing lens and then got on with her work. I looked at Geoffrey’s companion. She was still sucking something. She passed me bits that she had previously chewed. Another assistant came near and I told her about Geoffrey’s glasses. She started looking all around for the missing lens.
“Do you think she is sucking it?” I asked.
“No, surely not.”
She asked the chewing lady what she was sucking, but she just ignored the question. So the assistant stuck her little finger in the woman’s mouth to feel what was in it. A bit of wriggling with the finger produced the missing lens! Glasses and lens were taken away to be washed and mended.
I thought it better to go and leave Geoff to have a nap. Poor chap, it had been a noisy room to have a conversation and most of what he said reflected his worries that he was doing nothing when he thought he should be doing something useful. Conducting a service? Gone are those days. So sad. Before I went today, I had looked him up on the Internet again. I found his name on a number of articles published in a prestigious journal. I recalled some sketches I had done for him years ago — they were to illustrate an article he had done for one of his journals. We often worked together conducting services too.
I kissed his forehead and said goodbye. Maybe my next visit will be more like the one I had last week? I hope so. My word, the people who work in that place are angels! I doubt I could cope.