It was a busy morning, approximately 8:30 am, when an elderly gentleman, in his 80s arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb. He stated that he was in a hurry and that he had an appointment at 9:00 am. I took his vital signs, and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before someone would be able to see him. I saw him looking at his watch and decided, since I was not busy with another patient, I would evaluate his wound.
On exam it was well healed, so I talked to one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and redressed his wound. While taking care of him, we began to engage in conversation. I asked him if he had a doctor’s appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry. The gentleman told me no, that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife. I then inquired as to her health. He told me that she had been there for awhile and was a victim of Alzheimer’s Disease.
As we talked and I finished dressing his wound, I asked if she would be worried if he was a bit late. He replied that she no longer knew who he was, and hadn’t recognized him in five years. I was surprised, and asked him, “And you still go every morning, even though she doesn’t know who you are?” He smiled and patted my hand and said, “She doesn’t know me, but I still know who she is.”