It was approximately 8.30 a.m. on a busy morning when an elderly gentleman in his eighties arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb. He stated that he was in a hurry as he had an appointment at 9.00 a.m.
I took his vital signs and had him take a seat. I knew it would take more than an hour before someone would to able to attend to him. I saw him check his watch anxiously for the time and decided to evaluate his wound since I was not busy with another patient. On examination, the wound was well healed. Hence, I talked to one of the doctors to get the supplies to remove his sutures and redress his wound. We began to engage in a conversation while I was taking care of his wound.
I asked him if he had another doctor’s appointment later as he was in such a hurry. The gentleman told me no and said that he needed to go to the nursing home to have breakfast with his wife. I inquired about her health. He told me that she had been in the nursing home for a while as she was a victim of Alzheimer’s disease.
I probed further and asked if she would be upset if he was slightly late. He replied that she no longer knew who he was and she had not been able to recognize him since five years ago. I asked him in surprise, “And you still go every morning, even though she doesn’t know who you are?”
He smiled as he patted my hand and said, “She doesn’t know me, but I still know who she is.” I had to hold back my tears as he left. I had goose bumps on my arm, and I thought, “That is the kind of love I want in my life.”
True love is neither physical nor romantic. True love is an acceptance of all that is, has been, will be, and will not be.