Monday, July 1, 2013

fire alarms & hearing tests

so while i was recently visiting pjm, the fire alarms were being tested.  the noise was an obnoxious "ERRR-ERRR-ERRT" accompanied by some flashing ceiling lights.  pjm was oblivious to the commotion while other residents sought the front door {which is on a delay so they cannot leave unaccompanied}.  a pack of residents & caregivers congregated outside just beyond the front door in hopes of escaping the annoyance.  another gentleman paced the lobby floor like a tiger in too small a cage.  his hands clenched over his ears while donning a miserable grimace.  i remained seated as the staff made it clear it was just a test-not an emergency.  it was somewhat amusing to see how the residents try to process this annoying stimulation within their different stages of dementia.

here is the dialogue i had with a sweet elderly resident:

her:  what is all of that noise for?  and those lights?

me:  oh, they are testing the fire alarms.

her:  testing?  they are testing?

me:  yep, just to make sure everything is working fine-to keep all of you safe.

her:  well tell them they can stop now.

me:  stop the noise?  i think the testing might take a bit longer.

her:  tell them to stop.  my hearing is working just fine.  tell them they can stop testing my hearing-i can hear that noise.

me: .... {smile-thanks for the giggle}  excuse me, miss elderly resident says her hearing is working just fine and you can stop the noise now {i say this to the empty space between her & me}

her:  thanks...that helps {the lights and alarms are still blaring so i am unclear how i was of assistance-perhaps it is just comforting to be heard even if the desired solution didn't come as quick as desired}

this is how some tuesday go...a little laughter that eats away some of that overwhelming sphere of sadness i so often feel on visiting day.

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