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A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to the Dementia Ward


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After retiring from a twenty-seven year job as a truck driver, I went to work at North Central Health Care (NCHC), providing care to dementia and Alzheimer's residents. It had begun with regular visits to my mother. At ninety-eight, she was a resident at NCHC and I visited her regularly. For the average visitor, a dementia ward can take some getting used to. For whatever reason, I fit right in. That led to Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) class, where I was the only male-and the only one without a cell phone in one hand and a Diet Mountain Dew in the other. I learned how to "toilet," how to perform "personal cares." How to cushion my fall before fainting... Despite thirty days of training, nothing prepared me for the people I met, much less the situations I found myself in. The dynamics of daily life on a dementia ward, my encounters with co-workers, visiting family, and particularly the residents I helped, resulted in a train wreck of emotions that both broke and filled my heart. The stories are many. Care giving became an unexpected love affair that led me down a path to self discovery I hadn't known I was traveling, and revealed what became my personal, greatest truth. And finally, a book I needed to write. A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to the Dementia Ward Memoir of a Male CNA

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