Sometimes I wonder what my ladies and gents were like before they came to the nursing center. I can read their charts to find out their medical history and what they did for a living before they got hurt, sick or just wanted to retire. But their charts don't tell me what their favorite cookie is or who they looked up to as a kid or whether they prefer showers or baths.
Once in a while I'll get a little glimpse of who they were. Mrs. A told me one day that she loves toast with jelly dipped in her coffee. I do, too. Mr. B and I talk about playing poker and smoking marijuana. (I play poker, but marijuana is not on my list of vices, so I mostly listen when he talks.) Mrs. C used to be a CNA and, even though she can't tell me about it, I'll bet she was one of those who could move a resident no matter how heavy they were. Mrs. D and I talk about Boxers because she used to have two that would walk with her around her property and she says she was never worried about meeting up with a varmint while they were beside her.
It's easy to forget that these folks had lives just like we do before they became too disabled to care for themselves. They had their share of tears and laughter, joys and regrets. Sometimes, if we're lucky, we get to hear about some of them.