I saw him crying in the shower again, so I asked, “What’s wrong Mr. Dorsett?”
“Just got a little soap in my eye, don’t worry about it.” he replied gruffly.
I left the bathroom to make up his bed and give him what little privacy there is here. Mr. Dorsett prefers to be left alone. He only leaves his room for meals and to sit outside when the weather’s nice.
I’m not comfortable asking him about the crying, but my supervisor says we should be on the lookout for any patients with depression. How can you live in a nursing home without some depression? No one wants to be here and yet they know why they are. The patients understand death and still we operate like a museum of denial. Visible sadness is not allowed so the employees offer a smile, crafts, and the jackpot of happiness—BINGO. The pretending depresses me sometimes.
I help Mr. Dorsett with his pajamas and get him settled in bed. Smiling sweetly, I wish him a good night. I clock out and head home hoping this extra shift will help pay some of the bills. My tires are making a thumping noise again. I need to get groceries. When I get home, my boyfriend is barely sober, and my kids are sleeping. I jump in the shower and let the sound of the water wash away my tears.