Dr. Rosa and the Chef

My guardian angel

One of the residents at my memory care facility was known as Dr. Rosa.  She said she was not a real doctor.  But sometimes I wondered because she seemed to know a lot about health and medical problems.   She didn’t even seem to have dementia, and I often wondered why she was there.

She was my guardian angel, though.  I had a little trouble adjusting the first few days – and Dr. Rosa was always nearby.  For some reason, her presence soothed me.  

Game Night

Dr. Rosa was a big fan of basketball.  Oh how she loved the San Antonio Spurs.  Of course, most people from San Antonio were huge fans.  But she made sure everyone knew when the Spurs were playing.

“The spurs are on tonight!” she’d call out.  Residents followed her to the theatre room to watch it on the big screen.  Some walking freely.  Some pushing walkers.  And some being pushed in their wheelchairs.  She was like the pied piper of that place.  

She’d always come and get me, and we’d sit together.  Now, I never really cared much about basketball, or any sports, for that matter.  But Dr. Rosa had ”game day snacks,” and she shared with moi.  And her enthusiasm added something special that I didn’t want to miss.

Pizza (sans the beer)

One particular game night, Janet was there to join us.  Dr. Rosa said, “I sure wish we had pizza and beer.  Now that’d be nice, eh?” I agreed.  I couldn’t recall the last time I’d had pizza.  

So Janet spoke with the charge nurse to see if she would be allowed to order pizza, sans the beer.  The nurse called the director, and came back with thumbs up.  So Janet ordered pizza for everybody.

We had such a great time that night.  Pizza and camaraderie in front of the big screen with the Spurs.  Even 100-year-old Mrs. Brown had a slice.  We didn’t need beer, as it was smiles all around.  Dr. Rosa was decked out in her oversized Spurs shirt, with Mardi Gras beads around her neck.  And I had Janet on my arm.

Good times at memory care high

What a memory that we talked about for days to come.  Yep – talk about a short term memory enhancer.  

There was spirit in that place, not subdued by rampant antipsychotic use.  We were allowed to be freely who we were, which kept us from experiencing much anxiety that could invite agitation.  

Compliments of the Chef

One evening I had missed dinner for some reason.  Janet, Dr. Rosa and I walked to the large dining room to see if there were any extra plates.  We were told there was no more food left, and the chef was about to go home.

Oh I was so disappointed, not to mention hungry.  Janet would’ve gladly driven to get me some food, but Dr. Rosa pointed to a table, and told us to sit down.  She then saw the chef, and motioned for him to come over.

When he got to us, Dr. Rosa spoke to him in Spanish.  He looked at me as she spoke.  I had no idea what they were saying because I didn’t know Spanish. He walked toward the kitchen when they finished.  Dr.Rosa, Janet, and I sat and chatted awhile.

Full Course Meal Extraordinaire

The next thing I knew, here came that chef with a full meal on his arms.  He placed the plates on the table in front of me, and smiled.  That truly made my day that he cared enough to take the time to prepare a meal for me, and serve me – even after he was done for the day, and ready to go home.


If you’re looking to find a place

I had a lot of good times there.  Not all facilities are bad – though the majority of them are.  This place was definitely the exception that I thanked God for every day.

I know I’ve said it before. But if you are forced to look for a memory care facility – always, always notice the vibe inside.  If it’s not a happy one, don’t walk away . . . run away.  

But if people look happy, maybe stick around.  I guarantee you’ll spend more time “running away” as you check places out.   Just be diligent in your search, and don’t settle for subpar.  Janet didn’t.  She just kept looking until she found this place.  And it certainly made my last two months on earth sweeter than I could have imagined. 

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