Jasmine's Place Issue No. 11 - May/June 2014 - Page 37

Mrs Beckman kept repeating the word “Red”. But what did it mean? By CD Swanson Red!” I was so frustrated that we couldn’t figure out what Mrs. Beckman wanted. It was the same thing since her admission two weeks earlier. I’d walk into her room, and she'd lift her hands to me and say, “red” continuously. I'd manage to calm her after several minutes, while I fervently searched my mind as to what “red” could possibly mean. “Mrs. Beckman, I have to get going, but I’ll return later on…I promise.” She nodded and lifted her hands before saying, “red.” While sitting in my office chair, I wrestled with thoughts of “red” and what red could be. Mrs. Beckman’s primary diagnosis upon admittance into the nursing home was chronic heart failure with a secondary diagnosis of post cardiovascular stroke. The stroke left her aphasic… the only word she could utter was “red.” She only had a second cousin who was older than her and lived two thousand miles away, so there was no hope in trying to contact this family member. Red. I needed to figure this out or I’d never be able to live with myself. It obviously was important enough for her to keep mentioning it, so it must be of major significance. I went to visit her before leaving for the night. “Mrs. Beckman, may I come in?” She nodded her head and smiled. “Red.” “I know, Mrs. Beckman. I’m going to try and figure this out. Please, just nod yes or no for my questions okay?” JASMINE'S PLACE 37 37