In my past visits she might have forgotten my name, but she always knew me as the chaplain. Yesterday she didn't, and I am beginning to see signs of decline. However, she still was her hilarious self this day and, of course, we had the above mentioned conversation. Yesterday, however, she took a look at my big belly and the following conversation took place:
Maxine: Are you pregnant?
Me: No, are you?
Maxine: (laughs out loud) Oh dear, not me! I just saw your stomach and thought you were pregnant.
Me: No, I just have a big belly and I need to have some surgery to fix something in there.
Maxine: Can you still have sex?
Today I officiated the funeral of "Percy," a 76 year old man who died with Alzheimer's. Percy was a golden gloves boxer who once fought Floyd Patterson at Madison Square Garden before Patterson became the world heavyweight champ. It was only one of two fights that Percy ever lost.
Percy was extremely difficult to handle, especially at night when the "Sundown Syndrome" would really kick-in. His behavior turned destructive, such as tearing the drapes off the wall and pulling the upholstery off the furniture. Last week, he took a terrible fall and broke his head open. It is hard to believe, but his behaviors got even worse. The nurse told me that oftentimes with Alzheimer's patients, wild behavior is indicative of pain. So, it was decided that he needed to be given some serious pain medication and, not too surprisingly, when his body was free from pain and was able to relax, he died a few days later.
Percy was not connected to any faith community in his adulthood and I am told by his wife that, as far as she knew, he never talked about spiritual matters. However, the last time I saw him alive he looked at me and said, "Pray for me." Four days later, he died. I wonder just how God was communicating to him in those last days.
All in all, a good week.