To the staff who think some visitors are overwrought and oversensitive: There once was a little girl who’s daddy was the biggest, strongest, cleverest daddy in the whole wide world. She still remembers how when she was just a little tike, she used to wait at the front windows of the old house she grew up in for five o’clock to come, because at that time, she would see her father striding down the road on his way home from work. She used to run out the door at first sight of him, run all the way down the road, full pelt and when she reached him, with a smile that lit up the world, he would reach down, and then whisk her up high, and then carry her home in his arms. Now there is a girl who’s father is dying, but not only that he’s lost his mind. Some say he’s already gone, his spirit has left his body, other’s say the real man is still there, he just can’t communicate. Each day that girl wakes up and thinks to herself, ‘what am I going to do today, with my free time?’ and then each time she remembers that her father is in a home now and how could she be so mean as to not visit him, and she realizes with a heavy heart that her free time will be spent visiting him. Not that she doesn’t still love him. In fact her heart is so heavy because she loves him so much. So this girl on every other day, comes home from work, or leaves her family on the weekend to go spend some time with her ailing father. Walking in the door of the home, the smell nauseates her, is it the smell of hospital like food cooking or is it the smell of old people, the sick and the dying? Walking through the halls, she passes the frail and the elderly and shudders as she remembers what the ones in the rooms that she can't see look like. When she gets to her father’s section there are not only old and sick people but crazy people. One lady has called her an ‘f’n b’, another has hissed at her for not letting her out, then there is the lady that comes and dribbles on the girl and her father, or sometimes tries to slap them. There’s the man who is so crazed the girl sometimes stays extra long with her father because she worries he is scared of the other man and there are no staff available to reassure him. All the while the girl herself is a little scared of all this too. There are the days when there is no staff in sight, and it seems like every resident is crying out to the girl for her to help them, something that wears her thin as she is struggling enough emotionally just coping with her father’s situation. Last but not least, there are also the days where her own father yells like he is being murdered, hits his daughter in the face, looks like the most miserable person in the world. So when this girl snaps at you when you tell her she doesn’t know her father as well as you, just remember who’s father it is, and that this girl has bitten her tongue when you and others have said similar things a 100 times before. So when this girl looks upset when you don’t change her father’s soiled clothes at her request, just remember that she’s been sitting next to him for the last 30 minutes smelling it, he’s been yelling at her as if to say ‘why aren’t you helping me’, and again she has sat silent in similar circumstances a 100 times before. See how long you could bear it, I dare you. So when this girl bursts into tears when you tell her she is not allowed to unlock the front door after hours to get out, just remember that it takes every ounce of her strength to walk in that door every day, that she has silently without complaint gone to find someone to let her out a many times before, and silently gotten more and more upset that noone ever volunteers to let her out although they can see that she is leaving. On most evenings there is noone to be found in the halls and in the end she often ends up having to rescue some poor resident who is also looking for a staff member. The girl is tired, the girl is sad, the girl has a heart that is breaking, the girl knows that there is nothing to set her watch by, she could be doing this for one more week or ten more years. The girl doesn’t know what horrors lie in store for her father, or what horrors he may be spared from. What she does know is that she is stuck until God has mercy on her and her father. And when he does that will be no welcome nor bless’ed mercy either. So what can I say – give the girl a break, try to be polite, try to be sensitive, remember how you’ve felt when you’ve gotten attached to a dying resident, and then multiply those emotions by 10 and add the feelings of family duty in as well. If you’ve had a family member in the same situation, remember how that felt. I have no interest in complaining and causing trouble, but I don’t need to be made more upset then I already am by the rude and insensitive.