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B.I.N.G.O!

The rumors are true.   Old people love playing BINGO.  Add cash money as a prize and they get downright feisty. It’s AWESOME.  Hands have to be patted and shoulders rubbed to get them to calm down when they start to squabble over table space.  They seriously play with 3 or 4 boards each.  Told you.  They are hard core.  One of my residents made this exact request, ” I need one large card and three small cards”  A family member asked me if there was a difference in the cards,  she was really confused by this request.  The only difference is the font size.  No idea why my resident needed different sized cards.  I don’t question my residents.  Mine are an odd bunch and I love them.  Normally I don’t go watch them play BINGO,because umm I’m running around my hall suctioning, sticking, bolusing, ect. ect but tonight as I was about to start my post dinner rounds on my hall I stopped to ask one of my residents who was sitting up by the nurses station if she was ok.  I thought maybe she might be ready to lay down and go to bed.  At 6:30? What was I thinking?  Her response shocked me.  Quick background, she has Parkinson’s and mostly speaks in one or two word answers, but sometimes she has good nights and has conversations.  Tonight was a good night.  She said, “No! I’m lonesome!” Oooh I wanted to kick myself.  I had let her sit by the nurses station during dinner time, while everyone else was in the dining hall (she has a PEG and can’t eat due to high aspiration risks)  Still though it has to suck to sit and watch everyone walk/roll by in groups while you sit alone smelling food you can’t eat.  So I grabbed her and rolled her to the activity room for some BINGO.  I wasn’t sure if she would want to be there or how long her “good night” would last, but I had to try.  The activity director gave me a funny look, this woman was not one of the BINGO regulars.  Once I got her a spot and two cards I asked her if she liked it.  She schooled me with, “Well, yea! It’s a whole lot better then being left out to rot!”  I never wanted to see someone win at BINGO more.  She was so into the game, watching her board, trying to put the chips down herself, and whispering numbers.  The life and intensity of her eyes filled my heart with joy.  Her daughter came in about halfway through and I know she felt the same way (but probably 10x more) seeing her mom up, interacting with other residents, and smiling.  She had not won yet, but I let her daughter take my place next to her and returned to my hall.  I wanted to stay and hear her shout BINGO! but that moment should belong to her daughter.  Back on the hall I began my second round of treatments with a new attitude.  I took my time with each resident.  I did not rush.  I rubbed lotion on dry arms, brushed hair, tucked in covers, and listened to stories I’d heard 50 times before for the 51st time, but with ears that were really listening.  I finished everything almost 2 hours early, I think because I took an extra minute or two with each resident they felt taken care of and calmer, so I wasn’t having to go back to rooms I had been in just 5 minutes before because they are already on the call light again or worse screaming their heads off.  The only thing I had left was the medication and nightly bolus for my BINGO playing lady.  I went down the hall looking for her.  I found her sitting next to her daughter in the lobby.  She was holding a dollar in her hand.  Her prize. She had won a game of BINGO.  I asked, “Did you win a game?” Her daughter beamed, “She sure did!”  She looked at me with bright eyes, and said with a smile, “Yeah I won.  See?”  I chatted with her and her daughter for a minute, she said she was ready for bed now.  So I found her CNA and got her in her gown, fed her, and tucked her into bed.  She chatted the entire time.  Then at 10 as I am giving report and walking the rooms with the night nurse we peek in her room and see that she is still awake.  I told her goodnight and she gave me a huge smile and a little wave (the kind that makes you feel like it’s a secret wave meant just for you).  I gave her one back as I walked out.  I think BINGO has a new regular, and hopefully in a few weeks I will find a few more of the overlooked to join as well…

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