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The Story of Eloise

I was a certified nursing assistant taking care of a woman named Eloise who had Alzheimer’s disease. Her husband, who had profound hearing loss and who never wore his hearing aids, was also present in the house.

One day as her husband was preparing to go to the grocery store, Eloise had what I now know to have been a stroke. I only knew that her body became very rigid and I thought she was dying. As he turned away from me, preparing to go to the store, I shouted to him that his wife was possibly dying; however, not hearing what I was saying, he continued to leave the house. I then became terrified that I was to be alone with somebody dying and felt paralyzed as to my next move.

Holding onto her tightly as she fell back into my arms, after some moments, I said to myself, “You must think of Eloise and not yourself.” I then concentrated on what I could do to assist her if she were indeed dying. I said, “Eloise, don’t be afraid; I am here for you.” As as love for her began to flow into my heart, I just began rubbing her chest. As I did this, it was as if Eloise began to re-boot and come back to life. (What would we do without computer terms?) Her eyes opened and she smiled at me as if to say, hi. I then managed to sit her upright, reached for the phone and called the ambulance. Eloise lived for another year. Her husband died the next week.

U.S., Miami, FL

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