Saturday, January 24, 2009
The Adventure Known as Paul's Life
"Paul" is a cute 96 year old man who believes I am writing his life story. Mind you, I didn't do anything to encourage this belief. He is mostly alert and oriented across the board but ocassionally he'll mix up a few details. In this case, there was a woman who was recording his life story; however, she was writing it while he still lived in assisted living in Washington 3 years ago. I always encourage my patients to tell me their story, either the long or short version, and Paul has taken me quite literally on this offer. After the first visit, he started telling his family how I was writing his story and then he told me I could collect any royalties because he'll be gone by that time. Well, I couldn't help but think I really should start writing his story down. He's had an interesting life, from his 72 year marriage to saving his stepfather from drowning when he was 9 years old to encounters with gangsters named Pretty Boy Floyd. Last week I started videotaping these stories, as a keepsake for his family. I'll ask him a question or two but it doesn't take much for him to take a trip down memory lane. His wife died 2 years ago but he's still in love with her. The way his face lit up while describing their wedding day! It's been a beautiful thing to witness. His family appreciates having someone else listen to the stories he's been telling his whole life. Paul appreciates my visits. (In fact, yesterday he told me I could stay all night!) And I appreciate gleaning wisdom from someone who's been through it all.