PLEASE NOTE: Even though this blog is now dormant there are many useful, insightful posts. Scroll back from the end or forward from the beginning. Also, check out my writer's blog. Periodically I will add posts here if they provide additional information about living well with Dementia / Alzheimer's Disease.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Massage Nirvana

Today was Gregory's first meeting with the hospice massage therapist. Ernie Love, perfect name for how good he was, taught for 30 years then went into massage therapy. He volunteers his time with Midwest Palliative Care and Hospice.

I filled Ernie in a little about Gregory: past and present. He was very gentle with Gregory and most of his body work (done on Gregory in his wheel chair) was informed not only by experience but also by intuition and his ability to read Gregory's reaction and involvement in the massage process.

While working with Gregory, Ernie would talk about what he was doing, what he was experiencing, and what feedback he was feeling from Gregory. Then he would come over to me and demonstrate on my neck, my back, my head: what he was doing with Gregory and why.

Gregory trusted him from the beginning and disappeared (in a good way) into the process including working with Ernie during various moves. You could see Gregory concentrating, pushing back, rocking into Ernie's motions. Gregory would grimace but less due to being in pain and more to the good pain of having your muscles, tissue, joints, etc moved, flexed, stretched.

Periodically I would ask Gregory if he was OK and he would reply "OK." I would ask, "Is it good?" and he would reply "Good." The amazing response came after approximately an hour of work. Ernie sensed that Gregory had had enough of a workout and told Gregory he was finished with the massage. Gregory gave a big sigh and without prompting said, "Wonderful."

Both Manny and I watched and listened and agreed that we learned a lot from Ernie. His philosophy was to help Gregory, especially since he is always in his wheelchair, get in touch again with his body and to be aware of the movements, pressure points, releases. Ernie referred to Gregory's body being able to get in touch with his "new normal."

Manny, Halina, and I will continue to give Gregory massage work and Ernie will be back again on Monday. Being a volunteer we are not sure how often he will be able to visit but we are grateful to him and to Midwest Hospice for the experience today.


  1. What a wonderful experience for both of you.

    1. Thank you Pat and if anyone can imagine, it is you!


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