The Veterans in Clinton Oklahoma

On the 2013 trip across America I was fortunate to be able to spend two nights and one full day at the Clinton Veterans Center, in Clinton, Oklahoma. I had no idea what to expect. I had never been around a bunch of Veterans like this before.The Center has 148 nursing care beds with 50 beds devoted to the specialized treatment of Alzheimer’s and other dementias. I came into town on old Route 66 and turned and crossed over Interstate 40 and there it was. I went inside and the staff made me feel welcome. They showed me to the room I would be staying in. I had arrived a little before dinner and had been pushing the stroller and was ready to eat. They put me with some residents and we chatted. Some of them at the table didn’t say much. One lady spoke of the same things over and over. She talked about dancing, when she was young, and every time she did, she lit up. She spoke of how her mom and dad didn’t want her to go in the service. Later I found out she was starting to show signs of dementia and would need to go to the Alzheimer’s section soon. Most of the residents were quiet. I spoke with several of them. The staff took me to the door of the alzheimers unit. She punched in the code and we went in. Alzheimer’s patients will travel if not kept in a confined area and watched. The staff seemed very dedicated to making the Veterans smile. They told me of ongoing events they planned, to generate excitement, and of field trips. I spoke with a man that had been in Vietnam and was haunted by memories of buddies that didn’t come back alive. He said he thinks of them every day. Their was, of course, a lot of sadness there and that was to be expected. The staff tried constantly to make life meaningful for the residents. One staff member in the Alzheimer’s section had cancer and continued to work because, in her words: “I love my Veterans and I have to take care of them” She passed away recently. This is a memory of mine that I hope I never lose.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s