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A long-term care life without mirrors

November 12, 2012
by Kathleen Mears
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At a recent doctor's appointment I was shocked to see my reflection in a full-length mirror on the back of the examination room door. I quickly turned away because I did not want to look at myself. It had been a very long time since I had seen myself in full view.

I said, "I might melt like a vampire,” and the medical assistant laughed. I explained that I seldom see a mirror at the nursing home where I live and I am unaccustomed to seeing my reflection.

The two nursing homes where I have lived have not had accessible wall mirrors where I could check out my appearance. One had a large mirror over the shower room sink where I caught an occasional glance. But this facility's bathroom mirrors are in an area too small for me to navigate. Even the shower room's mirror is not accessible for me.

So when I want to see how I look, I go to the glass panels at the nurse's station. It is not a great view but it is all I have unless I ask an aide to hold a hand mirror.

Life without mirrors does not seem strange until I go to a store where there are many. Then, without trying I get an occasional glance of my hair or skin to see how my face is aging. Sometimes I am aghast thinking I look tired. Other times I look quickly and just keep moving.

I realize that other people may not see me the way I do. But I have decided maybe living life without mirrors may not be so bad afterall.  

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Kathleen Mears

www.ltlmagazine.com/blog/kathleen-mears

Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...