“This is where I had a purpose” – Capt. Montgomery Scott

I have an honest confession for all of you.  I am a sci-fi geek.  I was raised watching the original Star Trek with my dad.  I enjoyed all the characters from the original series, but one in particular was my favorite.  The hard-working miracle worker, Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott (Scotty).  There was something special about him that made me smile.

Many years later when they started The Next Generation I saw they did an homage to the original series by bringing in some of the original cast for guest appearances.  Of those, my favorite was an episode entitled “Relics”.

The crew of the new Enterprise find a crashed Federation ship and go in to investigate.  There they discover that the transporter has been jerry-rigged as a type of life boat for the only survivor, Captain Scott, Retired.

Scotty shows his usual enthusiasm for anything related to engineering and steps in to help Lt. LaForge.  Unfortunately, 75 years have elapsed since the last time Scotty has worked on a warp engine and Scotty isn’t able to be the miracle-worker in engineering.

A dejected Scotty finds himself in the holodeck with a bottle of alien whiskey asking to be shown the bridge of the original Enterprise.

He is soon joined by Captain Picard and as they speak Scotty expresses what he’s feeling.

Scotty: “I don’t belong on your ship.  I belong on this one. (Meaning the holographic ship they’re on) This was my home.  This is where I had a purpose.  But it’s not real.  It’s just a computer generated fantasy. (sighs)  And I’m just an old man who’s trying to hide in it.  Computer, shut this bloody thing off.  It’s time I acted my age.”

He leaves with Picard looking at Scotty with compassion in his eyes.

Later Picard asks LaForge about some data that they needed to acquire from Scotty’s crashed ship.  Picard suggests that Scotty would be helpful in obtaining the information and asks LaForge to personally assist with this task as well.  Picard makes his request with this statement:

“Look, this is not an order.  It’s a request and one that you must feel perfectly free to decline.  You see, one of the most important things in a persons’ life is to feel useful.  Now, Mr. Scott is a Starfleet Officer and I would like him to feel useful again.”

I won’t post any spoilers for those who’ve not seen this but now want to. The upshot is by LaForge engaging Scotty in an area where he’s useful and taking some time to allow himself to be mentored by a more experienced engineer they both gain and grow from the experience.  In the end Scotty is able to show he still deserves the title of ‘Miracle-Worker’.

This episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation demonstrated one of the things I always appreciated about this and the original Star Trek.  The way they took on real life issues in the fantasy world of space travel.

We all need to feel useful.  We all need to feel like our lives have meaning.  We all need a purpose to give us a reason to get up in the morning.

As our loved ones get older and are no longer able to be as independent as they were it is easy for them to become depressed.  We need to acknowledge the impact they’ve made in our lives and in the world.  We need to let them know they still have a purpose in our lives and the world.  Even sharing their stories and things they’ve learned through experience will enrich the community around them.

Engage with the seniors in your family.  Encourage them in the ways they still make a difference and have a purpose.  Tell them how much their presence in your life enriches it.

Change their statement of “This is where I HAD a purpose.” to “This is where I HAVE a purpose”

As an interesting side note, James Doohan who played Scotty, died just over a decade after this episode was filmed.  He died from Alzheimer’s disease.

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Sometimes only a fellow veteran can help

This wonderfully touching story happened here locally.  A dementia patient who was reverting back to his time in Vietnam with the Air Force – he thought he needed to report back to duty and nothing the family or staff told him helped.

So a plea was put out on social media for a hail mary pass, was there someone who could show up in uniform to let him know his service was over?

Read here for the outcome of the hail mary pass: The war is over

Words of comfort

I came into my local favorite coffee shop to work on blog posts and do some research for other projects.  I often do this as there are (actually) fewer distractions than at home.  I’m sitting near the self-serve station for sugar and creamer and getting into my writer’s brain when an older gentleman approaches to doctor his coffee.  He greets me and we exchange pleasantries.

When I speak with seniors who make negative comments about how their day is I often say “Well you’re out and about under your own steam, you must be doing pretty well.”  This often gets a smile and change of attitude.  It did for this gentleman.

He came in for some coffee while his wife was getting a massage next door.  We chatted a little more about nothing special but he started struggling for a word and got frustrated. He explained to me that his doctor had put him on a medication that has messed with his short term memory and then said if it became the real thing then he wanted to just die.  He said that he didn’t want to live when he couldn’t remember who he was.

I looked at him and explained that I care for seniors as my profession and specialize in dementia care.  I told him that while it is true you may forget about some of the people in your life that you never completely forget who you are.  It’s always there, at least some of who you are.

I told him about my dad.  Dad was bed bound and completely non-verbal, non-responsive to anything other than stimulus-response.  Still, when I walked into his room and called out his name he would grunt and move his head in the direction of the sound of my voice (the grunt was a typical guy-type grunt of acknowledgement).

I also told this gentleman that Dad had been in the Marine Corps and when I would play a CD with marching cadences Dad’s feet would tap like he was marching.  The gentleman perked up when he heard my dad had been a Marine, he too had been in the Corps.

We joked about the fact that Dad would “march” and how if you’re a Marine you’ll always be a Marine.

I brought up the fact that sometimes I would say something funny and he would giggle.  One time in particular his hospice nurse had brought more bandages for the pressure sore he had on his tailbone.  I told him that I was going to change his butt band-aid – and he giggled.

I told the gentleman that although the disease took much from him and us, it never fully robbed him of the essence of his humanity.  He knew his name, he recognized his service in the Marine Corps and he could still laugh at something funny.

He looked at me with relief on his face and just said “I’m glad I spoke with you.”

I’m glad he did too.

Sometimes only a fellow veteran can help

This wonderfully touching story happened here locally.  A dementia patient who was reverting back to his time in Vietnam with the Air Force – he thought he needed to report back to duty and nothing the family or staff told him helped.

So a plea was put out on social media for a hail mary pass, was there someone who could show up in uniform to let him know his service was over?

Read here for the outcome of the hail mary pass: The war is over

Words of comfort

I came into my local favorite coffee shop to work on blog posts and do some research for other projects.  I often do this as there are (actually) fewer distractions than at home.  I’m sitting near the self-serve station for sugar and creamer and getting into my writer’s brain when an older gentleman approaches to doctor his coffee.  He greets me and we exchange pleasantries.

When I speak with seniors who make negative comments about how their day is I often say “Well you’re out and about under your own steam, you must be doing pretty well.”  This often gets a smile and change of attitude.  It did for this gentleman.

He came in for some coffee while his wife was getting a massage next door.  We chatted a little more about nothing special but he started struggling for a word and got frustrated. He explained to me that his doctor had put him on a medication that has messed with his short term memory and then said if it became the real thing then he wanted to just die.  He said that he didn’t want to live when he couldn’t remember who he was.

I looked at him and explained that I care for seniors as my profession and specialize in dementia care.  I told him that while it is true you may forget about some of the people in your life that you never completely forget who you are.  It’s always there, at least some of who you are.

I told him about my dad.  Dad was bed bound and completely non-verbal, non-responsive to anything other than stimulus-response.  Still, when I walked into his room and called out his name he would grunt and move his head in the direction of the sound of my voice (the grunt was a typical guy-type grunt of acknowledgement).

I also told this gentleman that Dad had been in the Marine Corps and when I would play a CD with marching cadences Dad’s feet would tap like he was marching.  The gentleman perked up when he heard my dad had been a Marine, he too had been in the Corps.

We joked about the fact that Dad would “march” and how if you’re a Marine you’ll always be a Marine.

I brought up the fact that sometimes I would say something funny and he would giggle.  One time in particular his hospice nurse had brought more bandages for the pressure sore he had on his tailbone.  I told him that I was going to change his butt band-aid – and he giggled.

I told the gentleman that although the disease took much from him and us, it never fully robbed him of the essence of his humanity.  He knew his name, he recognized his service in the Marine Corps and he could still laugh at something funny.

He looked at me with relief on his face and just said “I’m glad I spoke with you.”

I’m glad he did too.

“This is where I had a purpose” – Capt. Montgomery Scott

I have an honest confession for all of you.  I am a sci-fi geek.  I was raised watching the original Star Trek with my dad.  I enjoyed all the characters from the original series, but one in particular was my favorite.  The hard-working miracle worker, Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott (Scotty).  There was something special about him that made me smile.

Many years later when they started The Next Generation I saw they did an homage to the original series by bringing in some of the original cast for guest appearances.  Of those, my favorite was an episode entitled “Relics”.

The crew of the new Enterprise find a crashed Federation ship and go in to investigate.  There they discover that the transporter has been jerry-rigged as a type of life boat for the only survivor, Captain Scott, Retired.

Scotty shows his usual enthusiasm for anything related to engineering and steps in to help Lt. LaForge.  Unfortunately, 75 years have elapsed since the last time Scotty has worked on a warp engine and Scotty isn’t able to be the miracle-worker in engineering.

A dejected Scotty finds himself in the holodeck with a bottle of alien whiskey asking to be shown the bridge of the original Enterprise.

He is soon joined by Captain Picard and as they speak Scotty expresses what he’s feeling.

Scotty: “I don’t belong on your ship.  I belong on this one. (Meaning the holographic ship they’re on) This was my home.  This is where I had a purpose.  But it’s not real.  It’s just a computer generated fantasy. (sighs)  And I’m just an old man who’s trying to hide in it.  Computer, shut this bloody thing off.  It’s time I acted my age.”

He leaves with Picard looking at Scotty with compassion in his eyes.

Later Picard asks LaForge about some data that they needed to acquire from Scotty’s crashed ship.  Picard suggests that Scotty would be helpful in obtaining the information and asks LaForge to personally assist with this task as well.  Picard makes his request with this statement:

“Look, this is not an order.  It’s a request and one that you must feel perfectly free to decline.  You see, one of the most important things in a persons’ life is to feel useful.  Now, Mr. Scott is a Starfleet Officer and I would like him to feel useful again.”

I won’t post any spoilers for those who’ve not seen this but now want to. The upshot is by LaForge engaging Scotty in an area where he’s useful and taking some time to allow himself to be mentored by a more experienced engineer they both gain and grow from the experience.  In the end Scotty is able to show he still deserves the title of ‘Miracle-Worker’.

This episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation demonstrated one of the things I always appreciated about this and the original Star Trek.  The way they took on real life issues in the fantasy world of space travel.

We all need to feel useful.  We all need to feel like our lives have meaning.  We all need a purpose to give us a reason to get up in the morning.

As our loved ones get older and are no longer able to be as independent as they were it is easy for them to become depressed.  We need to acknowledge the impact they’ve made in our lives and in the world.  We need to let them know they still have a purpose in our lives and the world.  Even sharing their stories and things they’ve learned through experience will enrich the community around them.

Engage with the seniors in your family.  Encourage them in the ways they still make a difference and have a purpose.  Tell them how much their presence in your life enriches it.

Change their statement of “This is where I HAD a purpose.” to “This is where I HAVE a purpose”

As an interesting side note, James Doohan who played Scotty, died just over a decade after this episode was filmed.  He died from Alzheimer’s disease.

Who is that old lady in the mirror?

I saw a wonderful series of photos that drive home a real point about how we perceive ourselves and how those we care for perceive themselves.  When I look at myself in the mirror some days I wonder how it is that I’ve grown older – sometimes I still think I’m 20 years old (until I try to do something and my body reminds me I have a few more miles on the odometer … ).

With dementia patients they may look at their reflections in the mirror and will honestly not recognize themselves.  This may lead to aggression, paranoia or terror.

As I look at these pictures I also think about the stories of their lives.  Their life experiences and the ways they enhanced their families and community.

Take a look and enjoy … Photo credit to Tom Hussey …

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