Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Report from Pillville: Life is Sweet
I am seldom out of my mother's sight when she goes to the doctor. I am the translator (interpreting what she "hears" with her nearly deaf ears) and the rememberer of what she forgets (although she remembers plenty.) Today I took her to get a CT scan, searching for the cause of her recent 12-pound weight loss, and a mammogram. When it was her turn, a curly-haired man in blue scrubs came for her with a wheel chair, and told me he could handle everything. He spoke loudly and looked into both her eyes and my eyes, so I gladly let him wheel her away.
"I take care of my mom too," the pretty blonde sitting next to me said. Both her wrists were trussed up in those braces people who have some kind of repetitive motion injury have to wear. We talked about everything two women can talk about in ten or fifteen minutes. Men. Childbirth. Aged parents. Death. Illness. Injury. Children. Joy. Depression. Self-reliance. Technology. Love. When they called her name, she turned fully towards me and we grabbed one another's arms and held on for a moment. My strength into her. Hers into me.
In a sappy version of this story, I'd remember the name that was called and go up to the receptionist before I left to see if I might leave a note for her so we could maybe get together again, and the receptionist would tell me they didn't see any patients by that name today. Something mystical for mysterious would happen then, and we'd all find out that she was really an angel or something like that. But she was real.
When one stumbles into encounters like these, there's not much to be done except savor the gratitude.
So my mom endured a long afternoon--mostly of waiting. She sleeps more these days than ever before, but hardly needs a pain pill. She sleeps late and often naps before dinner. Anytime a person comments on her age or asks her how she is, she says she's able to be up and around, or that she takes it one day at a time, or that she's fine except for the aches and pains that come with being old. It was not always thus. When she first moved in, there were a million things she had to have, never quite content. Every day seemed to bring a new errand for me. Now it seems that as long as I have gin, vermouth, half and half, and coffee, and yogurt in the house, all else can be done without.
Today we stopped for fro-yo at one of those places with a dozen serve yourself flavors and the full range of toppings from balsamic vinegar to old fashioned candies; from boba to hot fudge. Last time time she had the butter pecan. This time the sea salt caramel pretzel. She remarks over and over how delicious it is.
Fro-yo every time we're out. That's my new plan.