Sunday, May 31, 2009

NURSING HOME DIALOGUE

Sunday, May 31, 2009

"Did you know I've been here for ten years?"

"Sorry, ma. It's only been four." We've been down this road a few times.

"Why are you lying to me?"

"I'm not lying. The place only opened four years ago... I mean, this new part. You were in the old part for maybe six months, tops. Before they tore it down. Remember?"

"And before that?"

"Golden Slumbers Nursing Home in Windsor."

"I've never lived in Windsor!"

"If you say so, ma."

"Pass me that orange." I do so.

"It's not peeled."

"You didn't ask me to peel it."

No segue. She's on to something else.

"Are those new shoes?"

"Nope."

"What day is it?"

"Sunday," I tell her. "What did you have for lunch?"

"Pie."

"Just pie?" She doesn't answer the question. She falls asleep for ten minutes.

"When did you get here?"

"About thirty minutes ago, ma. You fell asleep."

"Are those new shoes?"

"Nope."

"Are you growing a beard?"

"No, ma. My face is as smooth as a baby's bottom. It's just a tan."

"How long has your dad been dead?"

"About fifteen years." You just know she'll have something to say about that.

"Fifteen years!"

"Yup. Give or take."

"He must have been old."

"Eighty-four." She was never good at math. This thread is at an end.

"Are those new shoes?"

"Yeah. I just picked 'em up on the way over here. You like them?"

"I've been here for ten years."

"Yeah. I know, ma."

I peel the orange. I get her some ice water. We talk about my shoes some more.

When I get home, all I want to do is have a beer and go to bed.

2 comments:

unokhan said...

this is happening all over the place-- everywhere people a generation apart are having these half conversations. for those of us who have kids, one day perhaps it will be our turn to speak from inside The Cloud. for those of us with no kids, hmmm...

DoctorBoogaloo said...

My mother gets angry and shakes her head when I correct her. I suppose she's fighting the realization that her memory is failing.

My father died in the full throes of Alzheimer's. And while my mother suffered enormously -- as we all did -- when dad was stricken, it was the memories of that time that vanished for her first. Whatever remains seems mostly positive stuff. Out with the bad and hold tight to the rest, I guess.