|Photo: Ileana Johnson 2015|
The changing pressure is wreaking havoc inside my painful knees but I must stay mobile to see mom and to help my hubby recover from chemo. Today was a good day, she was happy, in less pain, and recognized me.
As always, I bring candy bars and chocolate to mom’s neighbors who are not diabetic. When I first got off the elevator I encountered the retired sailor with a proud tattoo on his wrist. He is always smiling and watching those who come and go on the keyed elevator. We always chat a bit and sometimes I bring him a couple of pieces of wrapped chocolate.
Mimi and I adopted Lakshmi across the hall from mom’s room. We have no idea what she says, she chatters in her Indian dialect that only her family and personal physician understand. Her room has no decorations at all; as soon as her family puts pictures on the walls, she takes them down. She refuses to wear any other outfit except one favorite dress. When the staff bathes her, they dress her in clean clothes but she changes quickly back into her favorite dress. I take her chocolate every time. We only truly communicate when she greets me with “Namaste.”
Last week Mimi ordered pizza for mom. Lakshmi and Maria came into the room and everybody ate pizza and watched TV – Lakshmi does not have a TV in her room. She is highly mobile and often checks in on mom to make sure she has not fallen. Mom can barely stand now.
One day mom was eating breakfast in her chair and Lakshmi came in and made her bed. It seemed to give her joy to do that so we let her. It is almost comical to watch them huddled in the hallway, talking to each other in their respective languages, not one understanding what the other said, yet they nod and smile as if they have just shared a funny story.
It is so lonely for these residents, most of them don’t have any family visiting them at all or visit them infrequently. I cannot imagine not going to see my mom two or three times a week. Americans are a funny bunch, they talk about how much they miss their families, especially after they died, yet while the loved ones are still alive, they never take the time to go see them, to tell them in person how much they missed them. As a European who grew up with a very large extended family, I find that odd.
During Bingo days, Mimi and I take hand lotion bottles for prizes and bags of Lindt chocolate as a treat. The social worker makes sure those who are diabetic only get sugar free treats.
Mimi bought a large birthday cake for everyone on Mardi Gras. It was not a King cake, nobody at our local grocery store even heard of Mardi Gras much less bake such a special treat. But the residents were so happy!
I hope and pray that God continues to keep me mobile so I can bring a little joy to a few of the residents in mom’s nursing home, especially those who are immobile and trapped in their rooms. Mobility is a blessing that most of us don’t appreciate until we lose it in the twilight of our years.