Notes from the Eldercare Underground: Sage Advice Edition
Way back in October (at least it seems like a long time ago to me) when my mother was in the ER following her mild heart attack and fall in her home, she was under the care of a couple of jovial male nurses.
Since she doesn’t hear well at all, she tended to smile and agree with whatever they asked of her—and also with the doctors, radiology technicians and whomever else happened to pose a question, even though she didn’t understand them.
One of her nurses told her, jokingly, “Around here, you better be careful what you say yes to. You never know where you might end up!”
Very sound advice.
This afternoon I stopped by The Hotel to check on my mother and sat chatting with her for about a half hour.
She asked me again how old she was.
I said, “How old do you think you are?”
She thought for a bit and then said “300?”
I asked her if she knew of anybody that lived to be that old.
She said no, she didn’t.
She thought some more, smiled, and said “3,000?”
So I told her once again that she was currently 92 and would be 93 in September.
“Okay, 93. I’ll have to remember that 3.”
(Which is where, I’m guessing, she keeps getting that 300 figure.)
Then I kept thinking about the episode of “Absolutely Fabulous” where Gran is taking a magazine quiz:
“Margaret Thatcher was prime minister for A) 900 years, B) 3,000 years, C) 11 years. … Well, that’s a trick question. … It was a very long time.”
After we got her age sorted out (for the moment) she told me about this morning when one of her aides came into the room and asked her (she thought) if she wanted to go to breakfast.
She said she did, so she got her walker and they both went into the dining room.
The aide showed her to a chair at a table with about six other people, some of them men (which should have been the tip-off because my mother eats at the same table with the same three other women for every meal.)
After a while it dawned on my mother that this wasn’t breakfast, it was some kind of religious service!
Instead of bacon and eggs, she was getting hymns and a sermon.
At that point in her story I got up and got out the calendar of events for The Hotel. She keeps it in the drawer of one of her antique dry sinks and never looks at it because she doesn’t know one day from the other any more.
I looked for Sunday, May 6, and sure enough, I found that at 9:30 the Baptists hosted a Bible study.
My mother had forgotten she’d already had breakfast and unwittingly bumbled into the study group because she misheard what the aide had asked her.
She didn’t know how to get out of it, so she just sat there until they were done.
“I didn’t understand a word of what they were saying,” she told me, “but the men were very nice looking.”
Before they were through, it sounds like they offered her Communion. She took the little glass and drank it. “It tasted like wine,” she said, “pretty good, too.”
Only thing is, Baptists use grape juice, not wine in their Communion services.
So, that nurse’s word to the wise still holds true.
Be careful what you agree to—instead of eating bacon and eggs for breakfast with your friends, you could end up drinking grape juice shots with the Baptists.