Thursday, June 6, 2013

Going Home -- Part 4

            The stale air of evening, or every time of day, begs me to open windows, which seems to be verboten. When the occupational therapist brings brownies for lunch, my mother informs me that she made them, with applesauce and pasteurized eggs. “They didn’t look right,” she says, and I have to Google what is a pasteurized egg, reportedly required in nursing homes.
            Bingo. On the sixth day this slow learner understands bland food. Litigation avoidance apparently mandates serving the least common denominator, so as not to offend the least of the fittest. The rest have fully documented their allergies. Maybe eating in the dining room would offer a smorgasboard of additives to tease taste buds. Mother, staying in her room, must ask for salt.
            Another college classmate visits today and the room is full of yesterdays. “I’m ahead of you,” the visitor says, who turned 91 in January. “I might catch up,” says the June baby. Indeed she might. The roommate told me she is 94. Today I heard her tell someone she is 97.
            Mother is ready to take a walk. Only after we head toward the door do I notice a chair obscuring the pathway. For the umpteenth time I appreciate the efficiency of aides who do this many times each day, repositioning call button cords and heating pad cables as fast as I type another word, without a misspell. I don’t even notice when shoes are missing.
            And so, the time has come to take Mother home and hand my baton to a sister-in-law.
            I have apportioned my half-gallon of raw goat's milk so carefully I have some left to drink on my way home, reminding me of home.
            "That's one generous sister-in-law," says Virginia.

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