The ladies at the table

I took a little break after last week, when my sister was here and Mom had two outings in two days. I didn’t visit over the weekend. I did finally get there today, a day I had off for the Veterans Day holiday. I arrived shortly before lunch, as usual. Mom was sitting at a table in the program area with three ladies I recognized, but had never met. I joined them at the table. We chatted a little about this and that. Mom asked how our relatives are. And then she said, “How’s Frank?” She grinned, and she said, “I just made that up.” We don’t have any relatives named Frank. I was glad to see her in such a good mood.

While we were sitting there, Mom said to one of the women that she could not remember her name, so they re-introduced themselves to each other. I took that opportunity to introduce myself to all of them, and to get their names as well. I like the idea of addressing as many residents by name as I can. I think it makes them feel good to be acknowledged. I brought up that former Ohio State football coach Earle Bruce had spoken at the facility recently – I had gotten a notice about it in the mail, but I didn’t attend his talk because it was in the middle of the work day. One of the women at the table talked at length about his presentation, and about how good it was. She said she was skeptical about him in advance. She said, “I remember when he came to Columbus.” She is very high functioning. She also recently admired my purse, and said it was “sharp.” I don’t get compliments like that too often.

An activities aide came by and I told her I liked it that Mom is getting her nails done as part of the activities schedule. This woman happened to be the one who had painted Mom’s nails yesterday. While she and I were chatting a little bit and introducing ourselves, a nurse came by and said, “They look exactly alike,” meaning me and Mom. And the woman who had talked about Earle Bruce said, “Yes, you really do favor each other.” I do think I look like Mom, but I’ve always also thought I had some features that clearly came from my Dad – my fair skin, blue eyes, sort of full lips and what I call the “Caldwell smirk.” My nose is sort of a Mom-Dad combo, but really more similar to Dad’s. But I think my movements mimic Mom’s, and my expressions match hers, and perhaps the overall Emily package has a strong resemblance to Mom. Meanwhile, Mom typically seems to think, “How is it that we look alike?” because I’m not sure she understands that she is my mother.

Since it was close to lunchtime, the bibs came out. A woman from another table came over to our table and took one of the bibs. She put it on her chest. I got up to button it around her neck. “Eat,” she said. Mom said, “She talks like that.” I said, “Well, she is getting her point across. She’s ready for lunch.” She then left and went back to her table.

Mom expressed a need to pee, so I took her to her bathroom. A male resident was in her room, standing in the middle of the room and looking toward the window. “Hello,” Mom said to him. He didn’t say anything. I just took her into the bathroom and closed the door for privacy. I pulled off toilet paper for her and after she peed, I handed it to her. She stood up and pulled her pants up without using the paper. She handed it back to me, and I threw it in the toilet. I suggested she wash her hands, and she got them wet and said, “Now what?” I pulled some towels out for her and told her to dry her hands, but she didn’t seem to understand the instruction. I tried to dry her hands a little bit and then threw the towels away.

Lunch arrived: pork and mashed potatoes with gravy, and a serving of cooked cabbage. Mom didn’t really recognize what the cabbage was. One of her table mates is on pureed food so she had only a spoon on her tray. She asked me to get her a fork. I didn’t succeed at that task, on purpose. I thought there might be a chance that she shouldn’t have a fork. Since lunch was a little late, I had been there for 45 minutes, and I was glad I had gotten a little extra time there. And then I left to do a little shopping – retail therapy, you might say.

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2 comments so far

  1. Jenny on

    “Caldwell smirk” is such a nice way to put it 😉 I’m so glad things are going well for you and your mom. Sounds like a great place to be.

  2. momsbrain on

    Thanks, Jenny! It is nice to not be worrying about her.


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