Mean Mr. R

When I last saw Mom a few days ago, she had shoes on her feet. These were brown Crocs I had ordered for her awhile back when both her pink and baby-blue Crocs had either gone missing or fallen apart. And then these were also missing for awhile, but now Mom has a couple of pairs of shoes in her closet. But she rarely wears them anymore. It sounds to me like the staff might try every day to put shoes on Mom as part of her morning routine. But she frequently removes them. And if she has socks on, she takes those off, too. On this day, she was wearing Crocs with no socks.

The Crocs make a comeback.

Mom’s face also looked really good – almost no bruising left from the fall. Her knee was still a little swollen, but the residual bruising near the bottom of her leg was gone.

When I walked into the program area and looked around for her, Mom was at that very moment stealing another resident’s ice cream from his tray. He was so absorbed in eating his lunch that he didn’t notice. For that, I am glad. Mom sipped at the cup – the chocolate ice cream had melted. She and I walked to a couch to sit down. Shortly after that, Mom got up and walked into a room. I wondered if she was looking for a bed to lie in. From across the way came Mr. R. He went into the room and told Mom to “get the hell out.” He pulled on Mom’s arm, and I scolded him. “I wasn’t doing anything,” he said. Just like a kid.

He and Mom walked away from me, across the program area, and I just watched them. Mr. R was obviously having a bad day, and I thought it might be better if I just left. I followed behind them as they found a couch and sat down. Mom reclined and put her feet on his lap. I just observed briefly. And then I went over and told Mom it looked like she wanted a nap and that I would see her later. I leaned down to kiss her goodbye. Mr. R started talking angrily at me. He said, “I’ll throw you across this room.” I stood back and said, “That’s not necessary.” He stood up in a confrontational way. I don’t remember what I said, but I was mostly trying to sound soothing. There was no way to reason with him, but it is possible to escalate anger under these circumstances. Mom stood up and backed away a little bit. A maintenance man noticed what was happening, and came over to talk to Mr. R. Mr. R was saying that Mom was his, not mine. “They are mother and daughter,” the maintenance staffer said. Mr. R didn’t seem to believe it. He reached to Mom and pulled her toward him. Mom screamed. I was so glad she screamed. Mr. R won’t get away with much as long as Mom screams.

A nurse came running over and she and the maintenance staffer worked on calming Mr. R. Mom and I walked away. We held hands and walked to the lobby. We sat on a couch together for a short while. At one point I noticed Mom’s head tipping, and I assumed she was very tired. I stood up and encouraged her to lie down, and lo and behold, she followed my suggestion. I leaned down again to kiss her goodbye. I imagine she was asleep before I drove out of the parking lot.

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