Wednesday, May 17, 2006

How Much Your Visits Mean

I didn't visit Mom until 6 pm for the third day in a row (I'm preparing to go away for a four-day weekend, and when I get back I'm having a hysterectomy, so I'm trying to get all loose ends tied up this week.)
When I arrived, Mom was angry.
My usual big cheery "Hi, Mom! How are you?" met a sullen response.
"Not very well because you haven't been here."
"I was here yesterday, but you were sleepy, watching Lucy. Don't you remember?" I kneel on the floor, face to face with Mom in her wheelchair so she can see me.
"You don't know how much your visits mean to me."
"Oh... but I did come!"
"These people don't do things right. They don't care. I have to keep telling them."
"But Connie was here," I say, "She's pretty good." I grin up at Connie, her private caregiver, who spends a lot of time listening to Mom's complaints about how neglected she is. Connie works 5-10 pm MWF and 2-10 pm TTh.
"And tomorrow she'll take you out to get your nails done," I add, taking Mom's hand. "Look, you need to get your nails done."
The nails are too long and the pink polish is getting a bit ragged.
"Yes, it's been three weeks," Connie says.
"Oh dear," I sigh. "Has it really? Let's write it on the calendar for every other Thursday, otherwise we'll forget."
A few months ago parts of her nails turned white, and a manicurist told me it was because the polish had been left on too long. I never wear polish, so I don't know these things, but I had resolved to make sure she had manicures every three weeks.
"Good. I'll take her tomorrow," Connie agreed.
"What do I need to buy for her?" I asked. "I want to get enough Depends and plastic gloves and things to last for ten days or more."
"I made you a list," Connie says, handing it to me.
"Oh thank you," I say. "That's great."
"I have to go to Sav-On now, Mom. I'll be back in an hour or so. Connie will give you your shower."
"Okay," Mom says grudgingly.
I'm off to buy 4 packages of Depends and lots of other things, but echoing in my mind are Mom's words:
You don't know how much your visits mean to me.

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