Resting at home after surgery, I don't remember to call Mom, but at 5:45 pm the phone rings.
"This is your mother," she announces. "How are you?"
She must have asked Connie to make the phone call when Connie arrived for her evening shift.
"I'm lying in bed, resting from my hysterectomy," I answer. "How are you doing?"
"Not very well," she begins. "I've got to get this thing over with. I'm sick and tired of it. I've got to take some lessons so I can get this thing over with."
"What thing?" I ask. "I'm sorry I can't visit you for a few more days."
"I just get so lonely," she continues. "I've got to get out of this depression. I see these people running around here, and I don't know why I can't be like them."
"But you had a broken hip, and they didn't. If they had a broken hip, they wouldn't be running around so much either."
"No, they wouldn't! They'd find out."
"You mean you want to start physical therapy again, so you can walk?"
"Yes! I'm sick and tired of this."
"Well, I hope you can get to walking more again soon."
"I did a terrible thing last night," she says, changing the subject.
"I took off a wet Depends. I tore it off one leg but not the other. I had to tell the girl when she came to bring a new one."
"Oh." What a scene this must have been. The people who work night shift on memory-impaired floors must be saints to keep coming back night after night.
"I just can't go on this way," she adds.
"No... but at least you have some movies to watch while I am gone. What movie are you going to watch tonight?"
"Oh, I don't know."
"Put Connie on the phone for a moment," I ask.
"Hi, Anne. How are you, Anne," Connie says. "We miss you. Your mom misses you so much. When I got here she said, 'I want to call Anne.'"
"Thank you so much for coming and taking care of her," I sigh. "So you took her to Blockbuster to return the other CDs and get new ones? What are you going to watch tonight?"
"Last Holiday with Queen Latifah... and tomorrow Big Mama with Steve Martin."
"Oh, good," I say, wondering how these films will impact Mom's thinking. I had rented safe ones--My Fair Lady, Showboat, etc. But at least it's a change from I Love Lucy night after night.
"Anyway, now she's happy," Connie concludes. "I'll put her back on the phone."
Mom returns with an apology for not calling sooner: "If I didn't get to you earlier, it's not because I didn't try."
"Okay, good," I say. "Anyway, Emily's going to come see you tomorrow."
"If Emily comes--" Mom reflects. "She only works part-time, so I'll try to hire her double time. She knows what's wrong with me."
"Okay, fine," I say.
I don't ask why she suddenly wants to hire Emily.
I don't explain that you don't need to hire your own family.
I let it go.