4 hours ago
Monday, August 3, 2009
I moan to my mother on the telephone about laundry. My mother moans to me on the telephone about Alzheimer’s, my father’s current state of health. It’s a form of international therapy for care givers, the cheap option, the time saving option, the option that relieves us of the problem of actually leaving the house. As we pause for reflection about our lot in life a very small shard of knowledge pokes me in the brain, two inches above my left temple, sharp, pointy with a nasty little thorn on the edge. We say our good byes and hang up.
I hover by the phone and think.
We have been back in the States for a month, four weeks just over, with Nonna, her tiny suitcase and her small collection of personal belongings. I had noticed that she has been more accident prone. I had noticed that her clothing was less than pristine. I had noticed she hadn’t been handing me presents of her clothing to add to the load. I had not connected the dots. I had noticed the lack of complaints, relieved. I had not noticed that her prompt was absent:-
“Why you not change my sheets today?”
“Because I try and stagger the loads.”
“It’s not my turn today?”
“No…..your turn is on Wednesday.”
A two liner exchange imprinted in my inventory of replies but I’ve not used it, not once, in four weeks. I skip along to her room and peek inside. I have not been inside for four weeks. I have respected her privacy or so I thought. Nonna naps on the bed because of a sleepless night. I know it was a sleepless night because I asked how she slept. She replied with the second of her alternating responses:- “me? I always sleep perfectly!” but the coffee machine full of spent grounds doesn’t lie. I watch her sleep, curled over tousled bedclothes. A picture of innocent neglect or overlooked failings. Someone must do something. Something must be done. I am the someone, but what to do? Or maybe, just how and when and which way?