When I arrived last night to visit my aunt (the first time since our little blow up), I was a bit apprehensive. I walked into the room and she was visibly elated to see me. She gave me a hug that pushed her wig out of place. Actually, her wig has often been out of place of late. A sign that she is not her self.
I sat on the bed and my aunt described how she fell out of bed the night before…again. This time it appeared she was not trying to get out of bed but maybe rolled off the twin bed. My wife had been there earlier and upon hearing the story went to a safety supply store and purchased a side rail affair that raises and lowers. It will necessitate my aunt remembering to push the call button for help if she needs to exit the bed.
As I sat and ate a delicious bowl of cabbage and pork, I listened to and watched my aunt. She was tired, drawn and not quite as on edge. She was preoccupied with her knee, now exposed with the brace off and the pants leg up. It was red and angry looking, down the shin. I didn’t press hard about her risk taking. I didn’t need to. She seemed to be contrite re her aggressive exploits. I listened as she told me the physical therapist cautioned her over and over on how much harm she caused herself when she was too aggressive on her own.
As we chatted the question came once again…prefaced by ‘you are the only person I can ask this of’….’when am I going home..two months?’ I responded about her next doctors appt. in September and any decisions hinging upon that and the question of could she be alone and safe. She listened. She shook her head in a listening, acknowledgment sort of way.
I knew that someone had visited earlier in the day and initially assessed my aunt as most probably pre-dementia in mental status. I did not get to talk to this person. I finished my cabbage and took what I thought to be a pickled green bean and popped it into my mouth crunching away. Whoa Nellie! Lord Almighty! Geeeeze!!! A hot pepper. I obliviously popped the sucker into my mouth and munched into a pulp of potent hot lava. The staff came bearing water and apologies. They thought I would know…’so sorry’. It was a special ‘treat’ for me as a favored guest. It was actually wonderful once my tongue and ears started to settle down. Next time I will bite a small piece off and test the waters.
As I nursed my red hot mouth and my aunt tended to her red hot knee, I gave her lots more hugs and told her I would see her soon. She thanked me for visiting. I walked out feeling a little better, but knowing it is all transitory and changing. No comfort here. No stability. Just a smooth spot in the road.