Monday, August 29, 2016

Notes from the Home - August 29, 2016

A portion of a recent dinner conversation:
Judy: "Elsie, did you tell me you were raised on a farm?"
Elsie: "No, I didn't grow up on a farm."
Judy: "I thought you said you had. I have a farming question I wanted to ask you."
Elsie: "I wasn't raised on a farm, but some of my relatives were farmers. Sometimes I worked on their farms, so I know a little. Maybe I can help you."
Judy: "Great. [sudden stunned and confused look] Now I can't remember what I wanted to ask."

*          *          *

Leila, my next-door neighbor, hasn't been well. One night as I got into bed, I heard Leila yelling for help. I called the desk, and Warren, the night security guy, came down to check on her. Five hours later, at three-thirty in the morning, Leila was yelling again.

She is often very, very confused. Wednesday evening, wearing only a night gown, she wondered into the hall and knocked on several doors. "When are they coming to get me?" she'd ask. When asked, who was coming to get her, Leila said, "I don't know." And she gave the same answer when asked why were they coming to get her. "Call and find out what's going on," she'd say. But she didn't know who needed to be called.

Her son David lives about forty miles from here, and he has spent more than a few nights with Leila recently. David is reluctant to move his mom to the Personal Care wing here at Covenant Woods, were there would be someone to keep an eye on her 24/7, because Leila wouldn't be able to take Gidget, her little dog, with her. In which case, he worries that the cure might be worse than the disease. He is hoping to move Leila to Magnolia Manor near where he lives, so he and his daughter can spend more time with her.

David and I got to talking one evening. He said he'd bought a laptop and wondered if I'd help him with it. I told him I would, but that he might be better off asking a ten-year-old. "I tried that," he said. "My granddaughter helped me a few times, but she's stopped coming over. She says I'm untrainable."

*          *          *

Mildred talked about her high school basketball career the other day.

"We played outdoors. The school didn't have a gym, so we played out in a field. It wasn't paved or anything, but they leveled it off and packed it down real good.

"Momma and some of the other mothers made our uniforms. We wore shorts; they came to just above the knee. Daddy said no daughter of his was going to go out in public in those shorts. Daddy came to all our games. I don't know if he was watching us play, or watching to make sure no boy looked at my legs."

*          *          *

I wish I could get my sleep pattern back into some semblance of a pattern. Last week, after three or four consecutive nights of two, three, or maybe four hours of sleep, I slept hardly at all Friday night. 

At two-thirty Saturday morning, I got myself out of bed and into socks, shoes, shirt and pants. The rest of the day was unproductive. I dozed off a couple of times in the morning, once while doing a crossword puzzle. At three that afternoon, I turned to Mr. Coffee, put the prescribed amount of Folgers in the proper place, filled the reservoir with water, pushed the on-off switch, and went over to the sliding glass door to enjoy the beautiful, bright, sunshiny day. 

And a very pleasant afternoon it was from inside, where the air conditioner kept the temperature at seventy-four - twenty degrees lower and considerably less humid than the great outdoors. A bird flitted around the dogwood tree; a lizard crawled on to the porch, stopped, looked around as if lost, got his bearings and went on; a squirrel dashed by; and I dozed off.

Slept soundly is more accurate. I was out until six o'clock. It was too late then to get dinner in the dining room, and the coffee that had been sitting on the burner for three hours had no allure. It was easy to say, "Better not have coffee. If I have a cup now, I won't sleep a wink."

A few hours later, at nine o'clock, I crawled into bed, instantly fell asleep, and remained asleep until seven Sunday morning. Ten uninterrupted hours of sleep, and I felt like hell. Besides the grogginess that comes from a long sleep, my legs were as stiff as they've ever been. Once I'm asleep, I don't move much, if at all, and it takes some time and effort to get the legs into pants, and the feet into shoes. Shirts, unless they're button-down, aren't a problem. I do have a problem getting my arms into a button-down shirt without getting the shirt into a tangled mess in the process. Untangling the shirt without having to take it off and starting over is no easy task.

After I was dressed and the grogginess wore off, I felt good. I didn't accomplish much, but I puttered around a lot, stayed sort of busy, and went to bed at ten last night. Sleep came quickly, and when I awoke, the digital display on the clock-radio read "6:02." That's what I thought, anyway. Once I turned on the light, put my glasses on, sat up, and put a sock on my left foot, I glanced at the clock, which now read "2:12."

Dyslexia had struck again. I opted to lie back down. That part was easy. Getting back to sleep wasn't. I got up again and finished dressing at three o'clock. Now I'm sitting at the computer. Who knows, maybe I'll finish this before I fall asleep at the keyboard.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Notes from the Home - August 4, 2016

Monday evening, as I waited for Jeopardy to begin, someone knocked on the door. The knock wasn't the two or three raps that visitors usually make to let me know they want in. This was a light, rhythmic tapping, almost but not quite "shave and a haircut, two bits." When my friendly "Come in," failed to get a response, I went to the door, opened it, and saw a very confused Leila standing there.

"I can't find my next-door neighbor," she said, as Gidget, her small, recently groomed dog, sniffed at my feet.

"I am your next-door neighbor."

"You are?" Leila asked, her face full of doubt.

"Are you looking for Richie?" Richie is my other next-door neighbor, and he sometimes helps Leila with various things.

"l don't know," Leila said. "Am I?"

"Do you need some help?" I asked, easing my wheelchair into the hall.

"I think so."

"What's wrong?"

"I can't get in my apartment."

"Are you locked out?"

"I don't have my keys. What did I do with them?"

Confident I could handle that problem, I set the brakes on Leila's walker, asked her to sit down on it, called the desk and told Teresa that Leila had locked herself out. Teresa said she would have someone come down to help Leila.

"Who's coming to get me?" Leila asked.

"Nobody is coming to get you. Someone will be here in a few minutes to let you in your apartment."

"But, I'm supposed to be going somewhere."


"I don't know?"

"Who's coming to take you?"

"I don't know, but I wish they'd hurry up. Oh, look, somebody's coming."

The somebody was Sherry, a nurse's assistant, who went to Leila's door, turned the knob, and announced, "It wasn't locked."  Sherry helped Leila into her apartment, and I went back to watch Jeopardy. As soon as Sherry left, Leila was back at my door, and before the end of Double Jeopardy, Leila had interrupted Alex and the contestants three times. The first time, she asked, "When are they coming for me?", the next time, she asked, "Where am I supposed to be?", and then "Where am I?"

I called Teresa again and told her what was going on. She said she would call David, Leila's son. An hour later, David arrived. Leila was at dinner last night, but David wasn't with her. I didn't get a chance to talk with her, and I don't know if David is staying with her.

*          *          *

Scrolling through Facebook on Monday, I noticed an item Karen had posted. She waxing ecstatic over the chocolate chip cookies that were waiting for her when she got home from work that afternoon. Russ had spent the afternoon in the kitchen cooking up the surprise.

Russ called Tuesday morning to cancel our shopping date. The weatherman was predicting rain, which makes getting in and out of the car, and going back and forth from the car to the store, damn unpleasant for me and the guy who pushes me around.

"I do have to run to the store for a few things," Russ said. "Do you want me to pick up anything for you?"

"Well, you could get me some bananas. And how about some homemade chocolate chip cookies?" 

"I'll have to ask Karen about the cookies."

An hour later, Russ showed up with a bunch of bananas and four chocolate chip cookies. The cookies were delicious. Next time, he should make a double batch: one for Karen, and one for me.

 Meanwhile, according to a Facebook post from way out west in Idaho, Hayden asked Bethany if they could bake bread. So, I asked Beth if Hayden was permitted to grab and eat bits of dough as it was rising. She said, "Absolutely not," or words to that effect. I was shocked and appalled. Back in the day, when I baked bread every weekend, Beth feasted on dough the whole time it was rising.

She did say, when she makes tuna-noodle, she and Hayden eat a serving or more before the casserole gets into the oven. Again, back in the day, whenever I made tuna-noodle, Beth watched every move I made and ordered me to leave a generous portion of the mixture out of the casserole dish so she could eat it while the rest of it baked.

She also said Hayden is allowed to eat cookie dough before she adds the eggs. Debbie was the cookie baker at our house, so I don't what the cookie rules were. Although, whatever the rules were, I'm pretty sure Beth set them, and I bet she ate the dough with or without eggs.

*          *          * 

I've heard the expression thousands - probably millions - of times. It was used a lot on TV shows in the fifties and sixties, usually by characters who had only recently come to the US from Mexico. And it was almost always used for comedic effect, or so it seemed to me. We Anglos sometimes use the expression, but again more for effect than anything else.

Margarita is from Mexico, and English is definitely her second language. She works in either the food service department or the housecleaning department, depending on where the need is greatest that day. Today, the big need was in housekeeping. At ten-thirty Margarita came to give the apartment its weekly cleaning.

She made the bed, cleaned the bathroom, took out the full garbage bag and replaced it with a new one, dusted, washed the few dirty dishes that were in the sink, and mopped the bathroom and kitchen area. With all that done, she was ready to vacuum. She brought the sweeper in from her cart in and looked for an outlet to plug it in. I tried to direct her to one of the three surge protector strips in the room, but she kept looking for a wall outlet. All the wall outlets in my apartment are inconveniently located behind large pieces of furniture.

"Oh," she said, thinking there had to be an outlet in the kitchen area. One quick glance, however, was all it took for Margarita to realize the outlet in the kitchen is behind the microwave. "Ay caramba," she said. There was no exclamation mark after it. When TV characters said "Ay caramba," there were always three or four exclamation marks. But this "ay caramba" fell from Margarita's lips in the manner of a disgusted "Oh, for Pete's sake." Interesting.

The Resident Journal

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