Wednesday, February 23, 2005

a closed mouth doesn't get fed

Here's a story which I feel encapulates what it is like for me caring for my 95-year-old grandmother.
Thursday nights I have my two kids over - on the Friday morning, I bring them to school. Gran is usually asleep so I leave a flask of coffee on her bedside table and leave the day's newspapers at the end of her bed so she won't have far to go should she wake up while I am gone.
The week before last, the morning went as it always had. When I got home from dropping off the kids it was about 9:30am, and sure enough Gran was sitting up in bed reading. I looked in on her, and set upon the day's tasks.
Friday night is the one night I go out or at least do something with my finacee. I meet her from work at 5 and we go off from there. Friday afternoons, therefore, are spent preparing the place for Gran to be able to to relax without feeling the need to do any unecessary chores herself. I have also agreed to take the kids for Friday afternoons after school in exchange for a reduction in maintenance.
So from 9:30 to 4:30 I felt I had completed what I thought was a worth-while afternoon's work between household chores, picking up the kids, preparing a dinner for Gran to leave in the microwave, and preparing myself for the evening out. Throughout the afternoon, I would look in on her and even brought her lunch around noon time.
So when it came to 4:30pm, I was showered, dressed and ready to go out the front door. The kids had their coats on and had already said goodbye to their great-grandmother. All that was left for me to do was pay one last visit into my Gran's room to let her know we were going and hand her my printed up-date stating where I was and how I could be contacted while I was gone.
"Here's your update, we're going now", I said, as I handed it to her. 4:35 actually at this stage; we'd really better be moving!
"OK Jeffrey, goodbye," she said, then just as I left her room she said, "Oh, Jeffrey?"
"Yes?"
"Did we by any chance get any newspapers today?"
"WHAT???? I'VE BEEN RUNNING AROUND ALL DAY WHILE STILL LOOKING IN ON YOU FOR THE PAST SEVEN HOURS AND YOU ONLY TELL ME YOU DIDN'T GET THE PAPERS NOW????"
Oh, no, there she goes.
"I'm sorry, Jeffrey, I know I'm such a burden...."
Deep breath, in through the nose, out through the mouth, count slowly to five.
Turns out the papers had fallen from the edge of her bed when she got up in the morning; the paper she was reading when I got home was the previous day's. I placed them gently into her hand, repeated my goodbye, and proceeded out the door.
"Why were you yelling at grandma?" asked my daughter.
"Because I'm a cruel, cruel, man." came the reply.


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