For the past several days after hearing she had been moved to an assisted care facility, I wanted to call. I didn’t have the number but that was no excuse, Google works for every person. Perhaps I didn’t want to hear the worst.
I called Riverbend to learn that I was not on the ‘need to know’ basis as I had requested long ago. I told the attending nurse that I wanted to know of her condition but she was bound by law not to divulge. Am I family? How does one define family? If anyone knew me, they would know that family is not only defined by blood, but also by choice.
Earlier yesterday, I was still snoozing as I often do for about an hour after Andrew rises each morning. I am also up later than he and require more sleep. He shuffles out of the bedroom, preventing the cats from racing in to pounce on me and routinely annoy me by scratching at my head buried under the sheets. I could hear some add’l activity but the sheets muffled my ears so my brain couldn’t decipher the noise.
Clearly I heard my name. The calling of my name was crystal clear but I couldn’t remember by what name I was called. Andrew and I have nicknames for each other (Punkin and Muffin thanks to Pulp Fiction) and I’ve grown up with several nicknames as a kid. My brain heard all of them simulatenously and clear as a bell. I still couldn’t tell if the voice(s) I heard calling me was male or female, but I assumed it was Andrew. The summond sounded intense, hurried, and desperate.
I called out to respond, but no answer.
Minutes later, when I finally slipped out of bed, I found Andrew standing near the sink pouring me a cup of coffee. I asked him why he called me but he insisted he did not.
Later in the day, when I returned from the post office dropping off 120 pieces for my SURTEX mailing, there was a pull, a tug like someone was either grabbing my sternum and walking me toward my PC I have dedicated as my mail machine or pushing me toward it. I realized I was Googling the number for Riverbend so that I could finally call her.
As I spoke to the attending nurse, I understood the ‘bound by law’ and confidentiality for family, but I thought Steve has the sense to put me on the freakin ‘need to know’ list as I requested several months ago. Musta slipped his mind. The nurse encouraged me to visit as she indicated all family members do because she wasn’t doing well.
Wasn’t doing well?
There wasn’t more she could say so I resolved to hang up because it made no sense to harrass her -she was ‘bound by law.’
Within the next hour, I cried, I reminist, I pondered, and I decided to act by calling back the nurse to see if She could receive flowers. I was reminded the facility was much like a hospital except they didn’t have TV or a phone and she indeed could receive flowers. I asked the nurse again about what she meant when she said the She wasn’t doing well. She said it wasn’t imminent, but she could go either way.
Imminent. Either way? Now that’s vague and strong.
She also said that after my first call, she ran into Her room to tell her Brat called. Evidently, upon hearing that, her spirit picked up with recognition. I asked her if She was cogent and the nurse indicated that Her eyes would open when someone entered the room.
I found proflowers and bought two dozen assorted roses for her to at least smell if she couldn’t see. I just didn’t know her situation because I wasn’t being told a damn thing. The roses were being sent overnight and anticipated arrival the next morning.
Knowing the flowers were being delivered, I quickly put an overnight package together that contained a belated Christmas Card, a St. Valentine’s Day Card, a mother’s day card and a letter. The letter was a quick and dirty stationery filled with most of the illustrations I was creating for SURTEX so that she could see what I’ve been doing with my days and inspirations as a successful artist. The letter was to remind her how much her love, guidance, patience and belief in me meant over the past 24 years. I hoped that someone in the home had the sense of urgency to open it and reveal all of the goodies to her and read the letter. I hoped the package would be received in time.