Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Doctor/Nurse (11/02/06)
TITLE: Grandma and Me
By Marlene Bonney
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ADD TO MY FAVORITES
“Are you hungry yet?” I continue asking as I make sure she is safely back into her chair. I notice her housecoat is buttoned wrong and ask her if I can help with a loosened button, deftly changing the other ones correctly at the same time.
I then go to the kitchen and quickly prepare her favorites, including fresh sweet potatoes cooked in the microwave and sliced peaches I cut into bite-size chunks from a can. I carefully remove a pill bottle hidden in her cupboard where she can’t reach, and take out the medication that helps her combat the confusion of dementia. I mash it all up and mix it into her food, since she refuses to take it on her own, hoping she will not taste and question it. And, I again ask God to forgive me for this daily deception necessary for her well-being.
She has already tucked a handy dishtowel under her chin in anticipation as I bring her filled dinner plate and set it on her lap. She bows with me in prayer. Then, she eats, savoring each bite with deep satisfaction and appreciation. I watch her carefully, hoping she will ingest the medicine without noticing it. While she eats, I sit across from her in the twin rocking chair and tell her of the kids latest antics and school accomplishments, and she is again amazed at their “growing up so fast”. And we sit there together, just Grandma and me.
After finishing the dishes, I return to the living room where she has moved onto the couch. I suggest that we sing for awhile, one of her choice past-times. She asks for the extra-large lettered hand-printed folder from the desk that I have made of all her favorite hymns. These days, she can’t remember all the words, but surprisingly, the tunes stay with her. She comments on the words being “so true” and “this is my favorite!” as we move from one song to another, singing together, just Grandma and me.
Twenty minutes later, she shares with me things on her mind that she has repeated so many times previously: memories of past events and general physical ailment complaints interspersed with broken sentences as she struggles to put together thoughts difficult for her to express, and I fill in the blank spaces for her. And we chat away an hour, just Grandma and me.
She thinks of something she wants to show me, so we go on a stroll, searching around her house for a room she cannot find—a room that is really only in her mind. I soon am able to distract her by commenting on some photographs on her dresser, asking her to inform me again of who is related to whom. As we pass by her bed to exit the room, she peers intently at it, exclaiming about all the little bugs crawling all over it. She wants to know if I can see them, too, and I say, “No, I guess my eyesight isn’t as good as yours.” So, we remove & shake her bedspread, just Grandma and me.
Four hours have passed, and I begin telling her of my imminent departure, explaining that the school bus will be dropping the children off home in just a few minutes. This she comprehends, because she relates to having children and the responsibility I have to them. She totters to her front door to lock up after me, and we hug good-bye for another day, my Grandma and me.
“See you tomorrow, Grandma,” I wave as I go to my car. And I reflect as I travel home to my children, of what this lady means to me. I breathe a prayer for God to keep her safe until my brother returns there from his work shift for the night to take over. And, even though Grandma’s fierce independence comes with a price tag for her family, I am glad to be a part of helping her to continue living in her own home.
And that’s how it is with Grandma and me.
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