Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: 24 Hours (01/27/11)
- TITLE: Bird Watching in Shifts
By Anita van der Elst
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Watch out! That’s my broken hip gets jostled when you bump the over-bed table against the mattress. Of course the accident was a year ago, but it still hurts!
Brrr! I know it’s time to rise and shine but where’d you get this washcloth, the icebox?
You call this breakfast? Lumpy gray oatmeal? Oh, for a tablespoon of brown sugar and a scoop of crunchy peanut butter to stir into it. Diabetes? I spit on diabetes. Ugh, these prunes are adding insult to injury.
Where’s my walker? It’s time for my daily constitutional. You know it takes up the whole morning. Don’t get flustered, girl; I’m talking about a walk. I’ve only got two gears. Slow and neutral. Remember though, the other happens later. Takes awhile for the prunes to achieve the effect we’re looking for. And you’ll be looking; it’s one of those important details you make note of in my chart.
Enjoyed my walk and I’m happy to report—all systems going, going, gone. Is there time for a nap before lunch? Why a shower? I just had one last Saturday. I have no choice? Then your wish is my command.
Yeah, yeah, it was the right thing to do. No complaints from my lunch companions now.
Sure I wanted a nap this morning but now I’m into this jigsaw puzzle. Do I have to take one? Right, it’s part of the schedule. At least I’ll have something interesting to do in the recreation room tomorrow.
Uh, what’s the time? How long did I sleep? Miss Early Bird gone already? Are you new on the evening shift? You were here yesterday? And the day before that? Hmm, I sort of remember. Yes, happy to let you walk me to supper. You’re prettier than a Prairie Warbler in that yellow smock. Anyone ever tell you that? Oh. I did, yesterday, and the day before.
Thanks for escorting me to the dining room. I’ll be in the TV lounge later if you want to watch re-runs of “Golden Girls” with me.
Huh? No, I wasn’t asleep; I was just checking my eyelids for holes during that last commercial. Besides I find those ads for Depends downright embarrassing. Amazing what people think is appropriate for prime time. Sure, you can help me shuffle off to Buffalo. Or my bed, whichever we come to first.
I will take that extra blanket over my feet. They get so cold at night. It’s this broken hip—never mended well, interferes with the circulation. A back rub? You have to ask? From you, honey, any hour of the day! That lotion smells nice, sort of lemony. Sorry I’m such a wrinkled old coot. Probably makes you want to run out of here as fast as your pretty legs can go. That’s sweet of you but you probably say that to your grandpa too.
Aaaah, that pillow feels good under my head. Always does but in a couple hours it’ll feel like a rock. Wait! Where’s the pillow for between my knees? If it’s not the concrete pillow waking me up, it’ll be my groaning hip. No pain pill though, thank you. Interferes with the prunes functioning. Good night, Prairie Warbler. Hope I remember you tomorrow. Tell the night shift to be quieter. Us old fogies need our beauty rest.
How many times can I roll over before I find a comfortable spot? Isn’t easy at my age. Every joint argues with me. Every muscle tells me it’s retired. I’m getting uglier by the minute.
This is the hour when I miss her the most. When I couldn’t sleep she’d sing to me. Oh, Mama, I know I’m an old man now but I wouldn’t mind hearing you sing a lullaby.
Oh, hello, nurse. Two o’clock? A.M.? Yes, I can still read the clock. Oversized numbers, see? What can you do for me? I was just thinking about my mama’s sweet voice. How she could sing. One of these hours, I’ll hear her again. You sing in your church choir? Would you mind singing something for me?
I think I’d be able to drift off if you’d sing just one more, Miss Nightingale. I wish every shift had a songbird like you.
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