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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: 24 Hours (01/27/11)

TITLE: Bird Watching in Shifts
By Anita van der Elst


Another morning and here comes Miss Early Bird. You donít look so good, honey. Up too late? And you didnít catch the worm either, huh? Guess Iím the Ďluckyí one gets to benefit from your sleep-deprivation for the next eight hours.

Watch out! Thatís 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 itís time to rise and shine but whereíd 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.

Whereís my walker? Itís time for my daily constitutional. You know it takes up the whole morning. Donít get flustered, girl; Iím talking about a walk. Iíve only got two gears. Slow and neutral. Remember though, the other happens later. Takes awhile for the prunes to achieve the effect weíre looking for. And youíll be looking; itís one of those important details you make note of in my chart.

Enjoyed my walk and Iím happy to reportóall 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 Iím into this jigsaw puzzle. Do I have to take one? Right, itís part of the schedule. At least Iíll have something interesting to do in the recreation room tomorrow.

Uh, whatís 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. Youíre 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. Iíll be in the TV lounge later if you want to watch re-runs of ďGolden GirlsĒ with me.

Huh? No, I wasnít 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. Itís this broken hipónever 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 Iím such a wrinkled old coot. Probably makes you want to run out of here as fast as your pretty legs can go. Thatís 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 itíll feel like a rock. Wait! Whereís the pillow for between my knees? If itís not the concrete pillow waking me up, itíll 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? Isnít easy at my age. Every joint argues with me. Every muscle tells me itís retired. Iím getting uglier by the minute.

This is the hour when I miss her the most. When I couldnít sleep sheíd sing to me. Oh, Mama, I know Iím an old man now but I wouldnít mind hearing you sing a lullaby.

Oh, hello, nurse. Two oíclock? A.M.? Yes, I can still read the clock. Oversized numbers, see? What can you do for me? I was just thinking about my mamaís sweet voice. How she could sing. One of these hours, Iíll hear her again. You sing in your church choir? Would you mind singing something for me?

I think Iíd be able to drift off if youíd sing just one more, Miss Nightingale. I wish every shift had a songbird like you.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Robyn Burke02/03/11
ROFLOL!! THIS is PRICELESS! Delightfully fun and true. Love that angle coming from the old guy (it was an old man, right?) Funny funny stuff... and then you added that sweet little ending to make the lump rise in my throat. Priceless, absolutely priceless.
Donna Powers 02/03/11
I've been one of the "birds" in that nursing home, I think. This was sweet and very enjoyable.
Loren T. Lowery02/10/11
Ditto on probably being one of those "song birds" and I've been privy to their calls from time to time as well. It was fun being in the mind of your MC. Well done and congratulations on your EC.
Lollie Hofer02/10/11
I liked the flow of this. It had some great lines in it too...made me laugh and some of it made me want to cry. Well done.
Michael Throne02/11/11
Loved the MC. I hope I'm as kind-spirited in a few years. Well written- I was there with him all the way. Well deserving of your EC!