|Mom, in the car|
Since her fall in May, the only time she's been outside has been when she's being transferred between facilities or for brief wheels around the courtyards of the nursing home.
At first Mom was in too much pain to contemplate transferring her into the car, and then there was the next fall in August. But it's been a while since then, and I'd been mulling over what I could do to lift her spirits mightily and there was nothing I could think of that would do that better than a foray into the world.
Upon arrival at the home, I proposed it to the unit charge nurse and she saw nothing to stop us, so she dug out the paperwork and plans were set in motion. There were a few kinks to work out, so by the time we left it was approaching lunchtime.
Then I got really ambitious. While I'd initially been thinking: half hour drive and right back home, I decided to try taking her out to lunch as well.
Mom has been losing weight, her appetite diminished down to near nothing. Mostly it's depression, but some of it has to be the monotony of the food; hospital or nursing home it's all the same bland stuff.
So into the car Mom went. (The car that used to be hers.) A few minutes into the drive I realized two things: that her hearing aid battery was absolutely dead, and her morning Tylenol dose had worn off, so the bumps and bobbles of the road were causing her enough discomfort to be distracting.
A stop at the local Rite Aid remedied these issues and the drive continued. I also handed her a lovely mini blueberry scone (from Alice's Teacup) that I'd snagged at the PA meeting I had attended that morning before trekking out to the island.
We toured the roads of Port Washington and Sands Point. I drove her by the big fancy houses nested along the shore. We caught a few glimpses of beach and the Sound, where it opened up to the most expansive vista she's enjoyed in months.
Every turning tree, every still blossoming garden elicited her enthusiastic appreciation: "Oh, how beautiful." or "Just look at those leaves!"
After about a half hour I was getting hungry and so steered us into town. Port Washington is a really special place to me. Not the town I grew up in, but the town of my cousins. It's a place with a personality, a center; not a suburban-nowhere. And I've been spending time there for nearly half a century.
I knew we could get a good meal in the lovely little downtown and in a fit of inspiration I chose Japanese. My parents had loved Japanese food, especially my father who thought a good bowl of nabeyaki udon was something approaching perfection. Wherever they lived, they had a local Japanese restaurant they frequented on a weekly basis, befriended the owners, became "the regulars."
And now it had literally been years since Mom had eaten Japanese. I remedied that on Thursday.
The place was near empty, which worked for us. I ordered the salmon teriyaki lunch special for my mother. And she ate with gusto. She ate the Whole. Damn. Thing.
|Mom, slurping up her miso soup|
So much for the lack of appetite.
It was a lovely lunch. I had set Mom up with a view of the large tank of koi goldfish, living things always pleasing her so.
It was good for her to be out in the world, good for me to be with her, in the world.
There was a part of me, of course, that didn't want to turn into the home as we approached; that wanted to keep going, to drive and drive, kidnap mom, ride off into the sunset with her, feed her all kinds of interesting foods, show her as much of the world as we can see for as long as she can keep going, a Thelma and Louise style road trip (minus the violence and the cliff and all, though).
But of course I didn't. There were some little people who would be very hurt and disappointed if their mom didn't come home at the end of the day.
A breeze was picking up as I pulled into the circular drive, the leaves all waving goodbye as I wheeled Mom back inside. There was a bit more sparkle in her eye as I kissed her goodbye, squeezed her hand, promising, as always, to return within a few days.
What shall we eat next, when I do?
Indian or middle eastern?
(Let the adventure continue...)