This morning I got out the shovel. No, not for my mother, though I would be happy to bury her in the yard with the pets if I could; I am certain she’d be content there. The digging is for the last of my mother’s cats, which ancient and oddly enough chose today to pass over to the heavyside layer. My mother, alas, is still with us, I say alas because passed a certain point prolongation approaches uncivility (‘un’- is also valid, I looked it up.) After the respirator removal my brother vanished in an anti-climatic puff, leaving the two of us alone.
The problem with sitting around in such a situation is that you run out of things to do. I had finished the book I had with me, while my mother listened to a little Rachel Ray. She had a definite aversion to The View, her eyelids fluttered a bit more than normal, so I flipped the channel to some young doctors in love program. I read the label on every appliance within eye shot until I finally flagged down a nurse and begged her for a book. This was while my mother still had a reflexive grip, otherwise I’d have gone and stolen one for myself. I told her to bring me anything, medical text, baby naming, anything at all, except a bible as I had already read it and didn’t like the ending. She returned with 3 ratty paperbacks, Daniel Steel, a Balducci and a Finder. I read the first 50 pages of each one hoping to drown out the hissing from the O² machine. I can’t even remembe the names, nevermind what they were about, save they were about people and fictional ones at that. At some point a few years ago, I stopped reading books from the fiction pile, I just can’t suspend my disbelief anymore.
Back to the hat trick, if you are counting we are up to two. Soon after they had checked my mother into the ICU, one of my younger cousins was installed across the hall. She has an inoperable cancer and . . . I don’t suppose there is an ‘and’ after that. They stabilized her yesterday and moved her to a more appropriate wing. Still such proximity is saving my family a ton of gas and mileage.
I sat around for about 13 hours with an hour off to change clothes and stock up on MORE books. But the night nurse, who really knows these things, thought my mother’s stats didn’t look as forboding as I did and urged me to go home and pretend to sleep. From anecdotal evidence, I expect she will shuffle off during an night shift when no one’s looking. I will toddle over after I push some more papers around. But I have a few more books I need to polish off, and she’s being very nice about holding the page open for me.