Today She Was In China

I Don't Know A Thing About It

Yesterday Mom was convinced that there was a big nurses strike occurring in front of the hospital. She told us that her doctor had a terrible time crossing the picket line; as a result, she didn't get her pills!

When her doctor visited her, he asked her about the people surrounding her. He pointed to my older sister and asked, "Who is that?"

"That's my... oldest daughter."

"What's her name?"

Mom hesitated, thinking hard, and then said, "Joanne."

Doc pointed to Joe. "And who is that?"

"He belongs to Mary," said Mom.

"Okay, who's that?" Doc pointed to my brother's ex-wife.

"Oh -- she used to belong to my son," she said.

"What's her name?"

More thinking. "Sandy," she finally said.

In the evening, when I was there alone with her, she started picking at her IV port. I kept telling her to stop, but she'd get very petulant and tell me that I didn't know anything about it, and she wanted it out. I finally had to get very firm. Then she switched her attention to the many hospital bracelets on her other arm. She asked me to cut them off; she didn't need them anymore. Again, I told her that she had to leave them on; the nurses needed to scan them whenever they took her vital signs. Again, she snapped at me, telling me that I didn't know anything and she did. Finally, she gave up and started to drift off to sleep.

I told her I was leaving, but she told me I couldn't leave her alone, just stay with her. I tried to tell her that it wasn't allowed, and she said, "No, you can stay. You can't leave me alone. I don't want to argue. Just stay here."

And my heart broke again, and I waited until she was asleep, curled up like a question mark, and quietly left.