Thursday, July 11, 2013

a new cast of characters

My mom has settled in to her new life at the nursing home — but have I? I have to admit that I still find her living in this group situation a little unnerving. I know that I don't have the patience, knowledge, or facilities that she now requires to care for her at home. She's in the right place.

Image from the nursing home's facebook page
As we go to visit her and I see her react and interact with some of the other residents I am of two minds. Sometimes it is fun to see her "chat" with another person, a shade of her old "ladies who lunch" days. It doesn't seem to matter that what they may say to one another is fairly unintelligible. But there are other residents in the common room who don't always interact in the most positive manner. It's not exactly "cuckoo's nest" territory, but the movie and Jack Nicholson flit through my mind in regard to a few of the more difficult folks. And being me, I can't help but start to assign nicknames to everyone:

Dangerous (or Dastardly, or Dubious, insert appropriate D-word here) David - He is fond of using swear words and other guttural noises, and seems to have been (thankfully) banned from the dining room. He is a negative presence and we try to steer as clear of him as possible.

Miss Sugar - She reminds me of Aunt Esther from Sanford & Son and insists on adding four Sweet and Low packets to her soup (and just about everything else she eats).

Miss Itchy Scratchy - She has blue-painted nails and is constantly fluttering them and adjusting her pants legs, in constant motion, like a hummingbird.

The Stroller - She usually has a sour puss, but she and mom seem to have become friends. They sit together and look out the window at the gorgeous view (the nursing home is right across the street from the Intracoastal) and Ms. Stroller pokes mom playfully (mostly) and then points to something she wants her to see outside. It's sort of aggressive attention, yet friendly. Weird. But it reminds me of playground behavior, which I guess we never really can escape.

There are many more folks who are part of the regular cast of characters on the third floor. But what makes this whole transition a little easier on me is that my mom seems to be happy to be there. Dangerous David bugs her (and everyone else), but she loves all the nurses and attendants and seems to enjoy the many people-watching opportunities. For me, it's hard not to watch everyone and wonder who they used to be. Maybe I'll get glimpses, I just have to pay attention.
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