While I was in Seattle almost two weeks ago, Jerilyn left a message on the machine at home, reporting an excellent visit she had with my mother at the nursing home. I called Jerilyn back last Monday – so, six days ago – and she reiterated how different my mom had seemed from the woman she usually saw. They had a really good conversation, and my mom said some really perceptive, amusing things. She was wearing a cute shirt, and was more alert overall than usual. She’s been eating better, taking her meds. Jerilyn said that she only cried when she talked about my brother not coming to visit her – as Jerilyn called it, “appropriately sad,” rather than continuous weeping for any reason or maybe none at all. They discussed possible reasons why he still had not come, agreeing at least part of it was simply avoidance / denial – much the way he drinks so as not to have to deal with or think about things that bother him.
In the days since I talked with Jerilyn, I’ve called the nursing home a couple times, and also talked to my grandmother last Wednesday evening – the same day she’d visited my mom, lucky coincidence. The nurses have confirmed that the improvements in eating and mood have continued these past few weeks, and my grandmother also reported having a good visit with her, the only drop in her mood, again, when they talked about my brother not visiting. She’s by no means active – she still sleeps a lot, and doesn’t go to the day room for meals – but for no reason we can clearly identify, she continues to be markedly better in recent weeks than she had been for MONTHS before.
It only occurred to me recently that, as she’s doing better and is no longer on MRSA precautions (FINALLY), I could try to talk with her on the phone. She has no phone in her room, so this requires a nurse or aide to bring her out in her wheelchair to the nurses’ station to talk with me. I called this afternoon to try to speak with her, and the nurse said, “She’s in bed, but I’ll ask her if she’d like to come and talk to you.” I waited a minute, listening to the same on-hold music that Wedgemere has been playing for years, and then the nurse came back. “She said she doesn’t want to come to the phone, but she said to tell you that she loves you.”
I thought, “Huh?” And then I said, “Wow, she said that?” “Yes.” “Wow, she doesn’t say that too often.” I stopped before saying, I don’t remember her ever saying that to me unless I’d just said it to her first. After verifying with the nurse that the improvements have continued, I said, “Please just give her my love, too,” and thanked her.
So that is the latest news about my mom. Part of me is really glad, relieved, that the positive turn of a few weeks ago has continued. Part of me is wondering, “Who is this person and what has she done with my mother?” But I push the question aside, and remain thankful that she’s been so much better these past few weeks. However long it lasts, relative contentment is a blessing for her, and knowing she’s not suffering as greatly as she did in the winter and spring, makes me feel blessed, too. As she herself would say, “We take what we can get.”