Pandemic Year Two is so boring, isn’t it? Things in the world as well as the home front remain pretty much the same. I have the same five pounds on my stomach, I have a dog on my lap as I’m typing with a cat on a chair two feet away, the ubiquitous dog snout smears are on the living room window, and I just got home from another “gramma’s had a stroke” phone call from Luke.
Mom’s about to turn 97 next month, and most people are quite disabled after these small strokes, but I have to say in mom’s case they seem to strengthen her. It’s true that what doesn’t kill her appears to make her stronger. When I arrived on Saturday she was in bed, and yesterday when I left she was in the kitchen, drinking coffee, eating a muffin and handing out criticisms with the zeal of a born-again preacher.
I just finished reading a book called Escape from Camp 14 which is the account of a young man’s escape from a North Korean labour camp. There, people are punished for three generations and so he was born in the camp, and slated to die there. Far be it for me to equate caring for mom at her house to being in a prison camp, but there were some similarities.
A few years ago when mom hurt her back and was in bed she got a bell so that she could ring it and get someone to come. Imagine the joy of walking into the kitchen and starting to peel a vegetable, then ring ring, Yes? Um can you please get my blanket? Back to the kitchen. Ding a ling a ling. Can you bring me my favourite mix of yogurt and ice cream?
Then of course there were the surprise attacks. Sunday morning at 5:30 my bedroom door burst open and mom came in with her walker saying are you awake? I said I am now. Mom started toward my bed and then proceeded to get into it, so I said I think the dogs and I will just get up.
The other part of the prison-like experience is one must walk by mom to get to the back bedroom and this is an opportunity to remind her she needs to tell a story. She’ll say did I ever tell you about the time when, and start the story and I reply actually you did, and try to fill in parts of the story but it never works. I must hear the story again.
Then there’s the slow torture of CNN and MSNBC which are on from morning until night. Sitting with mom means watching these channels by the hour, and often by the time I’ve been told the same story a third time my mind starts to go on me and I long for freedom. I imagine myself running through a meadow, free as a butterfly, but then Don Lemon’ll bring me back to Earth with a thud.
I don’t imagine myself living as long as mom, but if I do, I wouldn’t mind a small percentage of her pluck. I’m already about a hundred times weaker than she is.
I didn’t bother with any New Year’s resolutions, and plan to just try and remain sane and that’s probably the best I can do. In keeping with the nothing-new this year, I’m off to the Coast Capri this afternoon for Happy Hour with the Crones, then walking with Marie on the weekend. And I’m quite sure the sameness will be punctuated by a call to Osoyoos, followed by endless ding a ling a linging.