Take me downstairs

She was my mom’s roommate at a nursing home. I loathed visiting my mom. Old ladies that either barely fit into their wheelchairs, or exploded out of them would follow me down the hallway. They would slide along moving at a snail pace, sliding their feet along as their means to get from one place to the next. It was as though I had the scent of youth and when I would come in the door they know and follow. Some of them were completely normal, and some were not quite right.

There were days I would see a group of random old ladies in my mom’s room. One would be facing the corner talking to herself, another would be sitting there staring at my mom not talking, and another would have fallen asleep mid entrance to her room. I would look at my mom and she would roll her eyes. Our unspoken angst at the situation neither of us had any control over.

Back to the roommate. She would talk in her sleep, and talk while awake. She would say things like: “Take me home.” Or “Take me downstairs.” Mind you the nursing home was one level. At first it all made me laugh, and then it just made me sad. The roommate did not have daily visitors, and when I would try to talk to her it made her cranky, and she would talk even more, in lines of gibberish that made no sense. My mom was in a nursing home because the hospital no longer had space and she needed extra care. I often wonder what it was like for her to live among those that were her mother’s age and older. She had her meals with them, did physical therapy, and activities with them. Did it drive her crazy? It was as though I watched her age during her stay at that nursing home.

I do not know what happened to her roommate, but my mom got better enough for us to move into a small apartment and in-home nurses would come and help her each day (in addition to what my sister and I would do to care for her). Thank God. I am not sure how much longer I could have watched the gaggle of old ladies congregate in my mom’s room. I might start to speak in their language. “Take me to…”

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