I just had an unusually well-timed emergency. My mother, in Assisted Living in Georgia, took a fall and injured her leg, after which they put her in a wheelchair since she was unable to safely walk. As it happened I already had airline reservations to fly to Georgia this week. So I was with Mom at the doctor, who thought it may be a hairline fracture. The doctor took X-rays and prescribed Ibuprofen and physical therapy. The doctor also took her off sleeping pills. Since sleeping pills can make a person groggy and prone to falls, I’m all for that. Mom got mixed up when the nurse’s aide explained why there was one less pill last night. Mom took it to be no more Namenda – the Alzheimer’s drug. I checked up on it for her. Lunesta is the pill that has correctly been dropped out of the pill cup. In the meantime, the physical therapist is teaching Mom how to use a walker, which will be safer than walking unaided, and far better than her being stuck in a wheelchair.
Mom is feeling better and more like herself – her Alzheimer’s self, which is chronically forgetful and vague and sometimes paranoid but, fortunately, still appreciative of the natural world. The dining hall at the Gardens at Calvary has big windows with views of a creek watershed out back, pines and deciduous trees in fall colors, and yesterday at lunch Mom looked out and recited an old scrap of poetry or song: “The world is so full of beautiful things that we all should be happy as kings.”* Today she told me that she is very fond of the potted flowers on her porch and waters them all along. They are artificial flowers but it’s the thought that counts.
It’s not like all is well again or can be. She’s almost 89 years old with Alzheimer’s and an injured hip. But she’s in a good, caring facility – thank God she can afford that on her teacher’s pension and Social Security – and she’s not in pain. Maybe what she feels about her situation is similar to what I feel and think: that all is good enough for now. Tomorrow will bring what it brings. And so will the day after.
*Wikiquotes says that a version of this is by Robert Louis Stevenson’s in A Child’s Garden of Verses.