Casts & Characters

Just flyin’ by in between running errands, running my life, running my mother’s life (good god, I never realized how busy that woman is) and in general running around in circles like a puppy after its tail. My Inbox overfloweth - if I owe you an email, I’m working on a response that can be created while hurtling down the street (telepathy, maybe?) – if I owe you money, I’m planning to sell myself for medical experiments as soon as humanly possible and if I owe you a phonecall… well, I’ve had laryngitis for several days now and please hold until I get my voice back. Ditto if I owe you anything else in written form, as using a voice-recognition program is a smidge challenging if one’s voice is nothing but a croak (which explains why it’s taken me three days to write this post).

Stage II of the Road to Recovery commenced last Friday, when my mother moved to a convalescent area of a local nursinghome. Before she left the hospital, she was fitted with a new and much less intense pair of “really thick socks”

We plan to acquire a box of markers and encourage all visitors to create a set of casts unparalleled in the history of broken bones.

The nursinghome is located in a residential neighbourhood, three stories tucked between old homes and old trees (and old pavement – the drive there feels like driving on cobblestones). The building is in two wings, sprawling over a fair bit of land, but in a way that makes the size a surprise. Just as you think you’ve reached an end, there’s a hallway to somewhere else. It’s quite charming. There’s a lovely quiet library area, the sun filtering in through a large tree outside the window, bookshelves filled with the most eclectic collection I’ve ever seen, residents and visitors leaving books for future residents, running the gamut from science-fiction to classics to humour and so on.

Something puzzles me, though. In the winter, nursinghomes are kept pretty toasty. Makes sense – people wearing their indoor clothing, many older folks tend to get chilled and so on. Then how come in the summer, they keep it somewhere between cool and freezing? I’ve been there a few times now and always go home with toes like icicles to the point that I’ve decided to wear socks the next time I go and we’ll be bringing in a sweater for my mother. Now, for this next bit, I thought of hinting vaguely, but have decided against that, even if I feel really awkward about asking this. I suspect there may be a knitter or two reading out there and was wondering if someone might have some remnants in the stash that would make good cast/toe socks and wouldn't mind whipping up at pair. I'd be happy to pay for supplies and postage – if you’re game, please e-mail me at landers5 AT gmail DOT com.

The convalescent area is housed on the heavy care floor. Being the heavy care floor, the residents not temporarily housed while healing after an injury tend to be pretty incapacitated, both physically and cognitively. There are a lot of people in the later stages of Alzheimer’s, folding in upon themselves, withdrawing off into another world. There are residents less impaired, but for whom you wish oblivion. Like Edith*, who is stuck in a 30-second loop of awareness, always sobbing helplessly in fear and frustration, unable to remember how to turn off the TV, when lunch is served and what on earth has happened to her life. Then there are those who putter about, seemingly content – or maybe resigned. Like George, who places three open boxes of sugarcubes on the seat of his walker. I imagine part of him is back in the war, during sugar rations and his three boxes lend him security.
And then there are the those clearly only here for physical reasons, their minds as clear as a bell, although somewhat less subject to social inhibitions (hey, advanced age gives you a free pass). Michele visited last weekend and on her way out, an older man entered the door as she exited. Naturally, they exchanged ‘hellos’ and the rest of the conversation went as follows:

Man: are those denim jeans you’re wearing?

Michele: Yes, it is.

Man: I like denim jeans. They’re comfortable.
Michele: They sure are.

Man: … and
sexy! What’s your name?

And then she ran for it.

*names have been changed