Saturday, May 12, 2012

My Current Minnesota Life

 This afternoon I brought Dad in to see Mom and we went out in this beautiful courtyard/rock garden.  The weather was amazing.

Dad was so curious about where the water for the waterfalls came from that he disobeyed the rules.


"Ach, Dad!"

*     *     *

This morning I put lunch in the crock pot for Dad, wiped the counters, gathered some stuff to read, and was all ready to go spend the day with Mom when my cell phone rang.  A young man said, "Uh, is this Dorcas? Smucker?"

I said it was.

"Yeah, well I have a delivery for you and I can't find your place.  It's like 365-something?"

I said, "Where are you now?"

He said, "I'm in Grove City."

Mom and Dad are about 10 miles from Grove City, on a dirt road with a number but not a name.

I tried to explain this to the driver, a bit desperately, since I knew the word "delivery" on the day before Mother's Day probably meant One Thing, and I wasn't going to miss it.

He was very confused and hardly knew where Highway 4 was.

The call was lost.

I called him back and explained further.

And waited.

Finally I called again.  He should have arrived 10 minutes ago.

He had turned the wrong way on 365th Street and was relieved to hear from me.  He said, "You deserve like, a lot of thanks, and a hug."

Finally he arrived.  He looked about 16.  I asked him about his tough time getting there.  "Don't you have MapQuest or Google Maps?" I said, in utter disbelief that I was giving tech advice to a teenager.

He said, "I have Google, but this address wouldn't show up."  He added, "I was so angry.  And then I like, prayed a little bit, and then I got here."

He gave me a beautiful bouquet.  It was from Matt.  I was very happy.

I have been feeling very techy.

Mom has a roommate here at the Manor who is into watching TV.  With the sound turned on about as high as it can go.  It is profoundly irritating.

Mom said, in Dutch, "Those people, on that TV...they aren't very careful with their bodies."

Um. Yeah.

Mom told me not to tell anyone that the TV noise bothered her when she wanted to take a nap.  Very typical Mom behavior, of course.

But the nurses caught on that it bothered her, and told "Gladys" to turn it down.  She was upset, but complied, and then as soon as the nurses left, she turned it up again.

I had an idea.  Surely they had headphones around here somewhere.

I mentioned this to the nurse.  She thought it was a brilliant idea, and shared it with the other nurse, and she too thought it was brilliant, and they went hunting.

Pretty soon one nurse, who is younger than me I'm sure, was sitting on Gladys's bed trying to figure out the manual for a wireless headset.

The other nurse said she has no clue how to help her.

Finally it worked.  Peace at last.

And then I had yet another tech-brilliant moment today.

Mom wanted to stay in bed all morning because they did therapy early and she was so tired.  So I sat on a chair beside the bed and read.  Mom said her feet are cold and she misses her rice bag that she microwaves and takes to bed at home.  I determined to bring it tomorrow, and then I had my bright idea.

My laptop was sitting there charging up, so I put the cord across the foot end of the bed and placed that converter box thing right by Mom's feet.  You know how warm that gets?  It worked perfectly for the job.

If I lived in a nursing home or with my folks instead of a houseful of teenagers, I would feel very tech smart all the time.

*     *     *

Who would have thought you could have so many first-time experiences in a nursing home?

There is a sweet elderly woman here who looks and acts like I think Emily will look and act if she ever gets old and has dementia.

This lady is very trim and always dressed up in neat clothes, with a red blazer, and she always wears a hat.  She wanders up and down the halls with silk flowers tucked in the corners of her walker.

She always has something to say, clearly and articulately, with none of the fumbling for words that so many older people have, including Mom, who doesn't have Alzheimers but just can't come up with the right words.

Last evening when I was leaving I met "Emily" in the hallway.  She turned to me and said, clear and sure,

Quote of the Day:
"You and I are the best-looking and the most anxious women in town."

[That had never happened to me before.]


  1. I can well imagine those nursing home stories...several years ago my mom spent time in one. So, periodically I was there to visit her. Her room mate did the same thing with her TV. Very annoying, and frustrating. But later we learned she was a very lonely woman. So we felt sorry for her. But that "Emily" you met has got to take the cake... it made me chuckle!

    Bless Matt for the flowers! I can well imagine how special they are!

    Susanna Y.

  2. Just a heads up that you might not want to mention that brainy rice bag idea to the nurses as it will be seen as a liability for the nursing home to have it around. Keep it tucked in under those covers. :-) Nursing homes are underrated as fascinating places go though aren't they. Jenn.

  3. that quote of the day is hilarious!