UNITED STATES—There is yet another miracle to follow. After therapy, the mother and her middle-aged children, Karen and Davy are in the door way to room #6.
“Get me to my bed, get me to my bed,” the mom croaks and gasps.
“We’re going to get you back to your bed,” Willow says.
“I know, I know: eventually,” the mother mimics the young therapist’ voice.
“I’m gonna let you get back to your bed, but I’m going to make you work for it.”
“GET ME TO MY BED. NOOOOW! I’m going to pee in my pants.”
“You already did that.” she says, placing a walker in front. “Help up now. Grip the walker and stand up.”
“No no no… I’m going to fall.”
“Give it a try,” Karen says. “Your nurse and therapist have got your back.”
“One… two… three,” says Willow.
“I can’t I can’t I can’t. I’m going to fall.”
“You’re already up,” says Willow.
“Let me down, let me down,” she drags the walker forward and shuffles on her own.
“Wow, these are the first steps on her own in three weeks,” says Davy. Karen is pretty amazed.
“You say you won’t do it, as you’re doing it,” comments the therapist. “Betty, you’re a funny bunny.”
Just as the mom gets to the middle of the room, and Doris’ bed, the Administrator, says, “We’re having a meeting with the Social Worker. We need you and Willow in on this.”
Two other nurses swift the mom into her bed, plump up her pillows and set her just right, quicker than you can say ‘geriatric resort.’ She’s back and staring, as if she’d never left.
“What am I going to do,” the mom asks.
“You’re where you wanted to be?”
Betty shrugs her ‘who knows?’ shrug. Davy stares out the glass slider and into the patio.
“What are you looking at.”
“There’s this family in the patio, this stereotypically American family. They brought coffee, Peets. There’s no Peets in Watsonville; they must be out of town. There are three toddlers, two girls and a boy. Early thirties, the parents, and a youngish grandfather. They speak animatedly…”
“Oh, I don’t know what you’re saying.”
“I’m listening,” says Karen.
“What are they saying?”
“Shhh. If I tell you I won’t be able to listen.”
“What are they saying?”
“Mo-om, I completely can’t hear. And now you’re blabbing.”
“I’ll be quiet.”
Davy directs himself to his sister, “What strikes me about them is that they are animated. Even the paralytic who joins them, a well dressed white woman. Might as well say it, these families are white from mid-county. The woman is well-coiffed and in a stylish robe. She drinks coffee with the to-go top on; that’s kind of depressing. The thing is: they don’t defer to her, there’s no damper whatsoever on their buoyancy. They’ talking all about there sports and job promotions and others’ achievements, unrepressed.”
“Davy, you’re pulling a Betty,” Karen says and lets out a guffaw. “You’re depicting the happiness of others and making me feel like shit. That’s Betty 101”
“Oh, dear. I don’t know what you’re saying. Can someone help get me to bed,” says the mother. “HELP HELP ME.”
“Ma,” kinda Jack Nicholson drawl, “That’s something about a nursing home,” says Davy. “No one hears you scream.”
To be continued…