On One Hand

December 26, 2005

Nursing Home Visit

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 12:29 am
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The visiting room of the nursing home is plain and white with quaint fake potted plants and flowers around the corners. My mother, my grandmother, my aunt, me, my father, and my grandfather are gathered in chairs around Leena. Leena is small, very thin and frail with age, wheelchair-bound and deeply hunched over with osteo-perosis. She has short, thin dark hair and a round face, and a short, pudgy triangular chin angled forward, resembling a baby’s. Her aged voice is deep and dry, and she speaks in short, simple sentences as she burdens to articulate. Leena opens a present while we all watch (gets a little help). Inside are “Crocs,” which are plastic-foam shoes with several air vents punched through them.

Leena: “I’ve been waiting a year for these.”

Ensemble: [murmuring] “Good! Well now you’ve got them!”

My grandmother: “Here, let us help you put them on.”

My grandmother slides Leena’s fuzzy slippers off and puts the crocs on.

My Grandmother: “Do they feel good?”

Leena: “They’re a little tight, I don’t know why. Oh no, do I have to wait another year?”

Later, Leena opens another present. It’s a fuzzy scarf my mother knitted for her.

Leena: “It’s a wig!”

My mother: “No,” [laughs], “It’s a scarf

Leena: “Oh good.” [Tosses the scarf around her neck and smiles.] “Maybe now I’ll get a man.”

Ensemble: [laughs] “A man, eh?”

Leena: “Yea, just get on a little lipstick, and put in my teeth.” [long pause] “Too bad there aren’t any good men here.”

My Grandfather: “There are some men here, a few. How about that guy.” [points to a man standing in the hall.]

Leena: “Nah, he don’t do nothin’ for me. Half of the men here fall asleep at the dinner table.”

Ensemble: “Oh no!” [laughs]

Leena: “Yeah. I probably won’t get a man. The bad thing about getting old is that you get ugly. Otherwise it wouldn’t be so bad. You think you’ll never get old, and then you’re old! My hair’s falling out…”

Me: “We could get you a wig.” [Leena looks up blankly]

My Grandmother: [repeats clearly into Leena’s ear] “We could get you a wig.”

Leena: “Oh! Maybe. It’s too late now. We’d have to go try them on. We should have done it when I was young a year ago, me and you kids. But we waited, and now I’m too old.”


Leena: “My husband Jess, he never did nothin’. Just sat in the kitchen.”

Ensemble: [murmurs] “Oh yeah?”

Leena: “Yea, he never golfed or nothin’.” [Note: Leena’s husband, Jess, had only one hand for most of his life.]

My grandfather: [laughs] “Yeah, Jess couldn’t golf…”

Ensemble: [Murmurs, everyone laughes to each other]

Leena: “Somebody say something.” [Ensemble continues murmuring]

Leena: “I can’t hear what anybody’s saying!” [laughs]


1 Comment »

  1. i’m in love with your family

    Comment by dreams_denied — December 26, 2005 @ 11:11 am | Reply

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