Snuggled under the blanket she crewel worked herself, a full bowl of Kisses at her elbow, the tv turned to NCIS because we both agree that Mark Harmon is worth looking at, she is as comfortable as she's going to get.
The staff who've been transferred to another pod-castle within the complex stopped by to hug her and welcome her back. They were worried about her, they were glad to see her up and smiling, they were teary and grateful and G'ma was overwhelmed.
She's not a woman who enjoys being the center of attention. Compliments make her uncomfortable. She recognized none of the huggers and smilers but it didn't make any difference. She was overwhelmed by the emotion, by the warmth, by the love.
I couldn't ask for more.
Well, I could, but I wouldn't get it. I've adjusted my expectations to conform to our reality. No Unhappy Days has been my motto since G'ma moved to the desert's heat from New Jersey's ice storms. It's an easily manageable goal, one that requires chocolate and clean underwear and the occasional grilled-cheese-and-tomato sandwich... and not much else... until she falls at 5 in the morning and ends up with her big toe next to her ear.
Did I mention that the break was so spectacular, they used it at morning rounds in the Trauma Center? We don't do anything half way in our family.
The hospital was exactly what we needed for almost all the time she was there; her blood levels (note to self: research INR) are bouncing all over the place but can be managed at the pod-castle. It took three days of convincing, but I extricated her from their kind ministrations this afternoon.
She arrived, bewildered, on the low-rise-hospital-bed which will replace her regular bed until she can walk on her own, at exactly 2pm. Change of shift is 2pm. Some plans cannot be made perfect, no matter how hard I try. There was a great deal of confusion, which resulted in frantic calls to the doctor and then a calming reading of notes that explained everything, and then there was peace.
Big Cuter's Marimekko cars and trucks twin sheets are on the bed; she thinks it's ridiculous but I can't stop smiling. An egg crate topper will keep her protected from the plastic, bendable mattress. Her recliner and her night stand have signs reminding her
DO NOT STAND UP -- PUSH THE WRIST BUTTON FOR HELPShe was doing fine until she looked at the caregiver and asked, "Where the hell's the wrist button?"
We were laughing through our tears.
"On your wrist, sweetheart," we managed to gasp.
"I shouldn't push it now, though. You are all here, right?"
Sometimes it's just too sad for words.
We moved the remote control for the television, because she was using it to straighten the recliner chair. Each armrest has the sign. She's sitting on an alarm that will beep if she shifts her buns... as long as no one turns off the receiver from the main control panel. They have to use the round, white and green remote. I fixed it twice this afternoon by turning the main machine off and on again. Yes, there's a note above the equipment. It's not working as a deterrent. I took a Sharpie and wrote "do not use this" with arrows to the main reset button. Even with all of that, I had to grab a tech's hand as she reached for the wrong spot thirty seconds after I finished defacing the machinery. And this is a wonderful facility with kind and caring and competent staff.
There's a leap of faith every time I drive away.
The alarm was fixed and Brother called to welcome her home and then it was time to transfer to the wheelchair and roll in to dinner. Her space was there, right between Glenna and Rita, and their smiles were beatific. Warmed by the glow, I slid G'ma between their welcoming arms.
"Welcome Back! We've missed you! We are so glad to see you!
Her eyes welled up. She didn't know their names or their stories but she knew something more important. She knew that they cared. That, as they say, is priceless.
And so I stood there, smiling, taking it all in, breathing deeply and freely for the first time since last Sunday morning, when I heard this:
"Welcome Back! It's so good to have you here again!"
"I'm back? Where was I?"
I sighed. I shrugged. And then, as I was about to answer, Glenna leaned over, conspiratorially, and said, "Well, then, I'm not going to tell you."
G'ma laughed, recognizing teasing. Glenna and I smiled, recognizing the kindness.
One of the virtues of G'ma's impairment is that the bad stuff gets as lost as the good stuff. Yes, she broke her leg. No, she won't remember. Why remind her? She's back, and she doesn't know she was gone. As long as we can keep her safe, there's no need for her to remember.