A strange sight greets me every day I visit my mother in the nursing home. It’s a couple of signs I follow to get to my mother’s room. First, let me say to new readers, I live in Bakersfield, CA and my mom is in Lafayette, Indiana. Google it…little over 2100 miles apart. When I get through the main lobby, I see this sign:
I turn down that hall and see this sign:
All the other areas have these cutesy names (Dogwood, Tuliptree,Twin Garden Applewood, etc) but somehow good old Bakersfield became one of the areas and streets.
My daughter commented to Mom she didn’t see many men in the nursing home.
Mom said, “That’s because this is a women’s prison.” Yeah, she’s not happy there. We sit in the sun room, where card playing, craft-doing, and TV watching goes on. Then we may move to the “living room” where there are love-seats, cushioned chairs, a nice big glass bird enclosure and more tables. The other day, Mom said, “You’re bored, aren’t you?”
I said, “No, I enjoy your company.”
She said, “How in the hell can’t you be bored, I am. Can you imagine how it feels to know you’re going to die here? I just wanted to die at home, like Jimmy…not this place.”
My titled blog today is a quote– “There’s got to be a way out.” That’s from Priscilla, my mom’s table mate at every meal. The nursing home has a designated seat for everyone. I love Priscilla. My mom loves Priscilla. You would love her too. What a funny character. She says those same words every day in a whisper. She lays her hand over my mom’s while she whispers. She asks mom to run away with her.
Mom says, “Where in the hell would we go?”
Priscilla says, “I’m figuring it out.”
I hope she does. Priscilla says her sister “put her in here.” She says her sister found the toaster in the trash. Priscilla says, “Now why in the hell would I throw a toaster in the trash? That’s silly.”
And I think, maybe she didn’t—maybe she did.
The other day I sat with them and came up with an idea how the two of them could run away. I suggested I bring them a bicycle lock and Mom could hide it under her seat cushion in the wheel chair. She already has a change purse, the daily menu, Kleenex and a rosary under there. (not counting the jar of French Vanilla Coffeemate squeezed by her side). I said that Priscilla could push Mom out to the bus stop, just a few hundred feet from the front door. They could chain-lock the wheelchair to the bus-stop pole and then the two of them could get on the bus and ride around town all day. When they got tired, come on back to the bus-stop, unchain the wheel chair and back to bed. I hope they do it. That’s how I would live this adventure-stage before dying. I think they’d let those naughty runaway-girls back in…they like that 5K per month.