Polar Vortex at the Nursing Home


Things had been going smoothly since I last checked in at my Mom’s nursing home. It took 98 years and two months before she was in need of such a facility. The first few months were not happy ones for her because who in the hell wants to live out their life in a nursing home? But, after three or four months Mom stopped fighting Mother Nature and knew this was her fate and she would make the best of it. The last time I wrote about her one of her three dining table mates, Margaret had folded her Thanksgiving turkey in her napkin and was stomping on it. Also her other table mate, Priscilla (my favorite) and my mom were planning an escape.

Last week Priscilla went on a hunger strike and my mom is worried. Priscilla hasn’t been to the table since. I reminded mom that Priscilla does have some severe depression problems too and that is probably why she’s staying in her room.

But then they had the POLAR VORTEX. A foot of snow and a wind chill of 35 below zero kept many staff members from getting to work at the nursing home.
Indiana weather map

HERE’S WHY THE NURSING HOME STAFF COULDN’T GET TO WORK
Indiana snow Jan 2014A short-handed staff meant no one to give patients’ baths and showers. Most of the patients could care less about that; it’s usually difficult and a hassle. Mom gets her shower on Mondays and Thursdays. She says, “They think I go out and roll around in a mud-pile. How in the hell can I get dirty in here?”

The Polar Vortex also meant the kitchen staff was basically absent so on Monday, the patients were given a sack supper. What little kitchen staff was there had to feed those who can’t feed themselves. So, Mom went to the dining room a little late to give them a chance to get caught up. Finally they placed the sack in front of her at her table. It was forty five minutes past her usual dining time and she was hungry.

Let me finish this story with our phone conversation the day after her sack supper.

“You’re never going to believe me when I tell you what they gave me in my sack last night.”

“What was that Mom?”

“Well first of all, my table argued with me and told me I was forgetful. I told them I’m not forgetful and I’ve ever eaten one of those things in my whole life. They said that was impossible. Everybody has eaten of those many times. I told them you would vouch for me because you know I never had eaten one before.”

I was trying to find out what she had eaten but she kept talking about her friends almost calling her a liar or a forgetful old lady. After she told me I agreed with her. I knew she was telling the truth.

It took 98 years and 9 months plus a Polar Vortex and wind chills of 35 below to keep the cook home so that my mom, for the first time in her life, ate a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich.

“How did it taste?  Did you like it, Mom?”

“It makes my sugar go up– it’s not good for me.”

“Did you like it, Mom?”

“It wasn’t too bad.”

“Are you going to have another?”

“It makes my sugar go up.”

“Are you going to have another?”

“I just might.”

About bakoheat

Writer/Musician
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6 Responses to Polar Vortex at the Nursing Home

  1. Mary says:

    I used to think I was the only kid in the world who didn’t like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Peanut butter was fine on anything but soft white bread. Just stuck to the roof of my mouth. Now a cream cheese and olive sandwich or a cream cheese and date bread sandwich. That was heaven. Heaven that got my mother in trouble. She was told she could not send such an unsuitable lunch with me any more. So the poor kids next to me were subjected to tuna fish sandwiches, because . . . . I think I was the only kid in the world who didn’t like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

  2. Joan Raymond says:

    Peanut butter with strawberry jam makes a pretty good sandwich. I prefer nutty p-nut butter and jam (as compared to jelly) to give me something to chew on. Although as I kid I remember taking bologna and cheese samdwiches to school. Now, I’d freak out thinking I’d die of food poisioning without being able to refridgerate the sandwich.

    I love the stories about your mom. She’s so spunky and outspoken. My dad was the same way. He definitely brought everything that didn’t meet his standards to our attention when we visited him.

    • bakoheat says:

      My mom loves peanut butter (smooth only) and used to have it on toast most mornings, so adding he jelly never seemed a big deal to me, but when we were kids, my brother and I added the jelly and she could hardly stay in the kitchen.

  3. Tom Behler says:

    Holy Mackeral, I can’t believe I just read that. Not one peanut butter and jelly sandwich in 98 YEARS???

    Just goes to show you. There’s something new under the sun every day if you just look for it. (And sometimes, if even you don’t)!

    Hey Dan…has she ever had a peanut butter and PICKLE sandwich…??? (For that matter…have you)?

    • bakoheat says:

      I might be as fat as Elvis, but I think if you add a banana to that you might have one of his favorites. No, I haven’t had a P&P…I might try it when I’m 98.

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