Daughter's Eulogy

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Vegas Does It

On Friday, April 27th, I knew that today would be a good day.  Mom always feels better after she gets her hair done.

As I approached mom, she was talking to some other residents near the nurses’ station.  She smiled when she saw me.  From the corner of my eye, I saw mom’s aide pushing another resident’s wheelchair to help the resident maneuver trying to go around us; I smiled; moved to let them pass; and said hello.  Mom said, “Julienne, say hello to Anna*. She is my aide; she takes good care of me.”  Obviously, mom did not hear me already address Anna*.  So I said hello again to her.  Anna* smiled; she understood as she had overheard mom telling me to say hello and she knew doing what mom had asked me to do was easier than explaining.  Anna* always has a genuine smile on her face; and seems to really care about mom.

Mom said, “Julienne, have you met my new nurse yet.”  I shook my head no and said, “Mom, she was at lunch the last time I was here with you.  I would like to meet her now.”  Just then, a blonde-haired nurse with a warm smile and a twinkle in her eye said, “I am Sonya*, Gilda’s nurse.”  I could not have been more pleased.  She made me feel that mom was in good hands.

 When I asked mom how she was doing, she said, “I wish I had a little more ‘oomph’.  I am still not feeling myself.”  I asked Sonya* if she increased mom’s oxygen would the oxygen give her more energy. (I know that in Vegas the casinos pump oxygen throughout to keep people’s energy level high. If the theory works for them; the theory might work in this case, too.)

Sonya* told me that she would test mom’s oxygen level.  She put what seemed to be a clothespin attached to a heart monitor on her finger to test her.  Mom’s oxygen level was a little low. Then Sonya* asked mom to take a few deep breaths in this time.  When mom did, her oxygen level went up.  Sonya* said, “Gilda, try and remember to take some deep breaths.  You will feel better.”  Mom said, “Deep breaths are hard to do, but I will try.”  Sonya* mentioned that when mom is walking she needs more oxygen so she would move her level higher.  Her aide saw that mom’s tank was running low so she went to get her another tank to make sure mom would not run out while she was having her hair done.  Once Anna* returned with mom’s new tank, mom and I headed towards the beauty shop.

As we started to walk towards the car, mom started telling me a story.  Today mom’s memory was not very good.  She started telling me the same story over eight times.  Each time she asked me if I could remember where she left off so I would repeat everything she said up to that point.  Most of the time she would add a little bit more that she remembered, but finally gave up as she was too frustrated at herself for not being able to recall her story in full.  I assured her that I forget a lot, too. And I know how frustrating that feels.

Helping mom to sit in the car is not an easy ordeal; we have an SUV which I adjust to sport control which lowers the body of the car.  However, since mom’s broken hip five years ago, she has a difficult time trying to raise her leg high enough to comfortably finagle her way to sit in our car.  Once mom is seated, keeping her oxygen on and making sure her oxygen tank stays upright next to her legs while I am driving is another goal.  I have to remind myself that mom’s looking good helps her feel better. Taking her to her special beautician makes the little struggle worth going through for the both of us.

Joanne*, her beautician, was ready and waiting for us.  Mom and I were on time.  Joanne* asked mom how she liked her hair.  Mom said, “My hair looks good for only one day . . .  the day my hair gets done.  The rest of the days my hair is stuck to my head.  Do you think I need a perm? Some of the other ladies where I live said I do.”  Joanne* suggested that maybe on her next visit when she allows more time she can give mom a body wave.  She thought that might help mom’s hair situation.  Mom agreed to try the body wave next time.

Mom also mentioned that her hair falls in her eyes so she keeps putting a clip on her hair to pull it away from her face.  I suggested that Joanne could give mom some side bangs like me.  Mom loved that idea.

When mom’s hair was done, I told her she looked beautiful.  I knew she liked her hair so I asked her if I could take her picture.  She said, “Ok, but take Joanne*’s picture, too.  (I have not asked Joanne* if I could put her picture on my blog yet so the photos I inserted are just mom.)

While we were in the beauty shop, mom’s was telling me that she has been waking up at 5am each morning  because her roommate likes to wake up early.  Mom told Sonya* that the day is too long for her.  Sonya* suggested sleeping in until 6am.  Mom wanted to know if I thought that was a good idea.  I assured her that sleeping later was a great idea.  

When mom and I walked back into The Community*, everyone we saw told mom how nice she looked.  A few of them even noticed her new bangs, mom was feeling great.  Beauty shop day is a feel good day; I think most  women would understand.

As we passed the dining room, mom and I heard a woman playing the piano and singing old classics.  I asked mom if she wanted to go in and listen.  She did, but she said, “Just don’t make me sit in the first row.”  I told her that we could go in the back.  I showed her where we would go. As we both walked in, the activities director greeted mom and told her she was glad she was joining them.  Mom smiled.  After she was seated and comfortable I told mom I needed to go.  Mom said, “Julienne, thank you, thank you. I love you.”  She hugged me tight and I felt her love.  I know today she appreciated beauty shop day, Joanne, and me. 

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