Saturday, November 17, 2007

Visiting Mom: The Lighter Side

The last time Mom and I had our dinner and symphony night out, it was a fight to the finish. It took hours to get ready to go. Then with my bad sense of direction, it took me awhile to find the Choo-Choo, her favorite restaurant. We ended up in our seats at the Tivoli Theatre one second before the music started. So last night we made a resolution to stick to a meticulous schedule. We decided to start getting ready to go at 3:30.

At exactly 3:30, Mom's psych nurse knocked on the door. It was time for Mom's weekly session. (News to me.) But I was so glad to get the opportunity to meet her that I decided it was worth another fight to the finish. I asked if it was OK if I stayed. Marian said it was up to Mom, and Mom said yes.

Mom had forgotten who Marian was, and thought she had come to look at her arm, which was in a brace.

Psych Nurse: I'm not your physical therapist. I'm your mental therapist.
Mom: Can you do anything for my brain?
Psych Nurse: The question is, can you do anything for your brain. I see you get the newspaper.
Mom: Yes.
Psych Nurse: Do you get it every day?
Mom: Yes.
Psych Nurse: Do you do the crossword puzzle? Remember I told you to do crossword puzzles?
Mom, sheepishly: No. Would that really help?
Psych Nurse: Anything you do to exercise your brain will help your brain.
Mom: But I've just never been a crossword puzzle person. I like to read the paper. Does that count?
Psych Nurse: You read the paper? Marian looks at me. Does she retain ideas about articles she reads? Does she discuss what she's read on the phone with you?
I nod affirmatively, suddenly nervous that my ignorance of current events is about to be revealed.
Psych Nurse: What have you read about recently?
Mom: Stem .... stem ...oh, what are those little tiny things called.
And before I know what's happened, Mom and Marian are having a fight about the use of stem cells.
Mom: I'm for it! Our President isn't and I think he's making a mistake.
Marian: He isn't against it! He's just against using aborted fetuses! He's not against it.
Mom: He is against it. And why not use aborted fetuses? I think we should recycle anything that can be reused for the good of mankind, don't you?
Marian: He is not against it. You can't believe everything you read in the press.

Later, during intermission at the symphony having heard Peter Schickele's Unbegun Symphony and Piazzolla's The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires

Me: Mom? Are you ready to go?
Mom: Are you?
Me: I really enjoyed the first half! I'd feel fine leaving now.
long silence
Me: Did you enjoy the first half?
Mom: No I didn't.
Me: Why?
Mom: I couldn't tell when anyone was making a mistake.
We stayed on for Haydn's Symphony 104, which she really enjoyed.