Today, I visited my mother. It was a hot day and her apartment is shaded and always cool. I knew we could sit outside and not have the sun blazing down on us. My mother, who is 85 years old now, was happy to see me and we enjoyed a nice lunch together before deciding to take a little trip to “The Home” to visit Mom’s sister, my aunt who is in her late 70s. Before leaving, Mom had to prepare a little bag of Skore bars, homemade cherry cake, and of course, another cotton t-shirt that my aunt would surely love.
My aunt suffers from a little known lung condition called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and is on oxygen. She also recently lost her husband and shortly afterwards, had a fall that caused fractures in the vertebrae. As a result, she could no longer stay alone in her apartment and decided to enter “The Home”. It wasn’t easy to get in there but finally on May 1st, she was accepted. Prior to entering “The Home”, she was extremely ill, anxious, irritable, and could hardly get from her bedroom to living room without struggling for breath.
When we first arrived, my aunt was lying in bed and resting. She’d had a lovely lunch, she said, and was taking it easy. She was happy to see us and we started chatting about this and that. My Mom gave her the little bag and my aunt was happy to see the little treats and t-shirt. She told Mom to put the things on her side table and she would put it away later. We then started talking about other people in the home and my aunt realized that one of Mom’s old friends was just down the hall from her. She jumped out of the bed, pulled out her oxygen, and high tailed it down the hall. She came back, told Mom to come on, and escorted her to the friend’s room. I stayed behind and my aunt came straight back, smiled, and hurriedly put on her oxygen. She did not show any sign of being out of breath, which to me was marvellous, considering how she had been only a little over a month before. A short time later, Mom returned, commenting that her friend has suffered memory loss and couldn’t remember her or their old friendship. My aunt, seeing a little sadness in my mother’s eyes, decided to show us things in her room. With quick motion, she jumped out of the bed, hopped over her oxygen hose, and headed to the little fridge. Mom and I looked at each other in amazement and broke into laughter. My aunt laughed along with us and pulled out an assortment of things in her little fridge: Skore bars, little finger like bars, cookies, cheese, jams, and so on. “Would you like one?” she would say as she smiled happily, thoroughly enjoying our entertainment. Then returning to the bed, she once again put on her oxygen. She happily told us how she attended church services in the home, how she was able to walk to the dining room, and how she and the other residents tried to help others who are less fortunate. What an amazing woman!