It’s been seven months since my mother, Joy, was given a “death” sentence by doctors and told that she had three to five days until sepsis would stop her heart. As most of you know, that didn’t happen. Following a hunch, I ordered an independent blood test for my mom and learned that she didn’t have sepsis, but extremely low potassium, which also would have killed her if I hadn’t called an ambulance and pulled her out of hospice.
Fast-forward to late June. Although she is once again a hospice patient due to neglect at a care center that didn’t properly treat a nasty bed sore, you’d never know that my mother had “weeks to months” to live. Snowy Owl Woman has outgamed the system and continues to defy the odds. Although her bed sore will never completely heal (thus the second “hospice” classification), she’s been enjoying outings to a nearby park and bird-watching in her wheelchair; movie marathons on the big screen in her room and plates of homemade lasagna and chocolate cake baked by moi.
Once or twice a week, I bring my mom a fresh supply of whole-grain bread with high-quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar to dip it in, so she won’t have to eat the unhealthy white bread served at her new care center. She is otherwise treated wonderfully in her new digs, so I really can’t complain. Buying a fresh loaf of bread from a bakery is a small price to pay for having my mom here to share more stories about her life, more laughs, more opinions about the current political situation in the USA. (In case you’re wondering, she’s as livid and baffled as I am.)
Three days a week, we watch Hitchcock movies and classic westerns together (another of her faves), and I read a new chapter to her from one of my French mysteries or travel books. But for the past three months, we’ve also shared another routine: Every two weeks, I give my mother a manicure, trimming her nails, oiling her cuticles and allowing her to choose from an array of polishes brought from home. (Remember the old Palmolive ads? Just call me “Madge.”)
Thus far, my mom has been pampered with Chanel’s “Vamp,” “Savage Pink” by Yves St. Laurent, Smith & Cult’s “Peaceful Paranoia,” Bobbi Brown’s “Dark Chocolate,” OPI’s “Queen of D’Nile” and Essie’s “Sand of a Beach.” I’m saving “Teal the Cows Come” for a future visit. (BTW, exactly how does one go about getting a job naming nail polish?)
When it’s time for her next sugarcoating, I plan to take her the perfect shade of alien grey and top her nails with miniature flying saucers. Apropos, no?
Of course, I’ll also need a copy of “Alien,” the movie. 😉👽