Much against my better (?) judgement; the octogenarians moved into the SWMBO’s (She Who Must Be Obeyed) house where three, soon to be four, cats reside and I am permitted to sleep.
At first residing there was much like walking through an infomercial. Representatives from stair lift companies arrived; explaining and diagramming the advantages of having their product…the octogenarians could access the second floor, giving them a sense of freedom (and me a sense of a $15,000.00 debt. NEXT.
There was a parade of “I’ve fallen and can’t get up” people. I still could find no way to escape the house and I always heard any and all falls, bumps and complaints.
We moved them into the dining room, recently painted a deep Wedgewood blue; their queen size bed, two night stands, two dressers, pictures, mirrors, two changing chairs (although I never saw any transformation) and a 28-pound cat that had an allergy to litter boxes, she avoided them at all costs (she was cat number 4).
The octogenarian mother of the SWMBO had begun her unsuccessful chemo treatment for stage 4 lung cancer. The Drs. Attributed this to her years as a smoker…she blamed her older sister for setting a poor example she was compelled to follow.
I answer her nightly, late nightly, very early morning, very very early morning calls for assistance to go to the bath room, get a drink (of water); during which an ongoing argument over the role of care givers. “No you can’t have whatever you want”.
I remember similar discourses with my son…when he was three.
John, the octogenarian father of the SWMBO, waited impatiently until his partner in octogenarianism returned to bed and he made his way to the loo.
I found it simpler to have a drink of the coffee left from after dinner during John’s time in the purple loo. There was always a cleaning and restocking required.
After a year had passed things began to change.
The queen size bed was replaced by a hospital bed and one twin.
The very early morning calls were now requiring lifting the octogenarian mother of the SWMBO from the bed to the wheel chair, rolling her into the modified loo and then lifting her from chair to bed. This was a simple task she had lost most of her weight.
At some point in time, I can’t remember just when, there was only the hospital bed in the blue room; the hospital bed and a pale blue wing back chair in the corner, a tall iron floor lamp illuminated the nurse that quietly sat and read. There was always an artificial light in that room now.
Conversations seemed to quietly dwindle from within the room replaced by the drone of oxygen pumps.
John’s bed moved (unfortunately not by itself) upstairs and the very early morning cleaning and restocking was in another loo.
And then there was the night the blue room was full of people not talking, conversation had been smothered by the weight of the blue on the walls. The octogenarian mother of the SWMBO, lay quietly on the hospital bed, oxygen pumps now, also, silenced as the nurse, by the light of the tall iron floor lamp wrote her report.
The next morning (very very early in the morning) out of habit rather than necessity I came down to drink the cold, stale coffee left from after dinner. I stopped at the foot of the stairs, facing the blue room.
Oxygen pumps had been removed, the hospital bed was stripped of linen, the mattress flat, there was no nurse in the chair, the iron floor lamp was on, lighting the dark blue of the room and nothing else.
I took my cold coffee with me as I went out to sit on the porch, it was warm for an October morning and at that hour the world was full of the sounds of frogs in the culvert, owls calling out to the waning moon.
After coffee, I took the empty cup to the kitchen and started to return to bed stopping at the foot of the stairs…I wanted to look at the blue room again…but it was empty.