Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I'm Not Very Good

I'm not very good at acting "normal" in hospitals, and even less adequate in nursing homes.  But I'll have to learn to get better at it.  

My mother, on the other hand, has had a fair amount of experience with nursing homes, especially during her parents' last years.  She moves through that environment seemingly unfazed with the extent of illness that's present there.  But I know that she is not unfazed with those surroundings.  No one could possibly be.  And it is now a new routine for her, and for all of our family members.  Just like millions of others.  After being "on call" at home literally 24/7 with Dad's care, she must adjust her schedule, plans, and mindset to this new phase of life. It's a blessing that in her early 80's she looks, thinks and moves as if she were in her early 60's. 

From a distance I can listen, and give advice, for what that's worth.  And I'd wager it isn't worth much.  We can only breathe with some relief that Dad is in a relatively "stable" period with Parkinson's.  No one can predict how long that will continue.

So during my increasingly frequent trips back to Texas I'll listen, watch, and learn. 

Awkward though it may be. 

pretty good 

my knees were pained 
on the concrete floor 
he was pained in his mind and body
with each wheel chair roll 

I never dreamed of breaking 
a Milky Way bar into pieces and 
feeding him sweet bit by bits or 
having to hold a Coke bottle 

to his lips 
for a brief retreat 
into pleasure 

"pretty good" 
was all he could say
and my knees felt 
much better. 

much better. 

Essay and Poem © 2010 by R. Burnett Baker 

1 comment:

  1. Dear Rick..

    It is hard to watch those we love struggle with illness & the ravages of it! Losing independence is difficult & to watch someone become dependent on others is equally as difficult!
    Your poem is sad but also filled with compassion & love! Please don't cut yourself short .. your words will surely be of comfort to your mother .. even if you think they aren't! Sometimes lending an ear, listening attentively can be a very comforting thing & this is worth a lot!
    Pretty Good... is after all...Pretty Good!