Feng shui and shrimp salad for old farts


Pelvis From a Distance With 3D Glasses

Dad was so excited to see me!  This is amazing right there, but it got better.  I brought a new art poster, a rolled up Georgia O'Keeffe, and dubbed him "Sir Howard" with the tube.  Dad raised his arms from the bed in a papal blessing pose with a big smile on his face.

Dad, are you glad to be centered?  Yesterday I wrote a note to the social services woman requesting that Dad's bed be re-centered under the light fixture.  Somehow over the weeks since Dad moved to the private room, his bed has been pushed closer and closer to the exterior wall.  I could barely fit the tray table around the bed, yet most of the room was empty enough for a square dance.  A low-grade annoyance, a persistent aesthetic gnat, an unnecessary accessory to the crimes of nonexistent privacy, incessant beeping alarms, blaring tvs, and pill-chopping guillotine of the med nurse must be a major source of stress for Dad 24/7 if it grates on me during my daily visit.

Dad was a structural engineer.  Controlling, balancing, supporting lines, angles, and spaces were at least as integral to him as they are to his art teacher daughter. Moving a hospital bed is not a hip-shove matter.  This monster is suctioned to the floor with some kind of clamps.  But now, OMMMMMM, it is away from the wall and centered under the light.

Dad, I've got Georgia O'Keeffe for you.  Should I put her below the fur traders, or replace them?  Dad pointed that George Caleb Bingham's fur traders had descended the Missouri long enough.

I told Dad my good news.  I didn't start a single fire all day!  Hey, high-five me!  Dad high-fived.  Tomorrow's the last day of summer school, and I won't have to be around those kids for two whole weeks.  Dad high-fived me again with gusto.

It was good to breathe in the recomposed space of Dad's room.  Supper arrived, and he fed himself the watermelon, milk, shrimp salad, croissant, and tomato juice.  I haven't seen him eat with such enjoyment in ages.

A nurse came in to measure Dad's oxygen level with a finger clamp.  She explained that Dad had received oxygen earlier in the day after a low reading.  Maybe more oxygen was helping as much as the new feng shui.  Either way I felt like my real father was back.

You look nice.  Did Mary give you a shower today?  The best that we could do, Dad answered.

The social services woman had also handled my request that Dad get a remote for his tv.  Dad seemed aware of the CBS news as he ate every last morsel of shrimp salad. I watched a shark attack program earlier, he volunteered.

When Dad was finished with supper, I wiped his chin and washed his hands.  Did I do okay?  Dad, you did terrific!  You ate like a man possessed!

Who is that old guy?  It took a few missteps to realize Dad was asking about the picture of a white-bearded waterfall in Oregon.  We played again with the 3D glasses that arrived with the waterfall card.

I needed to go home, check on my air-conditioner, and call my sister.  Why?  She wants to come visit you, but we have to work out the dates and air fares. Hurry back!

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder


Kim said...

Such great news, a great day for you two! High five!

Kathleen said...

So sweet!


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