Smoking Lady

So grateful tonight that my dad is in the care of "Big Red", his favorite aide.  She would never let this happen to him or any of her other charges:

Finally leaving school after the annual Parent Meeting at 8:30, all in a rush to pick up the Woolly Mammoth and his lovely friendgirl at the airport, I spotted Smoking Lady in the dark parking lot.  She was being assisted by two people, and was obviously agitated.  I ran back into the school and snagged our office manager to help me investigate.

Smoking Lady is a common sight walking around our school and the surrounding small office buildings.  She lives in one of the nearby senior facilities, The Village. Smoking Lady's pace and posture mark her as being "not quite right" in the head, although she obviously has a lot of freedom to wander outdoors in all weather.  Still, she should not be out in the parking lot in the dark in her muumuu and shoeless being assisted by a woman in a Carter blood drive t-shirt.  Where had the man gone?

He had gone to ask the skilled care facility if they were missing a woman.  Specifically, a woman who had fallen down the ravine by the creek several hours ago and was covered in bruises, scrapes, bites, and allergic rashes.  A poor woman who was desperately trying to get into one of the office buildings to "wash with soap and water".  A poor woman who was afraid to walk back into her building past the nursing station as she was because THEY would never let her walk out again, and she would "miss seeing the little wild animals".

Our office manager did a beautiful job of calming Smoking Lady and steering her toward her nursing home.  Then I took over holding Smoking Lady's left arm while the blood drive stranger held her right.  Staff members recognized Smoking Lady when we got her inside the building.  In bright light her injuries were significant--a huge bruise covered her left cheek; another bruise on her neck showed the impact of a necklace in her fall; her arms were bright pink and puffy from allergies to weeds or poison ivy; large bloody and oozy scrapes showed on her face and arms.  Dirt all over.  So, so sad and scary.

The blood drive woman and her husband agreed to answer questions for the REPORT.  I needed to leave, to wash the blood, dirt, itchiness and outrage off my arm.  I needed to drive to the airport, but I didn't know the punch code to open the door out of the nursing home.  The staff had disappeared.  We can hope they were all tending to Smoking Lady's injuries and wondering why they hadn't a clue she was missing.

No wondering for me why I'm having a thirty year flashback to an "Edge of Night" soap opera episode with Beth Bryson and Matthew Sharkey.  Nursing home noir.

And, by the way, another good reason for not smoking...

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

Oh, dear. Thank you for helping. I met a woman in a housedress in my neighborhood in Chicago some years ago...unharmed, but not home. Long story...but now incorporated into one of mine.


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