Pinned new posters on Dad's nursing home room walls. He had been looking at Georgia O'Keeffe and Richard Diebenkorn for months with no say in the matter. Dad says nothing about most matters when he has the option. His eyes seem to be sucking new input data from these posters, or else he has gone blind. I'm never sure. He seems to be staring at the art, but not looking at his supper while he tries to feed himself with both hands at once. With his right he lifts the coffee mug and tries to get the straw between his lips while simultaneously attempting to maneuver a teaspoon of chicken dumpling soup with his left.
I just play the part of the trampoline spotter, keeping my eye out so Dad doesn't slide off the bed or spill hot coffee on himself. An ancient episode of M*A*S*H shows on the TV. Hot Lips needs an appendectomy. Colonel Potter's horse is constipated. My brain is running in the background like a slow-moving antivirus scan trying to visualize tomorrow's clay project with the preschoolers. My brain is grumpy because I haven't downloaded and installed either the important or optional updates.
Dad is pushing buttons on the TV remote. He doesn't look at the gizmo in his hands. He has no feeling in his fingertips. The TV image is grainy, but the volume is high.
© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder