Joe and I headed over to visit my mom at her nursing home in Newark yesterday evening. She had been in the hospital for five days last week, and we wanted to see how she was settling in.
She really wasn’t. She has diabetic neuropathy, and spent most of our visit complaining of pain in her right leg and shoulder. Thankfully, my neuro pain was at a minimum, so I was able to help. I went to the nurse’s station and requested ice packs. I was given four latex gloves full of ice packs. Good enough. I stretched her legs a bit, massaged her knee, and then placed the makeshift ice packs on her sore joints.
She quickly felt relief. It sucks to have peripheral neuropathy, but it at least gives me an understanding of how to alleviate the pain.
Joe helped her brush her teeth. I fixed her hair.
We spoke to her nurse about getting better pain medication.
We left a bit after nine, feeling drained. Joe smoked a cigarette as a light drizzle began.
We drove home, intermittently chatting about “Man of Steel” and then veering into sharp silence.
We did not imagine our mother, at 63, would be in such a state. A part of me still remains fractured in disbelief. Then again, there have been so many things lately that have severed past expectations with present realities.
Joe pulled up to my building’s side door, and I got out. “I’m sorry…”. I trailed off. I hadn’t done anything wrong. But I was feeling so very sorry. For him, for us, for it all. “I think we need a new word, because ‘sorry’ isn’t working anymore,” Joe replied.
“Call me on your coffee break tommorow,” I said, shutting the car door. I pulled out my keys, unlocked the door and waved good night.