My mother went to the hospital for a broken hip and stayed for Covid. She is currently in a state of delirium which, according to numerous websites, is not a precursor to dementia nor “a senior moment.” It could be a response to physical pain, a drastic change in environment, a new medication. It could be temporary. No one knows.
She is talking about a group of well-dressed Mexican men. They are very well-dressed, Rebecca.
The man in the royal blue scrubs asks me if I’m her daughter. Is she always like this?
She asks me for a top. A top to what, Mom? A top to wear, Rebecca. She rolls her eyes.
She is slightly slumped over in bed, preoccupied with organizing an imaginary event. There’s so much to do. So many things to do. Twelve people are at her house and some of them are messy. What will I feed them, Rebecca? What do you want to feed them, Mom? Frankly I just wish they’d go away. They’re leaving soon, Mom.
Her wrinkled bruised hands move gracefully through the air. Take this for me, she says, handing me nothing. Do you have it, she asks sharply? Yes, Mom. I’ve got it.
The goal is to get her home where people can visit her without filling out forms and getting their temperature taken. Maybe she can get her dog back. In the meantime, she is in a rehabilitation facility in a creaky bed with a view of City College of San Francisco.
When my mom was a dean at City College, she often had days of back-to-back meetings with cranky administrators and stressed-out students. Once her secretary stabbed someone with a butter knife so she had to deal with that. There might have been a day when she finally got to close her office door to call me and tell me to preheat the oven because she was coming home. And maybe, as she put on her coat, she paused to look out the window. Maybe she could see where she is now.