My husband and I made the long drive tonight to liberate Mom for a New Year’s Eve dinner out. She’s been in low spirits since the flu hysteria started (see my last post), and is now calling her residence full of masked staff “The Infirmary” when I talk to her on the phone.
We’ve stopped correcting her and telling her she’s actually in assisted living. Her view of things is probably more accurate anyway.
Half of her brain is alert enough to roll her eyes and make piercing jokes (like the infirmary reference might have been), while her other half is always a bit confused. So it’s hard to tell if she’s using conscious or unconscious satire, but whatever it is, it always shocks a smile out of us and some of the caregivers, and is so much appreciated at moments like these when it feels bleak to have her living in a situation that feels not much better than our failed attempt to care for her at our home.
So we finally pulled up in front of her residence to get her for dinner, and as we walked toward the main door were greeted by a sign that said, NO VISITORS UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE DUE TO FLU CONCERNS.
No one had contacted us to let us know about this increase in flu security, and now we were there, hungry, and not wanting to call a disappointed, lonely Carol Jean and tell her we couldn’t take her out and that she’d have to suffice with chicken soup and popsicles for the third meal in a row.
My husband has a conspiracy theory that maybe the residence is short on budget at the end of the year/month, and so is pushing the “chicken soup due to flu, until further notice” menu until they can get back on track. It’s a bit ridiculous and far-fetched, but sometimes it does make you wonder, because Mom and most of the residents DON’T have the flu, so why are they getting popsicles and a cup of soup for dinner???
As we stood in front of the daunting sign, I felt pretty strongly that Mom needed to “get the hell out of there,” as she had worded it recently, if only to be able to see a few maskless humans for a few hours out on the town on the last day of the year.
So the husband and I donned our masks, picked up the security phone, sweet talked our way in, grabbed Carol Jean, and fled the INFIRMARY as fast as we could.
As I said in my last post, I do understand the concerns of the people on the other end, who need to protect the handful of residents who are ill right now, but I don’t feel that the majority, the healthy people, like Mom, should be isolated and caused to suffer emotionally because of it.
After we returned from a nice dinner (during which Mom was more than thrilled to eat food with texture and colors!), my husband was entertaining himself while I was helping Mom brush her teeth and get ready for bed. Without thinking about it, he created what I think is the perfect wordless monument to how we’re all feeling right now about FLU HYSTERIA in Mom’s home:
Happy New Year!