The tragedy that led to the demise of Muella was not soon to be forgotten as Mother drove us all crazy looking for that cat. It seemed that every time we looked up Mother was outside calling for her dear departed kitty. JR would threaten to tell her the truth while I pleaded with him for the compassion to allow her to continue the search.
That fateful day of the buzzard incident we were in Denton at Wal-Mart when I received a call from the hospital. The night of the storm they had admitted Daddy to the hospital for observation and to continue to treat his UTI with intravenous antibiotics. The hospital was calling to speak with me about his condition and special Medicare programs for patients that are too sick for the nursing home but don’t need acute care. Of course I had to authorize this over the phone which involved a conference call with the hospital while I was in Wal-Mart shopping with Mother, JR, and Shelby.
Shopping at Wal-Mart in itself is a stressful situation but just imagine shopping with JR. I can hardly describe the experience…it’s not a pretty sight! JR makes a list at home and by the time we get to Wal-Mart he is so impatient and neurotic that he is always in the middle of an anxiety attack. I refuse to shop with him…he curses everyone he sees…runs into people with his cart…and goes down his list in order which puts him back and forth throughout the store. If I am with him he yells at me and makes such a fool of himself that I
hope fear someone will just grab him up by the collar and beat the wicked and evil meanness right out of him!
So he must shop alone for the sake of my sanity. I get my own cart and go my way while he is calling out to me the items he will get and what I should get and where to meet him in the store. I usually just try to avoid him when I see him inside and meet him up by the cashiers when I am finished with my shopping.
But now add to this…Mother! She wanders around in a daze…I have to watch her all the time or she will not stay with me…and on top of all that…her bladder must be the size of a pea! If you mention the word bathroom, if she sees a restroom sign, or it just crosses her mind …she has to go.
Remember that I also have Shelby. She is very well behaved and never gives me any trouble, but this little girl has issues of her own. She has imaginary friends…they are blue aliens from Mars. Miss Angela and her daughters…Sally, Cassie, Katie, Marsha, and Plum often visit in their flying saucer. Sometimes they go with us to town and they were there in Wal-Mart with us that day. She is looking up in the air and pointing them out to me. She always carries around at least one or more stuffed animals from her abundant menagerie. She has them all named according to their gender…which only she knows.
They talk to her…and she will ask me something like, “Mimi, what did Fluffy say?” or if she’s talking to the aliens, “What did Miss Angela say, Mimi?”
She gets frustrated if you don’t have the correct answer. Far be it for me to know the answers to her questions…all I do know is its very distracting if you are trying to shop…especially with Mother and JR in Wal-Mart while participating in a conference call.
I imagine that the other shoppers are looking at me and probably assuming that we are a family with mental challenges and have come to town to shop! We are quite a colorful bunch…and to top it off on this day Shelby had been to see her neurologist and they had decked her out in a sparkly tiara, matching necklace and bracelet, with a magic wand to accessorize the ensemble. JR’s got his cap pulled down over his head and is in the middle of a full blown anxiety attack…Mother is wandering around like she’s lost…and Shelby dressed in all her finery is talking to imaginary aliens and asking me to participate in the conversation.
Daddy had been to the emergency room once and Mother was so mad that we didn’t just pick up and go right to Comanche that I had decided not to tell her he was in the hospital. She would insist that we go and I have other obligations besides Mother. So I thought it best that she not know and I would tell her at the appropriate time. It was pertinent that she not overhear any of the conversation of the conference call. I was having JR distract her so that I could talk on the phone to make the arrangement.
The next weekend we were planning to go to Comanche to see Daddy. I had to break the news that he was in the hospital. She took it pretty well because I only told her a couple of days before our trip and I didn’t mention that he had been there almost a week.
We made the trip and visited Daddy as soon as we arrived in Comanche. He looked a little better and was sitting up in a chair in his room. The hospital is very nice and he had a huge room with large windows and a pretty view of trees along with the countryside surrounding the hospital. He was somewhat alert and talked to us a little.
His nurse came in and he told her, “This is my wife but I can’t remember her name.”
I asked him if he could give me a smile and he gave me a big goofy grin. There was a little of his normal personality peeking through his state of mind. We stayed overnight and visited him a couple of times the next day. He was not doing as well that day and didn’t really talk to us. But as we told him goodbye and were walking out the door he called to Mother.
“Dotty…I love you!”
That thrilled Mother and as we were out in the hall at that point she turned around and went back in his room. I decided to stay out in the hall and let them share that moment privately. Little did I know at the time this was to be our last goodbye.