Friday, June 01, 2007

Sound Bites

"Where's my dog?" Toni asked.

Flynn and Maggie were put to sleep about a year ago, but yesterday I'd shown her photos on my computer that included them. When she saw them she said, "Flynn, Flynn," in that quiet breathy whisper she has now. So I opened the files and showed her both of them again. She kept asking where they were, so I told her they were in doggie heaven, but I had pictures of them.

"My other dog?"

Justin and I looked at each other. "You mean that little dog?" I forgot its name.

"Phineas?"

"Yeah."

"He's in a kennel right now, because we have too many people coming and going here and he would just keep barking." The other day he bit Dorothy's hand because she gave Laura a motherly pat on the knee. ("Damn! Drew blood!" she said as she yanked her hand away.)

"For how long?" Toni asked. We looked at each other again.

"I don't know."

"Can it be permanent?" she asked.

"Yeah, we're working on it," we said, laughing.

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Today, when Brandon came in to visit she was talking and we were trying to figure out what she wanted. Sometimes I can hear her--I'm good with accents and speech problems; it's part of teaching, like reading bad handwriting. So far I've gotten it all pretty well. This time though, it wasn't clear. Since earlier she'd been hot and I took the sheet off her (a little bit at a time, and she kept saying, "more"), I asked, "Are you cold? Do you want the sheet on again?" and I pulled it up a bit.

Toni still has the ability to roll her eyes and flutter her eyelashes the way she used to do. So she did. "OK. I'm wrong. I'm the official volunteer for being wrong around here right now." I really don't mind at the moment. "Want me to sit down and shut up?" I asked. She nodded, yes. In laughter I sat, and Brandon gave me a high five anyway.

***********************

Laura wants Mark to buy DSL and have three phone lines. Mark still has dial up.

Go ahead, do a little math.

In the house lives: one woman who is dying and cannot dial the phone anyway, one woman who is deaf and can't hear that well on the phone, one man who works all day, and one woman who "needs it for her business, so [I] can have a business line and a personal line."

"What business?" I asked.

She said the name of her "company."

In my total bitchiness I have said these things:
Until you get paid, it's a hobby.
Have you registered your company name?
When you make enough money with your business you can get DSL and pay for it yourself.
If Laura gets hit by a bus, I get her lens.

If I were Catholic, I would have to confess. But I'm Lutheran and I'm funny and Jesus loves me anyway.

Tomorrow I will try to be nicer to her. I repent. I can't make any promises though, I'm only human.

Today, at one point she said, "Can I slap her?" about me, and I said, "Go ahead, I can totally take you down."

****************

Toni has moments where she smiles at Justin or Mark and can say stuff like, "I love you," or "More," or "Water," or "Get me out of here." But she also doesn't remember Justin's foot accident, or her car accident and she asks what happened. Justin told her about her having a brain tumor and removing it (Bob, I guess they named it) and getting pneumonia and then being really weak, but he's afraid to say to her, "You're dying now, Mom." He's afraid she would say she does not want to die, and somehow he still feels so heavily responsible for her DNR and hospice choice. But it was in her Advanced Directive and she and Mark and she and he had discussed it all before she got cancer, and after.

This death wasn't his choice, it was hers--to the extent that anyone would ever choose to die this way.

*************

When we went into the restaurant to eat with Brandon he said, "Dude, where do you hide your Superman cape?"

"It's right behind my Wonder Woman outfit," I said.

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