We’re on the night shift again. Harder this time because she’s in the hospital with a fever. An alarm keeps going off in the next room accompanied by relentless wails from a baby.
She keeps asking for her coat and purse so she can go home. She doesn’t want to be a bother, insisting that she be left alone to get up and down on her own. Of course we can’t let her. Her agitation requires us to watch her vigilantly.
She feels caged by the bed rails that keep her from falling out of bed in the night. I don’t ever want to reach the point where I can no longer appreciate the need for bed rails.
She thinks we’re being harsh and suggests that I stay here in the hospital on my own since Mark is here to take care of me. She’ll go on home without us.
I can’t resent her stubbornness. It kept her independent, on her feet and out of a wheelchair for 52 years, despite crippling arthritis.
There’s no reasoning with her. No explaining the circumstances or the big picture. No explaining that it’s a lot easier on us if she uses the bed pan than get up and inch across the floor to the bathroom and back. It’s like explaining things to Dori in “Finding Nemo,” except that she can still ruminate on the fact that we won’t let her go home.
We want to go home, too. Not to our own beds but to a place where presidential candidates are honest and dignified, kind and compassionate, genuine, wise, restrained, unselfish, and able to see the big picture. To a place where good is good and evil is evil and everyone recognizes the difference. Where alarms aren’t necessary, everyone sleeps through the night, and no one needs bed rails.
Mark gets up and reads passages to her from Isaiah. She softens a little. The words are familiar and his voice is gentle and loving. It soothes all three of us. I’m thankful for who she was, who he is, and who we all will be someday.