You’re pretty lucky, I say.
Mom smiles, tells me for the third time that morning she loves me. That she doesn’t know what she’d do without me.
I’m talking about the convenience of having most all of her medical tests done under one roof.
I take hold of her small, liver-spotted hand and tell her I love her too.
Though not my mother-tongue, I speak these words freely and truly to this woman who is not of my blood but of my heart; it is she who has taught me unconditional love. The only strings attached are her heartstrings to mine.
She tells me she feels like 27; edits out the part about the wonky 86-year-old ticker that gets by on hits of nitro. She’s crafty, this sweet, young thing. Adept at dodging the Grim Reaper by faithfully taking her meds and weighing in at the same nine-stone-eight she was when she was 27-years-old.
She tells me there’s so much she could be doing, antsy sitting in clinic chairs. Waiting, waiting; an ECG followed by blood work.
She tells me she just wants to get “on with it.”
Today there’s carpet bowling and bingo-pub night. Tomorrow it’s our big family dinner and she needs to make pies. The following afternoon she’s on the roster to serve Sunday tea and cookies to the Wexford folk.
I try to distract her by reading aloud the how-to instructions on the Fecal Occult Blood home test kit her family doctor just gave us. Each instruction proves more absurd than the last. We laugh until we cry. Mom rifles through her purse-du-jour for her wad of Kleenex. She passes me several, tells me she’s pretty sure they’re all clean. And a new laughing jag ensues.
People look our way. Some frown (more pity them). Some smile like they’re in on the joke. The rest remain as neutral as Switzerland.
We brighten up this dull place, I declare.
Like sunshine, says Mom.