I know, I know. I said I was going to write about every single day I had left. And I missed a day. Did anyone notice? Probably, not. I get like 10 views for my blog per day and my mom probably accounts for at least 7 of those. But I noticed, and felt badly about it, because these memories are going nowhere (rather, they are going somewhere, I suppose, most likely dissolving into thin air since my brain’s file cabinet is more of a selective sieve than a tupperware). God knows where the memories disappear to if I don’t put them down into cloud computing history. Enter, blog.
This story is worth not forgetting. I can admit it; I only have two weeks left. I have a favorite resident. I know, I know. The inner primary school teacher in you says that this is bad. I said it too! But is it avoidable? Don’t we all choose favorites to some extent? And the answer is “yes,” I do spend more time with her on average than with my other residents. But the world of assisted living is strange. People pay to live there. A lot. And they pay on a scale of care needed. This resident in particular pays for a total of 4 hours of one-on-one care each day. 4 hours! The base level (I believe) is nearly zero hours (of one-on-one time) because it is assumed that most people in assisted living are fairly independent. And the base level of care is already expensive (at least to my unrefined sense of what is a luxury). So this resident, the one I call Addie, is supposed to receive the large amount of care that I provide for her. She is. It’s just that in the process of providing all this care, I have also grown incredibly fond of her. She is funny, she is sweet, she is altogether unique, and it has become second nature for her to tell me that she loves me, and for me to respond the same words. Good god, I hope I learn to maintain some distance from my patients when I am a nurse practitioner.
Addie loves bingo. She doesn’t quite ever remember the name of the game, but she usually tells me that she wants to play “the one with the red circles.” (Our bingo marker chips are red circular tiles.) I regularly lead social, so I always invite Addie when we are playing social. In fact, Addie will come to any social that I lead, even if she prefers not to participate in the word games. She enjoys drinking her Lipton tea, delicately nibbling a cookie, and studiously observing us blurt out words that we can form out of the larger word “ILLUMINATINGLY” (“extemporaneous,” “flimflammeries,”capriciousness,” or any other 14-letter word I pull out of my hat). But yesterday was Bingo. These ladies are really into their Bingo. We have a big cauldron of fun little prizes for the winners, so it’s always at least a little exciting. I call out the numbers…and yes, it gets monotonous, so after about 4 or 5 games (always ending in one seemingly never-ending round of blackout) I am ready to call it a day. Yesterday, Addie won on of the 4 rounds that we played. She pulled a tub of body butter out of the prize bin, lavender scented.
I pulled her scooter up to her chair, assisted her to stand up, and we walked back to her room. After she was settled in her blue recliner, I proffered the prize. She asked me to open it for her. So, I knelt down beside her, unscrewed the top, and went to work slowly peeling back the annoyingly thick foil that they always stick on beauty products to soothe the germaphobes. After peeling that off, there was a big bubble of lotion burgeoning from the top. Without thinking, Addie reached forward reflexively, and with one finger, popped the bubble. A small clump sprung up with a soft “pff!” and hit her smack-dab in the nose. In surprise, she said, “Oh!” And then we both cracked up. And I mean, really cracked up. Tears welled up in my eyes from laughing so hard, as soon as we would look at each other we would snort and start giggling again. Through it all, she never touched the dab of lotion on her nose, making it all the more entertaining. And then she leaned forward, and gave me a nose kiss with her own, and we both had lotion noses. That started us off on another round of giggles…and another as we finally tried to straighten things out and smear it into our skin, alas, to no avail. There were still smudges, here, there, everywhere. She would reach out and try and help me with my smudges and I would do the same for her. It was nonsense, and so much fun. Blogging seriously doesn’t do it justice. I loved my job so much in that moment.
Today I had dinner with a fabulous old friend. Why cook alone when I can cook with a friend? The wine tasted fancier, the food was richer (or maybe that was the butter) 😮 and the company was perfect. The only thing that suffered was my food photography. It didn’t happen. Maybe next time I will drink a cupful less and remember to take out my camera. Maybe. At least I know that one of these dishes was already made, and blogged about (the broccoli) and the second dish will be made again very shortly. It was that good. Yummy yummy, happy tummy.
Heat oven to 425. Place in one large-ish casserole dish:
purple potatoes, wedged
1/4-1/3 stick of butter, sliced
Generous splash of white wine
Bake for 5ish minutes, until butter melts and delicious aroma of wine flavored butter wafts up from the oven vents. Add:
2 big chicken breasts (or whatever you got, just wing it. Hah, get it?) quartered
Bunch of asparagus, halved
lemon slices, quartered and seeded
few sprigs of thyme (fresh!)
Another 2 or 3 little slices of butter for good measure
salt+peppa to taste (red chili flakes may improve it as well)
Cook for roughly 20-25 minutes, until the juices of the lemons have mostly gone into sauce, and the chicken feels tender to a fork. Eat and Enjoy!