So far I've written only about the difficult blessings that come with nursing home visitation. But most of the time I just enjoy my visits with the residents. Residents like Bobbi.
Bobbi's been on hospice for some time; with contractures of all four limbs and half blind, she is mostly bed-bound. I visit with her for an hour or so every Sunday, and sometimes on Wednesday, and we talk and laugh and tell stories. Sometimes she dictates cards or stories and I write them down for her.
Until just recently, food was a major topic of conversation. Particularly her favourites, Mac and cheese, cherry pie, lemon popsicles, and chicken noodle soup. Most of which are just memories for her, as swallowing issues prevent her from eating regular food or unthickened liquid. But as her condition has progressed, she has stopped talking about food, and her conversation ventures ever more into the realm of the fantastic.
She always asks about my kids, and when I report some frustrating issue or unendurable misdeed, she always replies, "Oh, that's alright...they're little angels!" She says that no matter what it is: the little boys' attempt to clean the kitchen by squirting dish soap all over the floor or my daughter's April Fool's Day prank: unscrewing the shower head, filling it with Red Kool-Aid powder, and screwing it back on. None of it matters- they're just little angels!
But this past Sunday, Bobbi wanted to talk about food again, which I considered to be a positive sign. Eventually we got round to Angel Food Cake.
"Oh!" she rhapsodized, "Angel Food Cake is my favourite! I used to love it when I was a little girl!"
Seeing an opportunity for some good-natured ribbing, I leaned over her bed and asked,
"Is that because you were just such a little angel when you were a girl?"
She peered at me with her one good eye and nodded. "Yes," she asserted, very gravely.
"Hmm." I joked. "I like Devil's food cake. I wonder what that makes me...."
She jumped semi-upright in the bed as though activated by springs. "FAT!" she roared, then crashed back onto the pillows laughing her head off. BWAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHA!
"Laughter doeth good like a medicine," and Bobbi and I were both feeling pretty healthy after that.