Only Human

It had been a busy day. After exercise class, I stopped at Costco to buy Sis a TV. The board and care home didn’t have one for her bedroom, and she wasn’t willing to go to the living room to watch it with the other five residents. She wasn’t willing to do much of anything.
Costco had a 32 inch screen for $129.00, so I put it in the cart. I went to the produce section and picked up strawberries, blueberries and peaches, my favorite summer fruits. Forget apples when I can have berries!
I took the perishable produce home and decided to eat lunch before going to see Sis. By now it was after one o’clock. Then the phone rang. It was the director of the board and care home. Sis had had a seizure seven hours before. Hadn’t the nurse called? I checked my one and only phone for a missed call or voicemail. No, she had not. I asked if Sis had eaten anything. The woman assured me that Barb had missed breakfast but had eaten lunch.
I called the health agency in charge of visiting Sis each day. The woman said she’d have the nurse call me. After that conversation and another one with the nurse, it was approaching 2:00.
I put everything I’d need in the car for my evening and headed over to see Sis. The caregiver couple let me in. Rose said Sis had been too sleepy to eat anything at all. I woke up my sister and sent Rose to the kitchen for food and a glass of water. She didn’t return quick enough for me, so I went down to the kitchen and got the thickened liquid.
Sis was sleepy from the drug they’d given her. The drinks of water helped. Rose came back with a bowl of pureed spaghetti and the yogurt I had brought over the day before. Sis ate it all, spoonful by spoonful, with her eyes half shut. Rose stood by me, telling me that she had tried to feed Sis but with no luck.
“You have to wake her up,” I said. “She can’t miss two meals in a row.”
Then Rose brought the pills, which weren’t crushed, and I scolded her again.
I set up the TV after that and got it turned on. Then it was off to pick up a friend to go hear the Beatles cover band in the park. It was stinky hot but still fun to meet up with friends and dance to the golden oldies from my fave band of all time.
At the break, I waved goodbye to everyone and pulled my little red wagon to the car where I hopped in, took off my stinky shirt, and put on another one. Then I headed down the freeway two miles to the Village Theater where four of my chorus friends were putting on a show. My friends, an engaged couple, were there, holding a seat for me down front. I took my tiny glass of wine I’d just bought to my seat and got ready for the close harmonies of Theresa, Loren, Sue, and sometimes Paul.
All was well until Paul sang In My Life. “There are places I remember all my life though some have changed.”
Suddenly I was sobbing, and my girlfriend was holding my hand while I leaned on her shoulder. No, it wasn’t because Paul was butchering the song. Au contraire, he sang it beautifully, as the stresses of the past thirteen months as full-time caregiver finally seeped out of my eyes.
I cried through the rest of the song and then said to my friend, “How embarrassing.”
“No,” she said.
“It reminded me of Sis,” I said. “She loved the Beatles.”
“It makes you human to cry,” she said.
“Thanks,” I said.
It was about time that I did.

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