It was a beautiful morning when I arrived at the Nursing Home, and she was happy to see me. She seemed more alert than yesterday.
She asked for ice cream, but what she really wanted was a glass of water with ice. Swallowing fluids is generally difficult now and all liquid are thickened for her. Icy cold water was what she wanted without the thickening so I got her exactly that. She enjoys the simple things in life now ... and a large glass of water with ice sipped slowly through a straw was do-able for her today.
But I did notice that picking words and completing sentences was hard today (ice cream for ice water is a prime example.)
We had a perfect day so we went out the front of the community and sat in the sun. She remained alert enjoying the warmth of the sun. So different from yesterday. Yet not so different as communication was a struggle.
Soon a priest emerged from the entrance. He recognized us and stopped to talk with mom. It was a bit hard for mom, but this priest is a regular visitor and very skilled at interacting with all ranges of cognitive ability.
He was from New York and so was mom, so we chatted about that for a few minutes.
At one point, he directed a question to mom. "So, Mrs. Mesavage, how old are you?" Mom continued to smile at him but did not respond. I thought maybe she didn't hear the question. I regularly repeat questions aimed at mom with a slightly raised voice - making sure she can see my mouth. I began to repeat the priest's question.
Before I could get passed the second word, mom turned to the priest and said,
"Can I lie?"
What a hoot!!
Not only was she following the conversation, not only did she have an answer ... a spark of her personality and humor emerged in a blinding flash of light for me. I felt totally washed in it. She was connected for that small period of time. She continued to give the priest a dazzling smile waiting for his answer. He laughed right out loud. "Sure, why not!" he said.
She responded, "I am 81."
She is actually 88 - and maybe she couldn't remember her actual age, but my guess is that she did know for those few moments! Of course, she probably didn't want too big a lie to answer for in the next life so she just shaved her age a bit. :-) And seriously, if the priest said she could lie, should she need to answer for anything at all???
Now if it was me, and I was going to lie to a priest, I would have made it a whopper!
"I am 29!!!"
Thank God for the spots of light. It makes her not seem so far away!