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I got an invitation, in the mail last week, from the nursing home. They would be holding a Luau on Saturday, August 22 for residents and their families, or guests. Thinking that perhaps it would bring my mom out of her week of anger, I signed us up. She hasn’t been in a good mood all week, and nothing had improved when I arrived this evening. She angrily shouted at me, as I walked through the door, “You better get in here, Lonnette.”

I looked dejected I’m sure, and she then added, “Is anything wrong?”

(I felt like saying there wasn’t, until I got here.) I did take up for myself this time, and said, “I just don’t like to be yelled at, when I first arrive.”

Angrily, she dismissed my hurt, and said, “I was just kidding.”

(I had been bearing gifts, of her favorite perfume, Obsession, and a nice makeup case that she had asked for. I was sad that she had ruined the moment.)

If she was kidding, her tone of voice didn’t show it, and she has been like this for almost a week with everyone. I don’t know what to attribute it to, except that she gets like this for awhile, and then, hopefully, has several good days. She seems to be agitated and angry about everything lately. I guess it’s just been too long away from home, with too many injuries, (and without the freedom of mobility.) Though she often gets this way at home also. She is quite angry in general, and seems displeased with everyone and everything. She has been through so much.

I tried to tell myself long ago, that I would not take on her moodiness, and that her being in a bad mood would not put me in one. Tonight I was able to follow through on that. As I pushed her wheelchair into the hallway, outside the nursing home, all of the residents were being brought to the dining hall, but we weren’t allowed to enter for a while. So I talked to my mom’s new roommate, and she complimented me on my skirt (a floral print), that she said was perfect for a luau. (My mother never said a word about it.) We waited, and there was a tenseness in the air. Finally, they opened the doors, and called us in, by families and guests.

The Director Of Nursing came out, wearing the tallest stiletto heels that I had ever seen in my life. Honestly, it looked as though she was walking on stilts. (I would have fallen off, and needed physical therapy! LOL!)

I looked back at the new roommate–a precious, frail, French lady, and asked if she could sit with my mom and me, and it turned out that they had it set up that way already. We were so glad. She lovingly touched my mom’s hand, as she sat next to her. She is so very sweet.

We enjoyed looking at the decorations. Someone had transformed the dining hall into a cruise ship, and it was amazing. There were strings of white lights that went from the corners of the room to the center, murals on the walls of palm trees, fish, and the ocean. Over the door it said,
“Bon Voyage” between two red and white lifesaver floats. A young man in a captain’s hat held the door for us. There was orange punch, with umbrellas in the glasses, and everyone received a beautiful Hawaiian lei. There was live acoustical music, and recorded music that was very enjoyable. And there were some authentic Hawaiian dancers-some with grass skirts, and the whole get up.

It took quite awhile to get everyone served, and it took lots of people helping, as well. The menu was Coconut Shrimp, Teriyaki Salmon, Brown Rice, Carrots, Rolls, and Pineapple Upside Down Cake. (Betty is right about the food. It wasn’t good. I ate my roll, my rice, and my cake. All carbs!!!) I feel sorry for anyone who has to exist on this food, so I try to bring things into my mom, as often as I can.

But all in all, it was a very nice cruise! LOL! The decorations were out of this world, and one woman danced with a candle on her head, and one in each hand, until the Director of Nursing came frantically rushing out onto the stage, to blow them out. (Probably, wisely, against nursing home codes.) That part was funny, as the woman had to finish her dance with blown out candles, but we all clapped really loud for her anyway.

Since my mom was not particularly in a talkative mood, I talked a lot with a lady next to me, Ruby Martain. Ruby’s son, and 4 year old granddaughter were there. The granddaughter’s name was Riley, and she was having the time of her life, dancing to the music. Everything that Ruby said made perfect sense, until she asked me if I lived here. I told her that I did, and my mom also lived in the Fort Walton Beach area. I asked her if she lived at the nursing home, and she smiled and said that she did. Then she added, “I count the buses for them. They said I did a really good job, and wanted me to come to work for them. So I count the buses for them, and there were 7 today.”

I smiled with warmth, and said how wonderful that was, and felt sad that conversations often go this way in the nursing home. (You sometimes feel like you’ve stepped into the Twilight Zone.) And you have–the “Twilight Of Life” Zone.

After the “cruise” was over, I wheeled my mom back to her room, and someone else wheeled Ferl (aka Fergoine, that we can never pronounce). She thanked us so much for including her in the evening, and we told her we were pleased to have her be with us. Then my mom seemed agitated again, as the talk turned to the aggravating things that have happened in the nursing home. She was telling the truth about the things that frustrated her, and we listened and agreed. (But I wished there could have been something pleasant to talk about, but it was clear from the start, that wasn’t going to happen this evening.)

The night nurse came into the room, and took her blood sugar, and said that one of the CNAs would be in to help her to the bathroom, and into bed. (We had the buzzer on for well over 10 or 15 minutes, and no one came, as is often the case.)

I hugged my mom good night, and promised to bring her some homemade spaghetti on Sunday evening. And then I hugged her roommate, because she looked like she could use one.

What should have been a lovely evening on the “Love Boat” was a little lacking in love, but with my mom, that’s the way things sometimes go. I can’t change that, but I had a good time, and was glad to get home and see Rob, and sit in my cozy bedroom chair to read awhile. It’s been an exhausting, emotional week…

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