Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Lie Bot, what is the saddest thing?

Today, Gramma Guthrie decided she wanted to visit her husband in the old folks home. I first found out about it when I heard her tell her daughter on the phone "Jackie said she'd take me to visit Grampa Guthrie." Her daughter didn't seem to protest so I figured Well, I guess that means we're going to town.

It's been really hard on her, living apart from her husband of almost 60 years. He can't be cared for at home and the family can't afford to put them both together in the old folks home. Since she can't drive herself anymore, she's dependent on family members to take her when it fits their schedule.

So I put Gramma Guthrie's walker in the back seat of her oldladymobile and we drove forty minutes to the assisted living center where her husband has been living for about six months.

I hadn't seen Grampa Guthrie for almost a year and hardly recognized him when we walked into his room. This once large and imposing man seemed so weak and frail.

Gramma Guthrie sat by his side and they held hands. They touched their foreheads together and both started crying. "I told you I'd be back," she told him. "Even if I had to crawl here."

He thanked me for bringing her. I said "You heard her. She would've crawled here if I didn't bring her. I don't need to tell you how stubborn she is."

He told her that she probably wouldn't have to come too many more times because he wasn't likely to last much longer. She assured him she wouldn't be around much longer either. Could it get any sadder?

I gave them a little alone time and wandered the halls, talking to a few of the inmates - just soaking up the Cuckoo's Nest vibe. I got high-fived by a drooling tard sitting in a rocking chair in the middle of a busy hallway, talked to a man in a hospital bed who (I think) wanted me to look at his foot (if that's not what he wanted, I feel really dumb), ran into a nurse I'd worked with in community service (she was in for bounced checks - think about that next time your bank slaps you with a $20 NSF fee), sat in on a brief gossip session and contemplated the posted schedule of events that included lots of Bible study and Christian music. A number of residents could be seen through the open doors of their rooms, laying silently in their beds and staring at the ceiling.

I half expected to see a big, mute Indian propping up one of the walls. I wanted to pull a McMurphy and take 'em all on a wild and crazy field trip.

I'm inclined to believe Gramma Guthrie when she tells me that I shouldn't get old. It looks like it sucks ass.

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