Nurse Magpie Retires

Our mother is not a nurse, but she’s been playing one in Apartment 8A.

“No one can take care of Daddy the way I can,” she’d shriek at me. True, but not in the way she meant. Sorry, Mah, but nursing is not your calling. Her priorities are just a wee bit off. Like, removing her precious Costco rugs is not an option, though it’s work for him to lift his walker onto them and their pile drags the walker to a near halt. She selected his Lazyboy on style grounds – sans activating side handle – because it had better “lines.”

“I have to live here, too,” she’d sniff, “and I’M NOT AN OLD LADY.” This she screamed at some hapless staff from Jewish Family & Children’s Services and then threw them out of the apartment, after they attempted to set Daddy up with a Call Alert necklace. Apparently, Mah considered 9-1-1 her personal husband lifting service.

At last, we won’t be receiving any more reports from Mah Magpie, R.N. that Daddy fell down “because he was walking too fast.” If you could see our Pop inching along, you’d know that “too fast” is an impossibility. As it turned out, Daddy was falling down because his undiagnosed urinary tract infection made him lightheaded. Three calls to 9-1-1 in under 24 hours.

But, thankfully, no more. The doctors charged with overseeing our aged P’s have finally seen the light and sent in the real nurses and physical therapists to help our father deal with the multiple challenges of living with Parkinson’s Disease. I’ve given mother dearest strict orders that she must get along with whomever is sent to take care of our father. No snits, no yelling, no dismissive derision. To quote the wise Tim Gunn, “Make it work.” Still, I shudder to think what will happen when they order those rugs pulled up.

So far, so good. Daddy’s been getting showered, fed, medicated, instructed on proper physical therapy moves, and generally tended to by the preliminary troops. Permanent arrangements require the usual red tape, but already he is basking in the glow of being at the center of everyone’s attention. Believe me, he’s got an ego the size of Montana. The Prince of Hackensack now has the retinue worthy of his high self regard.

We’re all hoping against hope that a new, calmer era has come for both of them. Mah has more than earned a rest; Daddy needs full time help. Not that their different wishes are going to match up any time soon. Daddy equates every little ache and pain with imminent death. Mah is perturbed that he shows no interest in their having a social life. Can this marriage be saved?


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