Monday, May 01, 2006

The Empty-Stomach Blues

There are days that seem destined for sleep alone. Sometimes Bea doesn’t want to eat. Then, at other times, she will play catch-up. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are not sufficient. Whenever I appear at Bea’s bedside, she will say in a plaintive voice, “I’m hungry.”

Since Bea has lost her short-term memory, remembering a meal becomes problematic. Yesterday, for instance. I had just fed her halibut and yellow squash, which she devoured. Upon my return from the kitchen with dessert, she tells me, “I’m hungry.”

“You already ate dinner,” I say, nonplussed.

“What did I eat?” she wants to know.

“Squash.”

“Squash,” she repeats, as if discovering the word for the first time.

We go through this routine every time I enter her bedroom over the course of the evening. Finally, before I go to bed myself, I give her a banana to ward off hunger ...

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