Hunger and Thirst
Yesterday Bea slept so soundly that I did not even try to wake her for medicine. The sleep has made her ravenous. This morning she consumes two bananas, a bowl of yogurt, and some porridge, then orders, “Give these people a glass of milk.”
“Which people?” I ask.
“Beatrice,” she says.
I am reminded of how little children refer to themselves in the third person. Children drink milk, something Bea has never requested before.
“I’m balmy today,” she announces when I return later to check she hasn’t fallen out of bed again.
“You recognize me, though, don’t you? I’m Sandy, your daughter.”
Her smile indicates I have been recognized. Her skin appears smoother, more taut across the bony skull. Her eyelids do not seem as wrinkly. I remember how she used to tell me to get my "beauty" sleep. I guess "beauty" sleep works on elderly folk, too.
Every time I enter the room, Bea declares, “I’m hungry,” and I recite what she just ate. Usually she doesn’t remember.
I bring a glass of Ensure. She drinks it down without comment.
It has been a day of meals, alternating with naps. Funny, how my son just commented that his newborn’s major activities are eating and sleeping. My mother is not much different.
Now that I have changed Bea a last time and given her yet another mini-meal, I sit in the next room and wonder if she is going to let me sleep tonight. I am reminded of listening to my children’s baby noises from a hallway. I could hear them gurgling and cooing. Or, calling my name. Bea calls out, but not for me. I do not budge. I have already put her to bed. How much more readily one accepts the inconveniences of caring for a newborn!