Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Chocolate Orgy

Jane is a robust woman whose eyes sparkle with intelligence when she describes how much she loves her job. Nursing is obviously a vocation. We are lucky Jane is Bea’s hospice nurse. She comes once a week.

Today I relate my morning conversation with Bea’s doctor who heard about our nightly visitors and wanted to prescribe an anti-psychotic. The word “anti-psychotic” is hardly out of my mouth when Jane shudders and casts a glance over to the side, eyebrows raised, so I quickly add that I asked if we could try a sleeping pill instead. I see her shoulders relax. These hospice people are really proprietary when it comes to their patients.

“I’ll order some straight away,” Jane says, a model of efficiency. “So, how about we pay Bea a little visit?”

It is pouring rain outside. In the darkened room, Bea sleeps with her mouth wide open. All that partying two nights ago has really taken its toll.

Jane gives Bea's shoulder a little shake. “Good morning,” she says in a cheery voice. “You hungry?”

“Hungry,” Bea mutters, half asleep.

“I’ll just take her blood pressure,” Jane tells me as I rush off to the kitchen for a banana.

I get back just in time to hear Bea exclaim, “Get your cold hands off of me!”

“You are a pistol!” Jane tells her with a warm laugh.

Standing on either side of the bed, we watch Bea consume the banana, eyes closed. It occurs to me that Bea has an appetite, so I go fetch chocolate pudding, biscotti, and some Ensure. She has a chocolate orgy.

“Mmmm...” Bea says.

“I’ve never seen anyone appreciate food that way,” Jane comments. “My, you do relish it, don't you!”

"Mmmm..."

I am busy spooning the pudding into the open mouth of my little bird.

“Mmmm! More! Mmmm!”

When the pudding is all gone, I sneak in the straw for a bit of Ensure. Bea grimaces.

“She doesn’t like that as much, does she?” Jane comments wryly. “Some people spike it with Bailey’s. Tastes less chalky that way.”

“You still hungry?” I ask and break off a bit of biscotti, which I deposit in Bea’s mouth.

Jane stays with Bea while she finishes the biscotti.

“Drink this,” she orders. “I want to make sure there’s no more cookie in your mouth.”

Bea sticks her tongue way out.

The two of us leave her in peace to sleep it off.

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