Thursday, September 1, 2011

George & Gracie

The nurse leaned over my mother as she sat in the recovery area after outpatient surgery. She was adjusting the pulse oximeter on her finger to see if she was getting an accurate reading of Mom's oxygen saturation. My father hovered nearby.

"I have one of those at home so I can check her stats. I usually like to see her in the mid- to high- 90's. She uses oxygen just at night."

He pats Mom's hand. "She's put up with me for 62 years now. We have six kids." Mom smiles at him; her inscrutable, Mona Lisa smile.

She leans back and closes her eyes. Kim, the nurse, says, "Wow! That's impressive. You must be doing something right. Do you use oxygen yourself?"

"No, I only put it on her at night. She's fine during the day."

Kim gives me a quizzical look.

"Dad. She wants to know if YOU use oxygen."

"Oh! No; I don't need it. I have a concentrator at home for her and I keep a pretty good eye on her. I check her and if it gets below 92-93%, I put it on her for a while."

Mom opens her eyes. "Laura? " Kim asks, "How are you feeling now?"

"Pretty good, pretty good." She looks over at Dad. "Did you know we've been together for 62 years? I've had six children."

Kim smiles.

The one that can hear, can't remember. The one that remembers, can't hear. At times it's like a Vaudeville routine and at other times, it just makes me cry.

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