After spending the day visiting my mom at the nursing home, one of my 20-something sons asked me, "Was Nana always so mean?"
I thought carefully before answering and decided to ask him to explain.
He said that while he was pushing my mom in the wheelchair, she kept yelling, "Faster, faster," to lose a 90-something neighbor named Nadine who was gaining speed while pushing her own wheelchair.
In all fairness, Mom had tried on several occasions to be friendly to Nadine and though Nadine never had trouble recognizing the other patients on her floor, for some reason she couldn't seem to remember who my mom was and couldn't hear anything she said.
A few weeks later, my brother came to visit Mom after dinner and there was no sign of her. He asked the nurses and combed the floor, but it was as if she had vanished without a trace. He was particularly concerned, because it was BINGO night and she had been on a roll winning two dollars in two weeks.
After my brother turned down several nonagenarians' invitations to see their etchings, our mom finally appeared outside her room. He hugged her in relief, as she explained her whereabouts.
Using her super hearing powers and ability to read the room, my mom sensed trouble in the dining room after dinner. Apparently a patient had asked a nurse's aid for a banana and her request was not met. Though Mom had never met the patient, she could not sit back and allow her to be ignored.
She remembered that she had an emergency banana in her room, and sought out to find the woman.
On her journey, Mom never let her one good foot and minimal upper body strength deter her from fulfilling this stranger's dream as she inched down the hallway.
Eventually, a nurse helped guide her over to the patient's room. By this time she had forgotten all about the banana and asked my mom to leave.
On her way back, my mom realized that she had created quite a stir and all of the nurses had been talking about her. Mom took it in stride and held her head high.
When she returned to her room and found my brother in tears, she realized that she didn't have an emergency banana after all.
Later when my brother relayed the story, I told Mom that the patient might have been on a low potassium diet which either restricted bananas or limited them.
"But what if she was having a leg cramp? The potassium in bananas helps with leg cramps. I couldn't just sit back and let her suffer."
My mom's now known as the Florence Nightingale of the 7th floor. Well, only a few people know about it, as most of them can't hear.