Tuesday, March 6, 2018

IWSG: Is Mom Turning into Florence Nightingale?


It's time for another edition of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Be sure to visit Alex J. Cavanaugh and the rest of the talented writers who are always willing to lend a helping hand.


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.


  1. That's sweet how your mom tried to help another resident. And great how much you help her. My mom is moving here next month, and I can't wait to get through with the moving process.

  2. Good thing it wasn't Natalie who wanted the banana. She definitely would've gone without.

  3. Glad your mom turned up in the end. By the way, it's Nightingale. Funny story really especially as the other woman had forgotten all about the banana.

  4. Aww, more proof your mom is the best. I love her yelling faster, faster LOL.
    Wonderful picture too!

  5. I love this story. Thanks for sharing. Sounds like your mom is an amazing woman.

  6. The important takeaway lesson here is to always have an emergency banana in your room.

  7. And another lesson to to accept who people are, embrace it, actually. It's what makes the world interesting.

  8. Great story, kiddo, with some great lines. I laughed out loud about the nonagenarians inviting your son in to see their etchings. :)

  9. Natalie - Thanks and I'm lucky that my brother has been helping so much. Good luck with your mom!

    Alex - That's right! My mom is very selective of who she offers her imaginary emergency bananas too. Thanks for hosting another wonderful IWSG, Alex!

    Jo - Thanks for catching the typo! My eyes aren't what they used to be. I couldn't stop laughing when my brother told me, so I had to share the story with you. Thanks again and good to see you, Jo!

    Julie - I'll tell my mom you liked the photo, as she never thinks she photographs well. Thanks for always cheering my mom on, Julie!


  10. ML - My mom is an amazing woman! Thank you so much, ML!

    Debra - I'm so glad you realize that all of my silly stories have important lessons! Thank you, Debra!

    Joanne - Yes, we must embrace everyone as we all have something unique to offer. Well said Joanne!

    Susan - Glad you noticed that line! The nurses, staff and patients all love my brother and think I'm some out of town relative. Thanks Susan, and you made my day yesterday!


  11. Funny that you started out asking why she is so mean, when in reality she is so sweet. It's hard to watch our parents like this.

    1. Hi Rhonda - The many faces of Mom! Yes, it is hard seeing my mom in a wheelchair making it difficult for her to do so many things. We're very lucky that she has such a wonderful sense of humor. Thanks Rhonda!


  12. Hi Julie - I can see all of this ... your Ma is amazing ... and life is just like that ... I've seen them try to outdo each other. Brilliant about the banana - and I know a helpful thought could so easily be a dietary dilemma ... been there, done that - she looks good your Ma - take care and write these up - cheers Hilary

  13. Your mom sounds like an amazing woman, and this is great storytelling on your part. I love the wheelchair race.

  14. Your mom sounds kind to me.

  15. Oh my! So funny. The best part was that the woman had forgotten all about wanting a banana. Sounds like your mom is a sweetheart for caring about a fellow resident even if she did cause a scare with her temporary absence.

  16. It's always difficult watching loved ones deal with age. Sometimes, it's funny. Other times, heartbreaking. Enjoy your mom as long as you can.

  17. Hi Hilary! Yes, a helpful thought could turn into a dietary dilemma. Wise words from a wise woman and I know you've been through it all with your mom. Thanks so much, Hilary!

    E.M.A. - I agree that my mom is amazing! Thank you, E.M.A.!

    Liza - Yes, this was an act of kindness. She's a wonderful person with a great sense of humor! Thank you, Liza!

    Connie - Never a dull moment with my mom! I thought it was funny too that the resident forgot all about it, and most of them are too tired to socialize after dinner. Thanks Connie!

    Diane - There are many heartbreaking moments, and that's why we have to try to laugh about them. Thanks Diane!


  18. It is, indeed, difficult to watch our parents deal with the aging process...I am going through this currently.

  19. Hi Keith - Yes, it is difficult. That's why we try to laugh as often as possible. I'm sorry that you're also going through a rough time with your parents and wish them well. Thanks Keith!


  20. Hey, GEM JULIE, here I am, only 11 days late (my tardiness goes "up to eleven"), but still in time to wish you a 'Happy Irish Whiskey Day'! (aka 'Saint Patrick's Day' by the teetotalers).

    Funny stuffs about your Mom, as always. Thanks for the laughs!!

    Two dollars in two weeks by playing Bingo?! Hokey-Smoke! Let's hope the I.R.S. doesn't get wind of this!

    You know, that's sharp on your Mom's part to always keep an Emergency Banana on hand (even if she doesn't actually have one on hand). Me, I always carry an Emergency Light Bulb with me (60 watts). But I think I'm going to start carrying an Emergency Banana, also. One can't be too careful, right? And as an old Boy Scout, I am determined to "be prepared".

    I hope you're doing well, Julie, and that positive attitude is still winning the days!

    ~ D-FensDogG
    STMcC Presents 'Battle Of The Bands'