Peg's Jewels

In the midst of it all, Peg never lost her keen wit and sense of satire. Here are some of the droll remarks this wonderful woman made in the past two years as I recorded them while at The Arbors:

At meals, she has a penchant for gradually tearing her paper place mat; she does it often, gradually, quietly. Today I asked her why she did it. "So I won't have to do it next time," she answered.

Peg has developed the unpleasant habit, especially at mealtime, of wiping her nose, or even blowing it, on her shirt or sweater. I always hand her a paper napkin, and sometimes she switches, sometimes she doesn't. One night, two of our favorite nurse's aids were toileting Peg and putting her to bed, when I heard them break out in good-humored laughter. Come to find out, she had been blowing her nose on one of the aids' jackets.

After we got out the door toward the dining room for lunch, I noticed that while I closed the door she had kicked off her light blue slipper. "Now it's a bother to put it on you again," I said, kneeling before her to do it. "Next time it will be easier," she told me.

Some weeks ago when she was having a time of quite a bit of upsetment, we called the bell for a nurse's aid to help her get from her chair to the toilet .She often reacts negatively to nurse's aids that she hasn't seen before. So, this time, knowing she was upset anyway, in came not only a new nurse's aid, but this was a male, a great big black guy;. I thought it might upset her, since he was somewhat imposing. She looked up at him and proclaimed: "My, are you handsome!"

I bought Peg an apron because sometimes food drops into her lap. Robin was here at lunch the other day, sitting at the table opposite Peg. I remarked about the apron and said that it was sufficiently long to do the job. Peg said, "It reaches to Robin's lap."

One day at breakfast we were given the pre-mixed scrambled eggs, which we both hate. Incidentally, they now scramble our eggs from fresh eggs as a special concession. They are so nice about such things. Anyway, Peg took one bite of the old scrambled egg preparation and remarked, "This tastes like something someone left on the side of the road."

Before supper, as usual, the aids got Peg from her recliner into her wheel chair. She does this mostly by herself, though with difficulty. After she did it tonight, the aids as usual said, "Good job!" That expression is used a hundred times a day around here. Peg responded, "Do I get paid for it?"

Somewhat upset, Peg was being helped from her wheel chair into her recliner. The aids had to persuade her patiently to do it, and she finally agreed with a hint of reluctance. In order to do it, they had to move the wheel chair a few inches and for this they asked her to lift her feet off the floor. She replied, "That was not in the bargain."

After giving Peg a big hug and kiss, our daughter Robin remarked, "You have a cold nose." "No," was the reply, "it was just dripping.."

The aids helped Peg from her recliner into her wheel chair. "We helped you, but you did it," said one of the aids. "Well," Peg said, "at least I did most of the grunting."

Peg hates to need help in going to the toilet. One of the aids tried to talk her into it, pointing out that she was a good friend and would take her to the bathroom. Peg responded, "That's friends?"

Another day, two of them were helping her in the bathroom, and one said, "Now we're going to wash your bottom." Peg said, "Isn't it cute?"

Just as I coughed one morning at the table, someone slammed a door. Peg said, "You sure blew that door shut!"

At breakfast today there was a new young man serving up the dishes. He had sort of a chiseled haircut, and Peg asked him where he got the haircut. "My friend did it," he said. As he walked away, Peg said to me sotto voce: "That was no friend!"

At breakfast the morning of her eye surgery, I told her the surgeon didn't want the usual cream in her coffee. She doesn't like it black, so I reassured her that I always drink my coffee black. She replied, "Maybe that's why your ears flap up and down when you drink it."

In the nearby dining room there was a loud noise. I said "It sounds like an elephant blowing its nose." She said, "It's lucky it didn't blow you away."

One of the male residents is nearly bald, and his head is shiny. Peg said, "That man asked the barber for a close haircut and then fell asleep in the chair."

After helping Peg get into bed, the aid said, "Sleep tight; don't let the bedbugs bite." Peg's answer floored her: "I already ate them!"

With the new cook, the breakfast buns are good, but somewhat sticky on the outside, rather than crisp, as they were formerly. Peg took hold of one and said, "This feels like a wet kitten."

As we sat in the lounge, the man across from us was zonked out with his mouth wide open. Peg said, "Do me a favor and go over and close his mouth." I mumbled something, and she replied, "He's making a draft in here." I said, "Shall I get you your scarf?" "No," she said, "I didn't want you to stuff anything in his mouth -- just to close it."

It is somewhat painful for Peg to get from a sitting position on her bed into a prone position on her back, for the night. She sometimes gives out an OUWW! This night, she was helped, with some apprehension, by a new nurse's aid, a 200 pounder, as it happens. As she helped Peg lie down, Peg did not give out an OUWW! Instead, she astonished the nurse's aid with: "You have the cutest dimples!"

We were to go to Concord again, this time to have her eyes measured for glasses and to order them. Peg insisted to a nurse's aid that she didn't need glasses. After a brief interchange, Peg said, "All of a sudden, somebody put his head up out of the ground and said: "Glasses for Margaret!"

"She has five children," I said of the nurse's aid who had just served us at table. Peg's response: "Doesn't she know where children come from?"

I was talking religion with the Orthodox Jewish son of a resident here, and in the middle of the conversation, to tell him where I stand, I said, "I am an agnostic." Peg looked at me quizzically and said, "Obnoxious?"

After the evening meal we went into the large living room and gradually the residents were wheeled in or walked in. They sat down quietly, and soon most of them were asleep in their chairs. Peg turned to me and said, "It's raucous!"

Later, at Fairview Nursing Home:

The psychiatrist (to us, " the Doctor") asked Peg how she was feeling. Was she feeling periods of anxiety or anger? "No," said Peg, "but you put some ideas in my head."

I told the nurse's aid I didn't ever know why my mother named me Roland. "He just came rollin' in," Peg explained.

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