She looked baffled, processing what was asked of her, again pausing a while before answering with her usual uncertainty.
“Can I get you anything?” I repeated.
Her eyes widened in formulating another response; again, her body shook involuntarily; her lips quivered, but still no answer.
“Mrs. Dewey, how about a cup of hot chocolate?”
She hesitated, responding with a smile.
“Good, I will be right back! Don’t go anywhere!”
I teased, trying to lighten the moment returning a few minutes later with the hot chocolate.
“Here, Mrs. Dewey, it’s hot!”
She takes the cup gingerly from my hand.
“Thank you… your kind!”
Mrs. Dewey mumbled. Coherency was few and far between, and reality became her rarity.
“You’re most welcome, ma’am!”
Suddenly feeling exhausted, I was through with exchanging pleasantries, but I couldn’t leave her, not just yet. So I remained seated next to her bed, quietly, drinking my hot beverage. The air was filled with anticipation as if waiting for someone or something in the echoing of our silence. It was awkward, but I couldn’t leave her, not yet. Occasionally, I’d look across at the clock on the wall, which was a mere diversion.
Once more, her gaze had become a laser beam. As she zoned in on me, she waited, but my mind reeled with many scenarios. What was I to say—“what could I say to soften the terrible blow life dealt her? What was I to say?!”
The nature of her illness had placed her in an erratic state of forgetfulness, mingled with confusion. There were moments of coherence. However, they were as fleeting as the seconds of the clock on her wall.
Her slurping now sounded as loud as tennis balls bouncing against a wall. I was conscious of the deafening silence permeating the air by the lack of communication. I was unable to do anything else other than merely sit. It was crippling and overwhelming. As if going through some emotional whiplash, my mood became erratic. Being aware that she was expecting more from me than just be seated looking at her, I tried keeping my voice measured, asked;
“Are you sure there isn’t something else I could get or do for you, Mrs. Dewey? Shortly, I will be leaving for home! We’re now changing shifts, and it will be a while before someone comes to you, only if it’s not an emergency. Therefore, if there’s anything you need, please, let me know now!” (Concludes tomorrow.)