Saturday, June 18, 2011

As Time Goes By...

Sometime after my mother passed away, I went searching for Emily Dinett. I called her "tete" which she said meant "little Aunt" in her Louisiana French.

I discovered that she no longer lived at the address in my mom's phone book nor was the phone number valid. There was no contact information in the records that the service rep was viewing but I was fortunate to work for the phone company at the time and knew how to be persistant and ask the right questions to the right people to discover where she was.

It turned out that the people whose child she used to care for had found her laying on the floor of her kitchen after having a stroke 2 days earlier. They had sold her stuff and put her in a nursing home. I felt by the woman's voice that she was quite concerned that a relative had found her (Tete supposedly didn't have any relatives and never had any children except me, her adopted nephew).

I didn't care about what had happened to Tete's house or stuff. I just wanted to know where she was. My partner Jerry helped me with directions and calling the Nursing Home many times as they lead us in what seemed like many a dead end.

We finally got there and went inside. It was the first facility I had ever been in and I suspect it was not one of the better ones. The smell of urine was everywhere and the patients seems so dejected and the staff so uncaring.

I walked to Tete's room with much trepidation. I turned the corner and there she was, smaller than I remember but still the same lady that had helped raise me.

"Tete?" I said. She turned a worn and tired face and searched my grown features. "It's Van, Tete.". "Ohhhh, Vannnnnnn!" she said in that wonderful Grand Isle drawl of hers as her face lit up.

The years slipped away as she showed how her left side was mostly paralyzed and how they had found her days after the stroke, still laying on the floor of her kitchen. We talked of so many things and I tried real hard to keep a smile on my face but inside, I was so very sad.

I wondered if this would someday be my fate. Sick, alone, forgotten. Waiting to die in some urine scented room whose staff worried more about the latest scandall in Hollywood instead of their patients needs.

We told Jerry about the many things I had done (many I had forgotten) as I was growing up in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. It was a very good visit and even though she could not read, I said I would write to her and someone could read it. She looked around as if to imply no one would.

I couldn't get to the car fast enough and I broke down and cried my heart out. For forgetting this wonderful lady, for feeling so helpless at her plight, and for knowing she was so far away that my own problems would quickly encroach upon my time when I returned home.

So when I woke this morning and found my blind pussy cat sitting in a puddle of her own urine, I could hardly do anything but help her as best I could. Though my own feet and back hurt quite a bit in the morning, I took her to the sink, rinsed her off, shampooed her and took her outside like she loves so much.

To her, nothing was wrong. She seemed unaware of wetting herself and though she didn't like the partial bath, it wasn't so bad and a lot better than waking up fully later to realize that she had to clean herself!

The pillow is in the washer though it's probably going to the trash. Her pillow has a special pillow case for accidents but she doesn't like the crinkly sound or maybe she just likes to sleep by me on my pillow. I don't always have the heart to tell her no.

And so, when I think back, I tell Tete I hope she passed on quietly in her sleep like she always wanted. I'm sorry I never visited again or wrote, time flew by so fast. I still have her gumbo recipe that mom wrote down three times (and each time is different) and I wish I knew how to make her shrimp balls and roasted 'coon (that's Racoon for you city folks).

And for my blind little pussy, I pray I am there to see her pass on too so I can be sure she got the best care she could get. That's always from the one's that love you the most! If not, I pray somebody loves her enough to care for her properly or put her down gently...

1 comment:

  1. That was great reading, Van ! We have alot of the same feelings & sentiments ! Maybe you & I will somehow care for each other when we're older... Although as lively as I see you, it would tear me up to see you needing help in times like that ! One of my favourite quotes : You are my friend; I have been and always will be yours ! - Mark ( Harris )