My eighty-nine year-old mother’s Parkinson’s is progressing. “My mind is great,” she said yesterday on my visit, “but the body…well, not so good.”
“It’s definitely more pronounced lately. Mostly, it’s her balance,” Rosalind, my favorite nurse on her skilled nursing floor at The Jewish Home, told me. “But, we are trying new things and adjusting her meds.”
Rosalind had come into Mom’s room to check on her and have a chat with me. She rubbed Mom’s arm. “We love her.”
“Even when she tries to get up by herself and presses the call button fifty times a day?” I laughed.
My mother reached for her lipstick and the mirror on her little table. “You dirty bird,” she said to me. “Don’t start in with that.”
The nurse gave me a wink and a knowing smile and left to tend to the resident across the hall.
As usual, Mom’s television was on in the background. Trump’s speech the day before at CIA Headquarters was being rebroadcast.
“So, Mom, how are you feeling about our new President?”
“It’s a shame that he blew all the people off who really cared about something.”
“You mean the Women’s March yesterday?” I asked.
She looked up from the mirror. “Yeah, he got ‘em all wound up, then didn’t listen to them.”
Mom went back to applying her lipstick with a shaky hand.
“How about Melania?”I asked.
“Too skinny. Great inaugural dress, but too skinny. And, Trump’s big on Nepotism. ‘Gotta have his tribe around.”
“I felt for Hillary to be there and watch this whole thing,” I said. “Must have been hard.”
“I know,” Mom replied. “She killed herself through the whole campaign. It’s a man’s world, though. Sorry about that but it is.”
“You saw yesterday’s marches,” I said. “Strength in numbers, Mom.”
“Maybe.” She paused. “I’m just fascinated with it all.”
“What’s your thought about that Kellyanne Conway?”
Mom looked up at the television. “Which one is she, again?”
“You know, Trump’s campaign manager. Now, Counselor to the President.”
“The gaudy blonde? Is she married?”
Just then, my eyes went to the balloon that was hovering near the ceiling. “Where’s that from?”
“Oh, we had a circus-theme party yesterday.”
“Really? Did you have fun?”
“I had a ball even though I was stuck in this wheelchair and couldn’t dance, but I tapped my feet to the music. They closed with Hava Nagila in a circle. I loved that.”
“If only I could dance again,” she sighed, trying to cap her lipstick. Then, added: “You just learn to do something else.”
“Do you miss the booze? I mean, Mom, you loved parties with the wine.”
“Not really. It’s a waste of time now. I’ve got this new thing – pink lemonade. I drank that with the potato chips and the colored M&M’s at the party.”
I sat looking at her, waiting for more that I knew was coming.
She finally got the cap on the lipstick. “Make lemonade out of a lemon. That’s what I say.”
We looked back at President Trump on the TV.
“There’s no grey area with that one,” Mom said. “He’ll either sink or swim.”