What can I say? We brought our A game. The A team. A gorgeous post Irene day. But mom hunkered down in her misery, no matter what we did. She wore two fleece vests and an enormous sweater and her hat. Even though she had asked to go to the doctor again - "I don't think I can bear the pain any more. Why go on?" She cycled and cycled through: "Why didn't you tell me we were doing this? Why do we have to take the bus. Why didn't you let me know?"
We tried to stay cheerful. We sang "Octopus's Garden." We explained and explained. And explained again.
mom, over and over on the bus: "I will never, ever trust you again. What kind of daughter would DO this to her mother?" - we explained to the other people on the bus that we were indeed legit, there was no kidnapping going on, as mom can be LOUD.
me: "You are absolutely safe, mom. I promise. You asked to go to the doctor and this is how we go."
mom: "Well I hope you're enjoying yourself. You should know BOTH of my legs feel WORSE now than before. Thank you very much."
me: "under the sea... in an octopus's..."
mom: "I guess you think this is funny?"
me: "No mom, but look what a beautiful day it is?"
mom: "It's going too fast, the bus is going too fast."
me: "you are absolutely safe, I'm right here. There's nothing to be afraid of."
mom: "I'm not afraid. I'm TERRIFIED."
We make it to the doctor. Dr. D is clever with her. Distracts her by asking about her poems.
mom: "Well I'm working on a new book called "Mothers and Mums"
Dr. D: What's the difference between a mother and a mum?
mom: "Well a mother is kind of stolid and a mum is probably more whimsical." (she still has an impressive vocabulary)
Dr. D: "which are you?"
mom: "well, I guess I'm a little of both."
Dr. D asks her how she feels about how her daughter is taking care of her.
mom: "Well, sometimes she forgets to tell me things, but she is A number one. We laugh a lot." (Dr. Devi says to me: "I just wanted you to hear that in case you didn't know." I tell her I know on that molecular level, but it's so interesting to hear mom flicker between performances.
On the way out the tears start again, and she swipes most of Dr. D's expensive chocolates before we can stop her. She has promised the woman at the desk some poems, so we take her card with us. That's a good sign... We try to get her interested in the beautiful day again, we stroll up Madison Ave. for a few blocks to put off the inevitable drama of the bus. She whimpers and yells at every crossing, every ramp, every tiny bump. Flailing her arms out no matter how slow we go, no matter how carefully we maneuver the cracks in the sidewalk.
"Where are you taking me? Why are you doing this to me?"
Poor thing. Those big tears kill me. I know, she really is terrified.
We get home and she won't eat anything until we give her ice cream. She tears up the card from the office. I guess Madelyn won't be getting any poems any time soon.
A half hour later she calls. She is feeling guilty I know, about how awful she was:
mom: "I think I didn't behave very well through that ordeal, and I just wanted you to know I was tired."
me: "That's ok mom. I understand. All we can do is keep on keeping on, right?
mom: "Yeah, that's what my mother used to say. "