Sally continues to heal from her surgery—almost three weeks now. She lays in bed moaning when I come in her door. I sit on the covered potty chair across from her bed and listen as she tells me about her aches and pains, how long she waited at the doctor's office yesterday, and why the pharmacy wouldn't give her any more pain pills.
She told the Relief Society all she wanted to eat after surgery was fruits and vegetables—to lose some weight. The first two weeks out of the hospital her appetite wasn't very good, but she really enjoyed her fruits and vegetables. However, today she is hungry.
"I needs some real food. I ain't got nothin' to eat."
"But you have what you wanted," I say.
"I changed my mind."
"I wants a polish sausage in a hot dog bun with some cold slaw."
Oh, my goodness, I'm thinking. I have to go to the store to buy this, and what if I don't get the right kind? So I begin to quiz her on exactly what I should buy.
"Don't worry," she says, "I'm going with you."
"What?" I say.
"I needs to get out of the house."
I start to argue with her, but realize it will do no good so I go with her program. She's been to the doctor twice and has been fine. I can take her out of the house.
Off we go to Kroger with Sally in a long flowing purple-flowered house coat, her pink slippers, and her walker. I try to drop her off at the entrance to the store, but she's having none of that. She is going to walk.
We are greeted at the entrance of the store by an armed guard. (This isn't the best section of town.) Walker in hand, Sally motors past the security man toward the back of the store—purple robe flowing behind her. I run to keep up with her. She's a woman on a mission.
We get her groceries and head for home, but she's not finished with this outing. There's more. She wants Captain J J's special meal deal with fry sauce. (I'm buying.) We have to take a detour to get the food because of road construction.
When we finally reach home, she's laughing and happy. She piles herself back into the nest of pillows on her bed, props her fish dinner at her side, turns on her soap operas, and tells me she'll see me tomorrow with the "young Elders." They need to disinfect her shower chair and give her a blessing.
I realize I'm the therapist, nurse, personal shopper, lunch companion, and entertainment committee. This larger-than-life lady needs a larger-than-life companion. Can I fill the bill?
Jury's still out on that question.