While the nursing assistants came to replace Peggy’s bed, I talked to her treatment nurse in the hallway. When Peggy came to the facility about two weeks ago, she had bedsores on her heel and lower back. In Peggy’s room, her nurse replaced her bandages, pointing to wounds on her heel that did not sound too bad, but just above her tail, on her back, a dinner-sized yellow, It was yellow and raw. “She’s gotten a lot better,” the nurse said, her finger tracing a circle into the air, which was about a third larger than I could see.
Both Bedores and Pulmonary embolims can be caused by being in the same position for too long. No one accused her previous nursing home of neglect, but they made it clear that when she arrived, they were already there. They had developed in the first four months of Kovid bandh when my sister, her primary advocate, was not allowed to go.
Her straps were changed and her sheets fresh, Peggy was turned to her side. Her eyes were calm and as she woke up to sleep, I could see that she knew who I was.
While she slept, I scrutinized her room to find out what the remnants of her inquisitive life were. Her photo album was sticky, her pages crumbling with age. I knew many of those pictures. There she was as a bridesmaid, tall and deeply tanned, her blue eyes shining, holding our father’s hand, who did not live long after taking that picture. We were five sisters and we once had Peggy, who was 10 years older than me, photographed as a surrogate mother in my high school graduation. There was a picture of the lover, who followed him to the ends of the earth, but which he was not able to do. We have pictures of nieces and nephews, leafy thongs and swimming pools and Peggy on her skis from our home in New Jersey.
They belonged to a life that none of us live and they ended up around 2005, when my mother sold her house and left her life for the first time in her life, leaving without a place, Peggy. Assistants went to life. Her bipolar illness, which she struggled to manage, began to fade away from the life she had built for herself before completing Alzheimer’s work.