“do yinz have a place cleared out where the bed will go?”
a phone call about the hospital bed, to be delivered sometime in the afternoon
he has to make other stops before ours.
But be grateful: at least there is space downstairs for her new bedroom
once out of eye sight of the nurses she rips off the hockey helmet that
protects her brain from spilling onto the linoleum floor.
her left eye squints under the weight of the sagging brain.
How much of it is still useful to her, no doctor will say
But be grateful: at least there is a brain to potentially spill
my dad tells me to try out the new lift: “where the tracks connect
they’ll be a little bump, like you’re on a roller coaster”
I laugh, but it feels out of place, riding on a machine that will enable my mother
to return home, into a new reality of disability.
But be grateful: at least she can help transfer from wheelchair to car to wheelchair to lift to wheelchair to couch to wheelchair to bed.
The lift will carry her to the kitchen, where she won’t cook, but sit, while my dad
moves between stove and sink. Lacking grace but still a beautiful dance.
Maybe she can press the button on the Keurig, feel a bit of ownership
as the bitter coffee slides down her throat.
But be grateful: at least she can drink liquids without choking
What will she feel the first time she enters the laundry room?
three months prior clutching the washing machine with her good hand
shaking and shivering, waiting for someone to find her
how many minutes ticked by while she sat, covered in vomit
But be grateful: at least only three hours of unaccounted time passed.
home care, hospital bed, stair lift, wheelchair, grab bar, no stairs, locked wheels
adult diapers, pads, latex gloves, physical therapy, speech therapy, medicine, helmet, no helmet, left hemisphere, blood clots, little movement in the right side, surgery, rehab, two-person transfer, now one-person transfer – the new reality
But be grateful: at least she is alive.