Tom Foolery Tuesday: The Patient

My mother in law is quite a character. If I weren’t trying to be somewhat mindful of the content on my blog, she would be a regular feature on Tom Foolery Tuesday. I love her to death for never changing who she is for anyone, and for providing some laughs in the meantime.

As a Diabetic who can chug an entire case of cola in a day, she spends a good amount of time in the hospital. The doctors and nurses all know her well. I am sure part of this is due to her tendency to be somewhat of a hell raiser. She is very opinionated and has no problem with expressing herself openly. I don’t think any other patient can so easily be discharged from the hospital days ahead of schedule just by wearing down the staff.

She was even arguing with a nurse when I went to pick her up the last time. When I walked into her room, she eyed my large purse with excitement in her eyes and gave me a wink. I already knew what that meant. She opened the bottom drawer of the nightstand next to the bed after the nurse left the room, and began pulling out random items: a stack of washcloths, travel kits full of hospital-issued toiletries, several pairs of slipper-socks, and about 15 packets of jelly. “Put this in your purse’” she commanded, then headed into the bathroom armed with a clear plastic bag that the hospital provided for her dirty clothes. I heard what sounded like bottles falling on the floor and before I could wonder what all the noise was, she hurried out of the bathroom with her clear bag filled with a box of latex gloves, disinfectant foam, and boxes of tissue. She then went to the doorway and did a quick surveillance. Rushing back into the room, she opened the top drawer of the night stand and pulled out two vases. I started to ask where she got them from, but thought better of it and just shook my head. The less I knew, the better. I didn’t want to be considered an accomplice. She wrapped the vases up in white towels and stuffed them into her bag.

I was sure that someone would stop us on the way out when they witnessed Hot Nana taking enough supplies to perform surgery in her apartment, but no one did. It was fairly obvious that everyone was trying hard NOT to notice her. I guess she was just one of those patients you didn’t want to confront unless you absolutely had to.

We shuffled along down the hall with bags and I avoided making eye contact with anyone on the way out. When we got into the car, she reached into her purse and pulled out a stack of packages of honey graham crackers and a handful of tubes of portable peanut butter. “Give these to the kids’” she said, dumping them on the console between the front seats. “And these are for you” she said removing a white Styrofoam bowl of grapes from another bag and placing it on top of the cup holder. I guessed they were safe to eat because the bowl was still cold. I pulled off the plastic wrap and popped a few into my mouth, then pulled out of the lot.

As we got closer to her apartment, she informed me that she could not go home without her “fix”. I exhaled loudly and shook my head, knowing full well that her fix was going to be something that was detrimental to her health. Of course, fried chicken and plain potato chips would be what she wanted. And cola. I was driving pulling into the driveway of her building when I glanced over at her. She was gazing out of the window with a serene look, a slight smile fixed on her lips. Something tells me that if they were to serve fried chicken at the hospital, my mother in law would be a much more agreeable patient.

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