Recently I took Aunt and Uncle to a doctor’s appointment. Before they could get both walkers in the door, Aunt shouts to no one in particular, Where’s my chairs? I hate these new chairs.
Her beloved comfortable seats had been replaced by dinette ones.
We get settled and I go up to the frosted window to get the paperwork. Aunt now directs her ire to the medical administrative assistant, These chairs are ugly. I want my old chairs.
I return the paperwork to the window and Aunt again shouts, All lies. And you can keep that insurance card. Not worth two hoots in hell.
Administrative Assistant slams the window shut and the show Girlfriends on the CW station, a comedy about three black women in LA, provides a temporary distraction.
After an inordinate amount of time--an amount which we Americans have been told only happens in countries with socialized health care--we are called into the inner office. Aunt immediately presents the doctor with a list of meds that she requires.
Oh yeah, my aunt hordes meds. Recently she took her stash to the hospital and hid them under her blanket, insisting she needed her own sleeping pills and the 4 Tylenol PM to get to some rest.
Once the dealer, I mean, doctor is finished examining her, we exit through the waiting area and Aunt notices the Bernie Mac show is now on the CW. What the hell is this? she remarks. There was another black show on when we came in here. Is that all they show anymore?
And yes, there was a black woman sitting behind my aunt in the waiting room. She did not have a window to slam shut.
Afterwards, we did what all seniors do after their doctor's visit--we went to Applebees.
When our food is served aunt requests two take out boxes and makes Uncle scoop up half his meal for dinner tomorrow. I'd like to request an ice pack for my head.
It takes us about as much time to eat as we waited for the doctor and I am thankful it is only half the meal. We ask for the check and Aunt orders Uncle to go to the bathroom.
He shuffles away and she yells, And pull up those pants for Chrissakes. Your Depends are showing.
At this point I hide behind my own version of a frosted window --the dessert menu.
But I know we are almost out of there. What else can she say?
A lot. The last time we were here, she continues, you came out of the bathroom with you pants around your ankles.
Yes, people, I tell you she’s crazy. But the worst is over. We're heading home.
By way of explanation, she tells Waitress that her husband has Alzheimer’s.
And is Incontinent.
And used to have Chronic Diarrhea.
And could never make it home without a Mess.
In the Restaurant.
Or the Car.
Now here’s my question: How much do you tip a waitress who’s just been forced to listen to info about your uncle’s bowel movements?
I dearly love my aunt. And I love her no BS attitude. But by now my head is aching.
We take the freeway home, and aunt is still as good of a backseat driver as she ever was.
We get stuck in a traffic jam and aunt doesn’t hold back cursing out the drivers who dare to pass in the shoulder. Afterwards, she begins cursing the TV networks for taking all her shows off the air. Next she begins cursing the healthcare system, and then all at once she realizes she forgot to ask the doctor something.
Damn it, she says. A few days ago. I was in bed 46 out of 48 hours. I meant to ask the doctor if I should be mixing my sleeping pills with my Vicodin.
By this point my head is pounding.
But I think Aunt may be able to help me out.
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