Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Can You See Me Now?

This is a big week for my grandmother.  Thursday night is the annual "Widows Banquet" at her church.  I did not make up this name - they really do call it the "Widow's Banquet."  Each deacon at the First Baptist Church is responsible for the care and nurture of assigned widows.  My grandmother's deacon is wonderful... and he does many very nice things for Mam-ma.  This banquet is always a HUGE deal - as much as the prom is important to any teenager.  We moved Mam-ma's hair appointment to early Thursday, so that her hair will look nice, and she will have plenty of time to rest and dress.  Usually her deacon brings her a corsage, and she wears her nicest outfit.  The church social hall is decorated, the meal is always "delicious," and there is generally live entertainment - usually a musical group.  Mam-ma talks about it for weeks before and afterward.

So Monday, as I sat down to eat a late lunch and visit with my husband and mother-in-law, the phone rang.  Mam-ma wanted to know some details about her funeral.  I explained that everything was taken care of - I had personally spoken to two owners of the funeral home, and all would be handled to her satisfaction.  Then she said, "Well... I want His Eye is on the Sparrow and Beulah Land" (meaning she wants these songs sung at her funeral).  I wrote it down.  I told her I had heard from my mom that she wanted a certain church member to sing Beulah Land after it was sung at another funeral recently.  She said it didn't matter who sang it... and I pointed out she had previously told me she wanted a men's group to sing, and she retorted, "Why, they can't sing Beulah Land!"  I laughed and made notes.  I also asked about the hymns she had told me several months ago she wanted sung.  Now she wants His Eye Is On the Sparrow and Beulah Land.  I told her this was fine - and I would note that today she wants these songs. 

Then I asked, "Are you planning on kicking off any time soon?"  "No," she laughed, "but when you sit here by yourself all alone and think about things, you get to thinking about this."  Later my mom pointed out she doesn't plan to die before the banquet!  Anyway, I tried to console her and reassure her that we would carry out her wishes.

That evening, Mam-ma phoned again.  "Debbie," she said.  "I just sat on my glasses and broke them all to pieces!"  We talked about what she could do - didn't she have another pair that was very similar and close to the same age?  Yes, but she couldn't see out of them (I didn't understand this) and they were "great big."  No, that must be another pair, I told her, but she insisted.  I told her I wasn't sure when I could get there to help her... I was expecting to have the baby the next day and Greg had afternoon appointments.  She said, "Well, that's okay... but I need to be able to see for the banquet."  I pointed out that there would be no way to get new glasses by Thursday.  Maybe these could be repaired.

So Tuesday morning, I called the eye clinic and asked if we coudl come in and see about the glasses.  I dashed to Mam-ma's and collected her.  She was wrapping her glasses in a handkerchief - mangled wire frames with both lenses out - but not broken.  I hoped the girl could repair them.  She thought she could, but there was a piece broken that required a special solder, so we were unable to repair the old set.  New frames were ordered - they will be ready in two weeks!  Mam-ma said, "I can't see out of these others."  The girl checked, and they were misaligned, and she was seeing the bifocal at the same time as the other part, so hopefully that is better now.

We had quite a discussion about whether Medicaid would pay for the glasses.  At first the receptionist said that Medicaid would pay... but when I questioned this, based on past experience, she investigated, and Mam-ma has some sort of "QMB" Medicaid that doesn't cover glasses, apparently... at least not very frequently.  So we will pay $119 - and maybe that is "our" portion for Medicaid - for new frames.  As we left, Mam-ma told the receptionist, "Now I do have Medicaid."  She replied, "Yes ma'am, I know." Under my breath, I told her, "The less Mam-ma knows about how much this is costing, the better."  The woman answered... "I gathered that!"  On the way home, Mam-ma asked, "How much are these glasses gonna cost me?"  I told her around $100 - and that she can afford it.  She always tells me how "broke" she is!

I took Mam-ma home to rest... she had washed her windows yesterday (inside), and she was exhausted. Hopefully she will feel good for Thursday. I got home before Timothy arrived... now he is giving us a workout! Timothy was 11 months old yesterday. My mother reminded me that I was his age when my sister was born! Hmm... an infant and a toddler vs. an infant and a grandmother... there is no "winner" in either of those scenarios! Both have their challenges AND rewards. Some days they are just easier to see.

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