003aPicture by Eva, 2016

I have a fairly new client named Thelma.  She’s 92 and still lives in her home…their family farm.  I go approximately every 3 weeks to clean her house and do some de-cluttering there as well.

Today was an adventure driving down those country roads…thanks to an unseasonable thunderstorm last night with massive winds…it left the roads littered with fallen branches and other debris.  The roaring streams spilled onto the road leaving deep puddles and the  white ducks belonging to a neighboring farm were splashing happily in these puddles.

Thelma sits at her kitchen table the whole time I am there and loves to do Word Search puzzles.  Page after page after page…when I look at her studying it intently, it reminds me of a child at school diligently doing their school work.  The floor actually has an indentation of her feet from sitting at the same spot day after day, hour after hour.  Today when I came, she had no word searches.  She sat there totally lost with a TV program in front of her.  “Don’t you have any Word Search books?”  “No.”  I had remembered seeing some word search books in the one back room when I had cleaned there the last time and decided to look(I couldn’t stand to see how completely lost she looked).  Found 4 of them and brought them out to the kitchen, “Look what was in the back room!  4 Word Search books!”  She smiled and in no time was doing her joy.

She gets Meals on Wheels and when I had been there two times before, I noticed how she pilfers through the meal to find the fruit.  If it is an apple, it comes out immediately and she peels and eats it.  The last time it was an orange and she just left it there.  I had promised myself I would bring her apples when I came…and today I did.  I put the two apples on a plate with her paring knife and set it next to her…not saying anything but while working in the kitchen just glancing over every once in a while.  It didn’t take long before I saw her take an apple and proceed to peel it.  Ate it and the second apple got peeled.  Now I know I need to bring apples every time.

She usually has a cup of coffee while I am there but today I noticed there was no coffee.  “Are you out of coffee?”  “Yes”.  “Since when?”  “Yesterday”.  “Do you want me to text your daughter and ask her to bring some?”  “Yes”.  “Is there anything else you need?”  She then proceeds to look at her little list…”cheese, ice cream…not chocolate, milk, and hot dog buns”  I texted her daughter.  A little while later, the phone rings.  Her daughter asks to talk to me…”I just bought her a gallon of milk two days ago…is that gone? And cheese, I brought a big pack yesterday of 49 slices…it’s in the meat drawer.”  I checked the fridge…no milk and yes there was cheese.

I told Thelma that she would be bringing the coffee and milk on her way home and that there was cheese in the fridge.  I then proceeded to work in the living room.  I could see Thelma getting up from the table to go to the fridge…back and forth…each time bringing two pieces of cheese, peeling the plastic off and eating it.  “You really like cheese, don’t you?”  “Yes, I do.”

Before I left, I checked the fridge to see how much cheese was left…none.  zippo.  I texted the daughter to tell her the cheese was gone. Her response?  “Are you kidding me?   It was like 49 slices!!!!!  Oh my.”

I left…Thelma sitting there studiously with her Word Searches…and no more cheese.

til next time…Eva






One thought on “Thelma

  1. Sounds like Joy before she had to move to Autumn Care. Towards the end of her time solo, she would take chunks of cheddar out of the fridge, bite into them. and put them back. If there was any left when I returned, it was a hunk with teeth marks all over. Liverwurst straight out of the plastic sleeve was another one, or peanut butter spooned out of a jar on the counter that never made it back into the refrigerator. Gallons of milk. And then she would tell me she “hadn’t had anything to eat in days” and wonder why she was having problems in the bathroom again, like the Universe was out to get her. Fruit would have been a better option, but for some reason, she had quit doing that and wasted most of it. Have to say that even though the nursing home food is pretty dismal and classic institutional, she does eat better these days — partly just because of the more social setting.

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