“Mom, did you know that you are almost bald in the back of your head?”, I asked.
She always manages to sit up in her hospital bed (which is situated right in the living room) as she hears me coming in for a visit. I guess she’s hoping that I won’t notice the smell of urine or the fact that she obviously hasn’t showered in a while. I ask her if she has been keeping herself clean and if she needs my help to wash up. She declines as usual and says she was planning on showering later. She really thinks she is fooling us when she tells us how she did a load of laundry or went in the kitchen and did the dishes. I know she spends all of her time laying in that bed as there is no other chair, couch or bed that she would be able to get in and out of even if they weren’t all covered with stuff. So much stuff. I wonder if there is a link between her morbid obsity and all the crap that clutters that house. All the crap that always cluttered that house. My Dad used to call us kids “pigs” blaming us for all the mess and clutter but the pigs are gone and the clutter is worse.
This bald spot is new or maybe this is just the first time that I am noticing it. It’s the same bald spot that babies get from lying on their backs for long stretches at a time.. She says the bruises that cover her arms are from scratching herself. Her skin is so thin, too thin for a 67 year old woman to have. She seems so weak now but not too weak to watch the food network or to tell me about the dinner that Barry brought home the other night. Then she remembers that she taped a special program that she wants me to watch. The special program is a food cooking competition that involves some biscuits at a country restaurant my daughter and I visited while checking out a college in the same town several years ago. I don’t care about some biscuit cookoff but know that there is nothing else that matters to her. She is more concerned about what I am making for lunch then how her eldest grandchild is doing. Why don’t you just tell her not to talk about food, you ask? There is nothing, if there is no food there is nothing, no conversation just sitting in silence. I used to bring her food when i visited since it’s the only gift she seemed to enjoy. The other gifts just sit somewhere unopened collecting dust amongst the clutter. I don’t bring food anymore. It’s like bringing drugs to a drug addict. I was just feeding her habit. Why doesn’t she just stop eating, you ask. Why doesn’t an alcholic just stop drinking? Why doesn’t she get help? She spent years in therapy. Why doesn’t she have that surgery? She had it and it failed. She lost 100 lbs at first but gained it all back and then some. It seems if you keep eating nonstop you can stretch your stomach (even if you have to vomit frequently because you ate too much) right back out. So rather than be angry at her, I try to love her unconditionally. I have given up hopes of her fighting her way back and just try to show her that no matter what she matters to me. No matter what comments others have said with their looks of disgust or hurtful words, she is my Mom and I love her.