Whereas the nursing assistants got here to alter Peggy’s bedding, I talked to her therapy nurse within the hallway. When Peggy had arrived at this facility about two weeks earlier, she had bedsores on her heels and on her decrease again. In Peggy’s room, her nurse modified her bandages, declaring the injuries on her heels, which didn’t look too dangerous, however on her again, simply above her tailbone, was a dinner-plate-size sore, yellowish and uncooked. “That has gotten so significantly better,” the nurse stated, her finger air-tracing a circle that was a few third bigger than the one I might see.
Each bedsores and pulmonary embolisms may be brought on by mendacity in the identical place for too lengthy. Nobody accused her earlier nursing house of neglect, however they made it clear that when she arrived, the sores have been already there. That they had developed over the primary 4 months of the Covid shutdown when my sister, her main advocate, was not allowed to go to.
Her bandages modified and her sheets contemporary, Peggy was turned on her aspect. Her eyes have been calm and as she drifted off to sleep, I might see that she knew who I used to be.
Whereas she slept, I explored her room to see what remnants of her curious and acquisitive life had endured into that institutional house. Her picture album was sticky, its pages crackling with age. I knew lots of these pictures. There she was as a bridesmaid, tall and deeply tanned, her blue eyes vibrant, holding the hand of our father, who didn’t reside very lengthy after that image was taken. There have been pictures of us because the 5 sisters we as soon as have been, and one among Peggy, 10 years older than me, standing in as surrogate mom at my highschool commencement. There was a photograph of the boyfriend who adopted her to the ends of the earth however to whom she was not capable of commit. There are pictures from our home in New Jersey, of nieces and nephews, leafy patios and swimming swimming pools, and Peggy on her skis.
They have been from a life that none of us reside anymore and so they ended round 2005, when my mom offered her home and moved into assisted dwelling, leaving Peggy, for the primary time in her life, with no place to land. Her bipolar illness, which she struggled to handle, started to eat away on the life she’d constructed for herself earlier than Alzheimer’s got here to complete the job.