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Monday, 8 February 2016

Mum creates her own reality

When I went up to the nursing home yesterday to see mum she was sitting on her bed holding her pink telephone directory in her hand, her head bowed. When she saw me her face creased up with emotion and she went "Oh" and got up from the bed. She came toward me with her hands outstretched to greet me, almost with tears coming from her eyes, saying "I'm so happy to see you." There had been an accident, she said, and she was worried about me.

I told her I was fine and that there had been no accident but she was firm. Here's some of the conversation that followed:

Mum: "You had an accident too. I was trying to call but I couldn't get through. I'm so relieved to see you."
Me: "You didn't have an accident. You had an infection and went into hospital."
Mum: "Oh did I? I don't know, nobody tells me anything."
Me: "I see."
Mum: "I had visions of you being in road accidents and God knows what. I heard that you had this terrible accident. Or maybe I had the accident."

And later:

Mum: "I had an accident. I did have an accident on a road."
Me: "You thought the doctor was coming?"
Mum: "I understood the doctor was coming in the morning. He was coming to see someone else and would see me as well."

I phoned up my brother in Texas and in the conversation that ensued there was a good quantity of silliness. There's no doubt that with the abatement of the fever and its associated aches and pains mum is in a lot better spirits now than she has been for the most part recently. We talked for a good 30 minutes on the iPad.

Part of the conversation was taken up in trying to find out how mum's father, Harry, had come to become involved in Communism. Mum was trying to think of the name of the bookseller who got Harry involved, and she thought it might be Harry Barker. It's hard to give too much credit to these old memories of hers. At one time mum had told me that Harry had got involved in Communism out of gratitude for the Russians joining WWII against Hitler. She subsequently changed that story, and told me that Harry had considered Socialism to be lived Christianity. The new story of Harry Barker is just another riff on an old theme, but it's amusing for us kids to try to use the internet to unearth the truth. My brother was soon on Google doing searches.

After talking on the iPad mum and I went outside to go to the park to watch the dogs. There were a couple of dogs in the park, and one of the dog owners waved at us as we sat on the park bench in the shade - mum did not make it to the second bench, because of her still-feeble arms, and we settled for sitting on the first bench. We sat there for about 30 minutes then headed back inside to see about lunch. At the lifts on the first floor we bumped into H's daughter, apparently today at the nursing home to see her mother. "I had a car accident," mum replied when she was asked how she was.

1 comment:

Resuna said...

Well, I did find a reference to a leftist bookstore in Melbourne around that time run by a gentleman by the name of "Harry Barcan".

Radical Students: The Old Left at Sydney University by Alan Barcan