Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Returning a wedding ring to the nursing home

The first time mum went into hospital in Sydney I took off her wedding ring and put it in my pocket because there were signs up in the hospital about protecting valuables. I took it home and put it in a drawer in my bedroom. But when mum had been sent back to the nursing home and I had gone up to visit her again I noticed that she was again wearing a wedding ring. I asked her about it and she said it was hers. I took it off her hand and gave it to the staff. However another wedding ring appeared in due course and so eventually I gave up trying to wean mum off the habit of wearing them.

I never worked out where she got the wedding rings from. Had she got up in the middle of the night and wandered into someone else's room? Had someone given her the new rings? Was she swapping them for something else of value? The puzzle remains a puzzle to this day. I asked the staff about it again today when I took this final wedding ring - which the funeral directors had taken off mum's hand after her death - back to the nursing home but they didn't know the answer either. Some things can never be known, like what old people do with their jewellery in nursing homes. No doubt mum had simply looked at her hand, thought to herself that she needed a wedding ring on it, and had acquired one. Somehow.

I drove up to the nursing home this morning along the normal route. It was a leisurely drive. The car seemed to know instinctively where to go, which lanes to change into, and when to indicate to turn or change lanes. I just sat at the wheel and let things take their course, seemingly in auto-pilot. On the way back to the motorway I stopped at the Vietnamese bakery and bought a sausage roll and a pork roll. I ate them in the car, which turned out to be a bit of a risk because somehow I wiped my right eye with a finger that had touched some chili and it started to water furiously as I was driving down the Warringah Freeway. But I made it home safe in the end listening to the radio as per normal.

Later, I discovered there were some things missing from the box of photos - including an oil painting by Barbara Cameron and some old 19th century hymnals - and I phoned the nursing home to ask where they might be. They said they would get back to me in a few days.

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