Every morning, driving through the Beatton Hills on my way to the hospital, there is a golden cluster of poplars which was still green the day before. Fall colours are fast taking over the late summer ones; Sunday’s wind whirling the first leaves to the ground. I’m always surprised at the quick change of the season!
I’m the logical one to spend most of the time with Mom as the others are busy harvesting. But Saturday afternoon I traded my sister Maya jobs – she got to relax with Mom at the hospital, and I got to relax in the grain truck. I knew the truck – we’d sold it to my brother-in-law Franz Wenger when we rented out the farm – a tandem with a window in the box so you can see what you’re doing, and unload lever at the back of the box. Nice! Maya’s 11 year old daughter Iris turned the auger and tractor on and off for me (from the very safe vantage point of the tractor cab). She rode in the truck with me and we got in some special auntie/niece time.
Franz was harvesting about 45 bushels/acre of Intrepid wheat. That isn’t bad considering how dry it’s been here since June. Some crops here are doing better than expected – probably because it was too dry for disease.At the hospital, we’re all learning patience. Mom has it the hardest – without speech or mobility. Everything has to be relearned – to swallow, to reach her mouth with a swab – all those things we never think of when we can do them. A nursing friend told me today that Mom is grieving big time. Grieving is hard work, and so is healing. No wonder she is often exhausted. And then along come her kids and try to get her to swallow another teaspoon of juice, bend her limp limbs and joints to keep them supple, sing songs to try to help her regain speech. She must get tired of us! Who knows? I don’t – I’m not good at reading minds.
Mom’s always lamented that she should have learned to operate a computer. Now she is the first in the family with an iPad, and has email and a facebook account. Who would have thought it! The iPad is not for fun. It is meant to be her communication tool. There are speech aid apps that allow her to tap on pictures to say what she wants. A cup means she’s thirsty. If she taps on the cup, the next page opens with a variety of drinks. Would she like milk, coke, coffee or a smoothie? Mom showed initial interest, but when it didn’t function right the first time, she got discouraged. It all takes time.
But the family can send pictures and emails and facebook messages, which we show her and read. Now that’s something she can understand.