Continue talking


I got back from my “time off” last Thursday and unlike my other trips where I felt refreshed and energized this time was different. Unfortunately, the minute I got back it felt like I never left. Miss Cathy was chatting at me the moment I opened the door.

Of course a lot of that has to do with me and not mom, my personal life seems to be in transition so I need to establish a secure foundation and some structure in my life here.

It was great to see mom, she gave me a big hug when I walked through the door and not long after she was gone to spend some time with Adele leaving me some time alone to unpack and unwind. I could see that she had taken good care of the place while I was gone and there wasn’t much to do till I had to take her to the doctor the next day.

So, Friday morning I found myself sitting in the orthopedic surgeon’s office with Miss Cathy for one of her follow up appointments after her knee replacement surgery.

The office was a hot, non descript room full of old people in wheelchairs, casts, canes or some other indication that they won’t be signing up for Arthur Murray anytime soon. Everybody seemed to be there at the same time for the same thing. We all sat and waited to be called back into an exam room, most people killing time by talking and/or watching whatever god-awful midmorning television show happened to on the flat screen TV perched high up on the wall.

What was frustrating was that you make an appointment and show up on time but the reality is that you’re not going to see the doctor until he was good and ready to see you.
It’s an abuse of power that I have little patience for in my life but this wasn’t about me-it was Miss Cathy’s doctor and her appointment and I try my best to stay out of it.

Since this all started last year she’s shown very little patience herself with being kept waiting and her reaction can range from mild irritation to a complete melt down in the waiting room (so the apple didn’t fall very far from that tree).

Rather than sit anywhere near the television I chose seats on the other side of the room, thinking it would quieter-but no, but no (just my luck) we ended up sitting next to a couple that wouldn’t shut the f*ck up. The husband was a big blowhard of man. He talked just loud enough so that everybody else could hear his voice (his favorite sound I imagine) but no loud that’d think he was at sports arena. He sounded like a reject from the Henry Higgins School of snobbery and pretension so unless the front row of Wimbledon I don’t think you’d see him there.

It was hard to “not” hear someone so intent on enunciating so clearly in such an affected and old-fashioned manner of speech, making everything he said sound like it was occurring in 1938 New England and not an orthopedic surgeon’s office in suburban Maryland in 2011. The wife was a mousy thing, hanging onto his every word out of obligation or inertia, the perfect female compliment to his pontificating; she was the woman beside (or behind) the “man about town”.

Earlier, I was bemoaning the fact (to me, myself and I) that anytime I left my room I’d be subjected to Miss Cathy’s ramblings (I know she’s lonely but egads, can’t there be a moment when the two of us are in the same room and words need not be spoken?). But, this, this is an assault on my ears and I’m not even related to the man.

I do not want to hear this man’s opinions or anecdotes. I’d move but the only other option would be to sit near the other old people swapping stories about their particular ailments or surgeries as “Judge Punch or Judy” roared in the background. Oye! It’s Sophie’s choice!

I’d been back about 24 hours after being gone for two weeks and I felt as if I’d never left. I had a feeling it was going to be a verrrrry long day and it was, we spent more than two hours waiting for the doctor to come spend about ten minutes with Miss Cathy.

They took an x-ray then the doctor said that her knee was healing better than expected so she could expect more than 100% mobility and range of motion out of her artificial knee and she doesn’t have to come back for two years for another check up.

It occurred to me as we were leaving the doctor’s office that in the past (say three or four months ago) Miss Cathy would have been very angry and agitated by the long wait, complaining or making a mini-scene. Not this time, she was calm and didn’t complain, she mentioned the wait but it was just a statement of fact, in fact she was even trying to sleep to pass the time till her name was called.

It was a marked difference in behavior and I don’t know if it was because of her time alone or what but she definitely seemed to have a different attitude. I really have to give her “props” for how she handled herself and I need to try to follow her example.

I may not want to listen to her but I can still learn from her.

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One thought on “Continue talking

  1. I’ve been following your story for a couple of months now and am amazed at the similarities. My mother, too, will not stop talking. I put it on the same level as a three or four year who has learned that they can speak in sentences and monopolize any adults’ attention with one word – “Why?” My mother’s constant talking can be a form of torture. BUT I have also spent literally hours waiting in an orthopedist’s office and also find that to be a form of torture.
    Best wishes to you as we both learn from our parents…

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