I’ve spent the past week nursing my mom through a series of what she considers near death experiences. Extreme chills, possible pneumonia, fainting, and absolutely nothing showing up on any test.
She’s all better now, but she’s got a real sense that she’s on death’s doorstep. She’s told me that she doesn’t want flowers at her funeral. She’s also repeatedly explained her sense that our relationship has come full circle. I am now the one taking her to the ER and the doctor and the grocery store and buying her thermometers and medicine. Problem is, some of the memories aren’t real.
“Te acuerdas cuando te nalguie porque te comiste el Ajax,” she’ll say. And this one always gets me, because it is wrong on so many levels. In my mom’s mind, I am seven-years-old and foaming at the mouth at a sink with a can of Ajax sitting suspiciously nearby. Right before calling the poison control guys she spanks me because she is so angry that I’ve decided to brush my teeth with household disinfectant.
The true story, as I again reminded her while sitting in the ER, is that I had eaten a Flinstone’s chewable green vitamin and then dutifully brushed my teeth. Hence, green foaming at the mouth over the bathroom sink (under which the can of Comet resided).
There is always standoff over which version is right. It’s not that she’s delusional. She’s just stubborn and has never believed that I didn’t brush with Ajax. She just looks away with an attitude-full “Whatever!” just waiting on her lips, if in fact there was an equivalent word in Spanish.
This arguing over which memory is right seems very odd in light of the week’s events.