This is a little boring but it does remind me of the overused simile where you feel like you are plunged into ice water. I was at work around midnight, with a resident I really like. Actually the first time I met her I sneakily teared up because she shares a name with my dead grandma, who I remember as a bastion of hyperfemininity and unconditional love. She also just reminded me of her even though she's more snarky. She has a drawling way of talking and moving which you could probably diagnose or not but I think of it as a style. She is always interesting to talk to and encourages me when the steady lift refuses to roll over her oxygen tubes or the cord for the bed remote.
After we got back from the bathroom and I ran over the tubes and cords, I picked her legs up and put them in bed. I aspire to someday do this in a way that doesn't hurt her bad leg, but if there is a way, I haven't learned it yet.
Her: Oh my God.
Me: I'm sorry!
Her: No, I'm sorry...for having feet.
Me: You're sorry for having feet?
Her: For having big feet.
Me: I'd be more sorry if you didn't have feet.
Her: Oh, God. That's one blessing I have.
(At this point I was expecting a joke about being blessed with big feet.)
"All the children were normal," she said. I sort of froze and, after a characteristic pause, she continued, "All the money and time that goes toward an invalid..."
I don't think I said anything else before I left. Maybe I said, "Yeah, well," which is the best response because maybe it leaves room for everything I could want to say. Anyway I had the ice bucket feeling.
At three she put on her light to go the bathroom. I actually felt nervous about what it would be like to talk to her, someone I had always looked forward to talking to before. Once I got her in the bathroom I crouched on the floor because my legs had hit the feeling where they feel like some other appendage that I'm using as legs by mistake. I closed my eyes but weirdly I almost felt afraid of doing this in front of her now as if I didn't want her to see my weakness.
She asked how I could sit like that so early in the morning; she didn't think she could. She had dreamed she went hiking with her daughter in Big Sur, where she has never been. After a while I wondered if she had fallen asleep in the bathroom and if I should try and wake her up.
"How is the bathroom stuff going?" I asked. She couldn't understand me the first time (this is not because she is old; I'm not the best conversation partner for anyone who has the mildest hearing or processing problems in the world). When she understood the question she thought about it and said, "Slow...like me," with a crooked smile. I realized one of the things I most admire about her is the grace of her slowness.