Monday, May 5, 2008

My Aunt Madeline

Sunday afternoon, dad and I braved the roads (ok, it was sunny and warm, for once) and drove 150km to visit my Aunt Madeline. My dear Aunt Madeline lived all her life in Glace Bay Nova Scotia until about February this year. She lived in the same home for over 50 years and that home almost did her in, this cold winter. As she slept on her livingroom couch, which she did often, the pipes froze in her old house and the rads burst. As the cold seeped into the house, Madeline slept deeper and deeper and after 3 days when worried family finally broke into her locked house, she was so cold she couldn't possibly wake up. Off to the hospital by ambulance she went and after a couple of weeks of tenderloving care, she was well enough ( in her health, at least) to leave. But she didn't really have anywhere she could stay for any length of time. She stayed with her daughter until they could find a home that had an empty bed, her daughter's home was not the right place for her. Even though her health was good, her short term memory was/is not good and that is probably what got her in trouble in the first place. She was forgetting to eat and wasn't remembering important things, etc. After her close brush with death, the memory loss and ultimate confusion was far more severe. finally after a month of waiting, she got a spot in a Seniors Rest Home in Herring Cove, (over 5 hours from her home) just outside of Halifax. We have been trying to find a good weekend to go and visit and yesterday was the day. We picked up my Aunt Jeanette in Dartmouth, went out for a nice fish & Chip lunch and then made our way out to the COVE.... When we arrived, she was napping, and woke up right away, and prettied her hair. She recognised both dad and I, even though she couldn't remember my name. She recognized her baby sister as well, without hesitation. We chatted in her HOT DARK bedroom for a bit and then found a sunny outside patio to sit at. As we followed the nurse down the hall to the patio, my Aunt Madeline hopped and skipped behind the nurse, sort of making fun... soooo cute. She asked a lot of questions, as to where she was exactly, and why. My dad explained everything to her, and she told him that he was full of %#$%$%%>. A few minutes later she asked the same series of questions again, and added in a few others. But only a breath later, talked about my mom and how much she enjoyed my mom. Especially when they went on fishing trips together!! Below is a picture of my mom and dad enjoying a big laugh with Madeline in 1953 during a fishing trip. I still can't believe my mom EVER went fishing. She sure gave that up before I came along....
Madeline was so happy to finally be outside, and was thrilled to know that this place full of crazy people had such a nice patio. I was glad I suggested the patio and felt pretty good that I may have changed her life here at the "home". When our visit was almost finished,
her son David and his wife Mary came along. We chatted for only a second when Mary commented that she burnt yesterday while sitting on this patio with Madeline!!!! Which means, Madeline was out there just the day before and didn't remember. Poor little sweetie, and David and Mary explain to her almost every day what happened and why she can't go back to her house in Glace Bay. That short term memory stuff... pretty wicked.

Meet my Aunt Madeline, who refused to wear sunscreen "because she is FRENCH", which must give her some extra sun protection all in itself. Meet my Aunt Madeline who goosed "Peter" one of the male nurses here at her residence. Meet Aunt Madeline who has a cupboard full of stolen items from the other residents (such as hair brushes, dolls, slippers, etc). Meet my Aunt Madeline who will be 90 this Christmas and doesn't take a single pill. Not one! Meet my Aunt Madeline who is a breast cancer survivor. And those glasses on her forehead are just when she needs to read, and she doesn't like putting them on her head because it messes up her hair, and she doesn't want to hang them on a chain because it will make her look old!!!

I love my Aunt Madeline, and I am glad she is safe and sound, in a beautiful retirement home only 1.5 hours from my house!!!


Taryn said...

Wonderful post, Donna :)

GailM. said...

Oh, what a dear. She looks the same as I last saw her. And she does have a cute sense of humour, doesn't she. What a great picture of her and Mom and Dad. Aunt Jeannette looks the same, very cheery and happy. I'm glad you had a good visit. Next time, to Halifax, I'll go.

ancient one said...

I'm sure your Aunt appreciated your visit. It's sad to know they can't remember all the time... shucks, the way my mind is I might be joining her soon...:(