Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 07/11/17: My Day with Mom, Finished *The Conversation*, Watching *No No*

1.  Today I sat with Mom just before her lunch arrived, during lunch, checked in on her periodically throughout the afternoon while she slept, rejoined her about an hour and half before dinner and during dinner, and returned a little after 8:00 p.m. to make sure she was down for the night.

When Mom was awake today, she was at once remarkably lucid and disarmingly disoriented. At one point, she told me with absolute clarity what she had to do to be able to return home again -- dress herself and get herself into and out of the bathroom -- and in the next she was telling me how she drove Christy somewhere and wondered if I would pick her up. Sometimes, when Mom tells a childhood story, say, about when her mother made her take magnesium pills out at the ranch for her dental health, I see the mother I've known all my life appear before me; but, then, in the same story, she will cast me as her brother, telling me we took these pills when I was in the sixth grade and she was in the fourth, and I see the mother I have come to know in the last few weeks who has any number of things mixed up.

Today, as has been true since her day of prolonged agitation last Wednesday, Mom's times of sitting in her wheelchair or sitting up in bed didn't last more than sixty or ninety minutes and she was ready to lie back down and go to sleep. In fact, she began asking me to be put in her pajamas around 4:30 this afternoon. We negotiated a compromise to wait until after she had eaten her dinner and so by 6:00 or so, Mom was in bed. I kissed her goodnight and told her I'd come back over after dinner to check on her and, when I did, she was sleeping serenely.

2. I finished watching The Conversation this afternoon. I've seen this movie multiple times, more than ten for sure, maybe even twenty times. Once again, the psychological study of Gene Hackman's character, Harry Caul, chilled me, unnerved me. Having seen the movie so many times, I know exactly what's coming, but the repeated viewings deepen my response, not dull it.

3. After a very delicious chicken dinner on Christy and Everett's back deck and after my quick check on Mom, I returned to Mom's house and watched No No: A Dockumentary. It tells the story of the stormy baseball career of Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis who famously pitched a no-hitter in 1970 while tripping on acid. The sensational LSD story might be the hook to get a viewer interested in this movie, but the core of Dock Ellis' story is much deeper, often unsettling, always fascinating. I had seen this movie in D.C. three years ago and very much enjoyed returning to it on Netflix.

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