Shirley is the geriatric, unresponsive, alien in the next bed.
She is the matriarch of a clan consisting of five (count ’em) children, all adults and all in different stages of supportive grief. Yes, they are interesting in that they are not pulling each other out into the hallway to be castigated for some improper topic of conversation around the moribund mater. No, they don’t lecture each other about the evils of playing Brahams’ Lullaby over the hospital loudspeakers each time a new baby enters the maternity ward. Interesting because they are mutually respectful and diffident around their beloved, dying mother.
She reclines slightly elevated, her jaw dropped open, toothless and deaf. Her eyes are mostly closed, and she emits an “aaaaaah” or an “oooooohm” every once in a while, which results in some of her maggots, er I mean, magnates stopping and running to her bedside with cries of “did you hear that?” “she speaks yet!” and I don’t know what other obeisant movement in her direction. Each motion, each moan, means immediate attention and a resumption of her constant flow of attention whether desired or not.
She has rallied her troops. With the exception of Uncle Gus, who arrived late in the night, around 10:30, all are there and anxiously waiting for a turn either for the better or the worse.
Nobody notices me, totally immobilized, under mental and verbal restraint, shot up with a myriad drugs, some which cause mood swings, others which cause hallucinations and unable to comprehend beyond the curtain.
Laney has a fat ass. She looks like a schoolmarm. She appears over my face telling me she is Laney. I wonder why, and hope she Lameys her way back behind the curtain, where she belongs.