"If your nose runs and your feet smell, you're all vice versa," the wrinkled old lady informed me as I pushed her down the hall in her wheelchair.
"Oh, You don't say," I responded in monotone. I try to act like I'm listening, to keep her happy. I had seen her angry, and though she was stooped four foot ten inch, hundred pound lady, she could still pack a wallop.
She rambled on about various things, Bernice next door who played her music too loud, Fred who talked to his slipper, and her cats that she had to give up when she came to live here.
It was the same conversation every time I wheeled her down this hall. I think the hall got longer each and every day. I turned into her room.
'Wait! I have to pee." I turned her toward the bathroom, smelling of disinfectant and city water. I helped her up out of the chair and onto the stool.
I turned my back but waited beside the door frame for her to finish her business. At least none of the alzheimer's patients had flung anything at me tonight. I couldn't wait until each resident was all bedded down and all I had to do was deliver pills and answer the few call buttons that would ring at the nurses station.
"You know, Cathy, that color looks good on you. I wish I had a dress like that. My mother used make my clothes. She always picked the most hideous colors!"
My name wasn't Cathy, I wasn't wearing a dress, and my scrubs tonight were patterned with pastel brush strokes.
"Are you finished, Mabel?" I inquired, mock sweetness in my tone.
"Don't rush a horse to water before the chickens!"
"Okay Mabel. I'll give you a moment." I checked my nails. I had just finished them before leaving for work. I noticed the paint had chipped off my ring fingernail, probably when I had to wrestle Gideon back into his wheelchair at dinner. He always wanted to eat from his neighbor's plate.
"I'm done, Nurse."
Amused at her sudden clarity, I turned with a grin and helped Mabel to her chair, and to her bed. She giggled.
"Say your prayers, Mabel! You never know when Santa Claus is going to bring you pretty eggs!"
"Good night!" I closed her door and turned out her light.