Yesterday was what we’ve taken to calling “a sleepy day,” so my usual call with Maga wasn’t able to happen. In the midst of unpacking and chatting with Sister J, I missed the text from Caregiver M letting me know “[my] Maga was up,” but when I saw it 12 minutes later, I scrambled to switch phone partners. A little do si do and a promise to let Sister J know when I was done so she could fill Maga’s dance card next.
The phone rang and rang. Another text from CM appeared: “Hi. She is talking to your mom.” Upon which I immediately texted my mom asking her to let me know when she was done, so I didn’t miss another chance to chat.
Imagine my surprise when my phone rang a minute later with Maga’s number lighting up my phone.
“Hello?” I said.
“Hi, Abby, dear,” Maga said.
“You sound awake and alert!”
“I try to be.”
Munching noises ensued. “Dinner,” Maga said.
“That’s great,” I said. “You having an appetite.”
More munching noises.
“She’s very focused on eating,” CM said.
The munching slowed, so I tried some questions. “Did you have snow or sunshine today?”
“No,” Maga said.
“Tomorrow’s New Year’s Eve. Will you stay up until midnight?”
“Did you ever host a NYE party at your house?”
I repeated myself changing a few words (NYE –> holiday, party –> neighbors) to help lower my tone so she could hear me.
“[Caregiver M??]” Maga cried.
CM’s voice crept closer. She too attempted to get my point across, but to no avail.
“I don’t know what’s what,” Maga said.
“That’s okay. I often don’t either. But listen, I’m going to let you go and once we hang up, [Sister J] is going to call you. That way you won’t be alone for dinner. Is that okay?”
CM explained the situation. I explained the situation again. I stayed on the line because she didn’t seem convinced of anything and I didn’t like ending the call on that note.
“Hello?” Maga said.
“I’m still here.”
She continued her laser focus on her turkey sandwich. I attempted a joke about potato chips. It fell flat.
After 5 weeks of 24/7 company, I was now 100% isolated, so I was more than content to continue the “conversation” whether she was talking, whether she understood, or whether she was quiet, but her alert and awake hours are precious and I was conscious of Sister J wanting to chat…I tried again to explain that I was going to hang up, but that Sister J would call next, so she’d have company.
“Whatever you want,” Maga said.
I smiled (sadly) at her sharp, short tone. Her memory was flickering in and out and the only thing that continued to make sense was the turkey sandwich. I’m just glad I got to share some space with it, and her.
“I love you, Maga,” I said.
“I love you too.”