By Dennis Sinar
Wednesday when I visited, Josey told me she liked tangerines better than the little oranges I’d brought—tangerines have no seeds. That was just typical. Over the last several visits she’d become a new person, one who skipped over positives and only saw the negative side.
Today, when she talked about the oranges, she had a way of saying it that was not so much an overt criticism, but more of a whine. I hate whining. Mother discouraged using the word “hate” because it has such a negative connotation, but in this case, I thought it anyway.
Josey never got out of bed anymore or made the slightest effort to fix herself or even comb her hair.
My emotions were starting to leak out on these visits and that did not help her, but her negativity and lack of personal hygiene would sap the energy of a saint. She never even picked up any of the oranges, just left them in the cute basket beside her bed.
Why do people use the phrase “rain on your parade” because she’s not rain and this is no parade. After her whining about the oranges, I tried to remember our last parade—if it had rained and how we’d felt. Positive thoughts, positive thoughts; I struggled to get there, but it wasn’t working.
“These oranges are sweeter than tangerines. They’re easy to peel and you hardly notice the seeds. I’ll do better next time and bring tangerines if you’d rather. Would you like me to peel an orange?”
“You’re patronizing me. I’m entitled to an opinion, aren’t I? I just told you I preferred tangerines, it’s not like a rule or anything. If it’s that much trouble, don’t bring anything.”
“I wanted to bring something with vitamin C that might help you feel better. It’s not any trouble.”
“Now you’re being a martyr about it—I’m not nailing you to a cross for bringing oranges. Thank. you. for. the. damned. oranges. Happy now?”
Well, some appreciation at least. She’s not having a good day and maybe I should go. Mother would want me to take the high road, but insults are waiting just behind my lips. The treatments have eaten away at her spirit or maybe she’s always been like this underneath. Could I be any stronger? Take the high road, take the high road.
“Can I get you anything? Are you having any pain, should I call the nurse?”
“No, just leave me alone. I’ve got a lot to think about.”
“I’ll go then. Should I come about the same time tomorrow?”