All of the Bells, But Not All at Once

A sampling of the bells


One thing you don’t get in a skilled nursing facility is a lot of space. My mom’s shared room reminds me of my dorm in college, including the bathroom that’s also used by the residents in the next bedroom over. Mom has the bottom half of a two-tiered wardrobe for hanging clothes plus whatever can sit on the shelf below them. She also has three dresser drawers, some counter space, her bed, of course, a recliner, a two-drawer nightstand and a high shelf attached to the wall. We provided her a footstool that doubles as a storage bin.

Mom has very few of her possessions actually with her. Many are at my house, and others are with my oldest sister. Since I’m nearest geographically now, I got custody of Mom’s cherished bells.

She’s collected bells for years. You never had to think too hard on gift-giving occasions. If you couldn’t come up with anything else, she’d always love another bell.  Some are glass, some porcelain, some pewter. Some commemorate places or events. I think she owns around 100 altogether. She and I decided she had room for three on her shelf. This is not only an issue of space; it’s also an issue of keeping track of things in a setting where all sorts of people are coming and going and the door to her room remains unlocked. I’ve used permanent marker to put her name inside each bell. If one does wander away somehow and then turn up later, we’ll know it’s hers because it’s labeled.

When we were first getting Mom settled and discussing what she could/should have with her in the room, my sister was the one who pointed out to us that Mom could still have all of her bells, just not all at once. It could be a rotating collection. Brilliant! I work in a library. I’m familiar with this concept.

Every couple of weeks I dig into the boxes in my spare bedroom and bring Mom a different bell, then take one from her room back to my house. This gives us something to talk about, too. She can tell me what she remembers about where she got each one, or who gave it to her. We’ve taken some nice strolls down memory lane, prompted by a starting bell.



Soft Foods

No, not soft foods for my 87-year-old mother. She’s still able to enjoy a pretty varied diet, with some restrictions. The soft foods prompting this post are the ones I’m feeding my 14-year-old son. He had a tooth removed a couple of days ago.

His top left front tooth has been a problem for years. When the permanent tooth came in, the baby tooth never came out until we took him to the dentist to have it pulled. Then he fell on the jungle gym on the school playground when he was in third grade, chipping and traumatizing the same tooth. It’s been crooked and severely out of place, a problem we hoped would be fixed by his braces. Nope. That tooth stayed in place, and all of the other top teeth moved up. As it turns out, the thing was ankylosed (it had fused to the bone.) And when they looked at it with the super duper fancy 3-D looker atter, it was crumbling beneath the surface of the gums. So off to the oral surgeon we went, and now the tooth is gone. He’ll get a placeholder until he stops growing, after which he can have an implant put in.

Meanwhile I’m trying to figure out how to keep this kid fed on soft foods for a week. For those who have never lived with a 14-year-old boy, they eat A LOT. His typical bedtime snack would be an entire meal for me – a whole apple, a large bowl of ice cream, and add in a plate of cheese and crackers. This is a kid who can’t afford to lose weight; he already looks as if he’s made from clothes hangers. I’ve been shoveling oatmeal and applesauce his way. I made a huge batch of mashed potatoes. Despite the heat wave, he seems okay with soup, so whew! We’re stocked up on pudding cups, ice cream and frozen fruit bars. He likes yogurt.

Oh and I’ve been doing this over and over:

Happy Fruit Smoothie Week!