A Heavy Scent of Bananas But Not a Hint of a Hearing Aid


Oh dear. The last few times I’ve visited my mom, her room smells like bananas. It’s not due to a new air freshener. It’s because she’s started hoarding bananas.

They’re always on the dining tables at meal times. Bananas are good for you – full of potassium and stuff – and they’re easy to eat, an important factor for many older adults. Besides, it’s something easy to take and keep in your room in case you want a snack later. I’m pretty sure the snack later part never happens for my mother.

Every time I visit, she offers me a banana. Every time I decline, explaining how I’m off bananas for the time being as they make me gassy and I work with the public.

Here’s what my mom doesn’t have right now: her hearing aid. It was getting loose as it got older and I suppose the shape of her face and head has been changing. Sometimes she takes it out for a moment if her ear itches, or she knocks it askew while putting on her glasses. A couple of days ago, the hearing aid disappeared.

Nurses and aides have turned the place upside down. They did their best to retrace Mom’s steps from the day the instrument vanished. Nada.

Today I went to visit and saw a banana, as usual, on my mom’s nightstand.

“You want a banana?”

“No thanks, Mom, they give me gas. Did they find your hearing aid?”

“No. They looked through everything.”

“I’ll look, too, in case they just missed it.”

I opened the top drawer of her nightstand. I didn’t find a hearing aid, but there was a second banana, this one wrapped in a paper towel. Same thing with the bottom drawer. Likewise, the footstool that doubles as a storage unit held no hearing aid I could find, but there was a banana.

“Mom, do you think you have enough bananas?”

“You want one?”

“No thanks. I’m off bananas for the time being. I’ll check with Medicaid next week and see if they cover hearing aids.”

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