Sam’s ok, but he didn’t look too good when I got there. Hooked up to an oxygen tank and his face looked drawn, tight, like he’d aged a lot in the past two weeks. I diddled around with replacing the battery in his Bose remote before sitting down and checking in. He just about lunged for his standard hazelnut black (we always have this issue about letting it cool down enough so he doesn’t burn himself), so I knew he was “ok” in general, but I worried something “big” had happened. I said,
“Looks like its been a rough couple of weeks since I’ve seen you?”
Then he told me he had bad hearing today. He didn’t look like I’d understood him right (his speech was tough to understand today), so I asked him if that was what he said. After a few trials I learned that actually, Pat Neary visited today. 🙂 Along with Phil and Lorraine. We laughed at the absurdity of my first grasp at “meaning”. Talk about an opportunity to work on telepathy!
He was pretty quiet. There were lots of silences. He moved slower than usual (which is pretty slow). He had some KFC that I brought, and told me he’d “get to” the root beer later, after he downed the coffee. 🙂 Anyway, I really wanted to know what the heck had happened, but he was really having a hard time with speech, so we started to play 20 questions. I probably never would have figured it out except one of the aides came in to check his vitals, and Sam gave him permission to tell me. “Flu.” Sam and I laughed pretty hard – there I was all worried one or more of his organs was checking out and he was just recovering from a bug! Sam seemed to enjoy that I was so worried; Kevin said of course! That’s how he gets his “sympathy chicken”!
I did take the opportunity to pester him about how people would find out if something serious happened and any of us actually wanted to be there asap. We never talked about that before. (His first year in the nursing home we talked a lot about death and dying and there was a pretty long spell – a few years – when suicide was on his mind quite often.) So, we didn’t talk about it anymore tonight either, just posed the question. Does he want people to come and be with him if there’s warning and time? Or would he prefer to be alone?
The only system now is that the staff would notify Paul Gustafson. And then Paul would have to let others know….I asked Sam if he wanted to add anyone else to the list of people that Eden Park should call right away. We’ll see what he says.
Meanwhile, he told me David Corey was in the hospital for cancer. 🙁
And he finally called Mangeca about three weeks ago, and found she went home to Brazil for a month. They’re not sure if she’s out of the woods yet or not. He compared me to her later in our conversation…said he wondered what it would have been like to have us as students. 🙂 He was responding to a story about my latest escapade in school. Ironically, I had brought with me the last two blogposts about him to hear what I’d written and the comments people had posted. As I read them tonight there he was talking about his own failed efforts to act as a spokesperson. 🙂 Funny how that conversation happened only a month ago…prescient, perhaps?
Anyway, he described himself as a “great reader of graffiti”, and one of his favorites is:
“Immanual Kant but he never could.”
I am gonna miss this guy.
A few messages: Nona, thanks for the info about Sam’s parents and also the picture of Cody. Sam said he can’t tell who Cody looks like…does he have a strong family resemblance to anyone? And he LOVED the story about Clarence, and why he went into the army! He grinned and nodded like crazy. 🙂
David, Sam said, “I didn’t know your wife’s name until tonight.”
Mangeca and Samir: you’ve been added to the list of folks who get notified when I (Steph) post about visiting Sam. I always read to him whatever comments people make, as well as share direct emails and jokes with him. So feel free to join in!