This was my blog from November 9, 2016. Uncle Bill was living in a nursing home. His wife, Lucille had died a year or two before. We went to visit him on his birthday. We came to eat with him in the dining room where he lived. He shared the table with 2 other residents, Madge and Donna.
Yesterday was Uncle Bill's Birthday. George and I went to visit him.
He was sitting on the sofa waiting for someone to come in and take him to dinner. As soon as I poked my head in, he got excited. We gave him his gift, which he just took a quick look at and pushed aside, not trying to even look at his card. I pinned his "Happy Birthday" award pin on his shirt and got him to his feet. Down to the dining room we went.
Uncle Bill was a mess. He was wearing an unwashed favorite shirt. He had spilled food on it that he camouflaged with masking tape. He was always such a fastidious person so it always surprises me to see him in any type of disarray. He was wearing blue jeans with flannel plaid pajama pants on top of them, creating a new fashion look.
I sit with him and his 2 elderly table mates at the table. Right away they notice his Happy Birthday badge.
Madge: What is that thing?
Me: Today is his birthday.
Madge: Happy Birthday Bill.
Uncle Bill: An alarm went off today. They cannot get the alarm to go off. It is a shame all that noise.
Donna: What is that thing on his shirt?
Me: Today is his birthday.
Donna: What? I cannot hear you.
Me: It is his birthday.(yelling)
Uncle Bill: It is so annoying when the alarm sounds. They need to learn to shut it off. No one knows how to.
Madge: It is cold in here.
Me: Yes it is a little cool.
Madge: What is that thing on his shirt?
Donna: Why is it so cold in here?
Uncle Bill: My mother hates it when that alarm goes off.
Uncle Bill likes the cranberry juice. He is drinking it. He understands that today is his birthday. He hefts the glass at me.
Uncle Bill: Is this wine?
What the heck.
Me: Yes, this is wine. Happy Birthday.
Uncle Bill looks very pleased. As the dinner goes on, he gets "drunker" on the "wine."
Uncle Bill: Sure hope the cardinal or the bishop doesn't come through here and see me drinking all this wine. I might be in big trouble. I intend to get highly polluted on this wine. (He was never a drinker so I don't think he ever got highly polluted but he likes to think he did.)
He drinks up the one glass of cranberry juice and I give him another that was extra. He hefts it in the air at Donna. "Want to get drunk?"
Donna is offended. "Why did you say that?" Her voice rises. Obviously she is not happy with his offer.
I explain to her that I told him the cranberry juice was wine.
Donna: I don't know why he said that. I never drink!
By this time he had finished the cranberry juice/wine and was now drinking Ensure Original Vanilla which also had the ability to make him somewhat giddy. He giggled and raised his glass above his head. "To the Candleabra Kids."
Donna: What is that pin on your shirt?
Me: It is his birthday.
Donna: How old is he?
Me: Uncle Bill, how old are you?
Uncle Bill: Um about 76 I think.
Me: You wish. You are 89 years old today.
Uncle Bill: No way! Holy cow! I'm on fire!
There was more...so much more. But you had to be there to feel it. He kept looking around for my aunt and wondering why she had not gotten to dinner yet. (She died 2 years ago) But he did not seem to be upset by it, just curious.
I did figure out what his favorite thing is for a birthday present. It is seeing his family.
And maybe just a bit of Cranberry Juice Wine and Ensure Cocktails.