Archive for April, 2012

May I please, Officer Food Police

In retrospect, it is funny to me that Andy would ask me permission to give his own mother a piece of cake, but I was the self appointed boss of her food and he respected my self appointed authority.  When I would take her tea over, I would take a sliver of cake with me, feeling it was essential to remind her that she really should not have it, but for a special treat it would be okay.  She would thank me so appreciatively and I never knew she had already wolfed down a full slice of cake.  The next morning her sugar reading would be out of whack, and I would be trying to figure out how it happened, because one little sliver of cake should not have affected her that much.  Other times, it would result in another “accident” and I would say no more of that dessert, but again it was hard to imagine that one sliver could cause such damage.  A few times, Clara would have her “accident” while my dinner guests were still at my house.  That would annoy me that I had to leave my own company to go over and shower her and clean up the mess.  In my mind I was convinced it was because her daughter let her eat something bad for her when they were out earlier and I would resent that I was the one dealing with the consequences.  I didn’t realize it was mainly due to my own friends that had given her food from my own kitchen that caused the problem.  It was actually a couple of years until I discovered it.


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My role as food police continues….

For Clara, a woman that never really thought about healthy eating, just eating what she enjoyed, in retrospect I imagine I was obnoxious at times.  I can only imagine how she waited for Saturday, to go out to eat without my oversight, to actually pick up a salt shaker and put it on her food, or order a bowl of forbidden soup.  Each Sunday morning as I saw those swollen feet and ankles, I would feel I was the only one taking her health problems seriously.  I could only see her diet from one viewpoint.  As a result Clara became quite clever.  We would often have our friends and our son’s friends over to our house on Saturday for dinner and dessert.  With Clara being out most Saturday afternoons with her daughter, it was easier to have company not having to take care of her too.  During the week Clara would ask what I was planning on making.  At first I would feel bad talking about foods that she wasn’t allowed to have, so I would act like I wasn’t sure, but Clara would push the subject.  I would normally be excited about a new dish that I wanted to try making, or maybe a new dessert that I thought up on my own so it wasn’t hard to get the menu out of me.  I would ask her opinion and Clara would seem so happy to be a part of the meal planning.   I would even tell her that I felt bad talking about foods that she couldn’t have and she would say it didn’t bother her.  Once Saturday arrived and I was busy with my guests, I could hear Clara coming in her apartment and after some time I would run over to check on her.  She would ask me how the evening was going and if they liked my new dessert.  I was tickled that she took such an interest.  Most of our friends know Clara, so one or two might wander over to her apartment to visit with her for a few minutes, and Clara would be delighted.  What I didn’t know is that when they would visit, Clara would scam them for dessert.  Since she already asked me if my guests liked my new dessert, she knew that I had already served dessert.  She would tell one of her visitors that I had promised her a piece of that chocolate cake that I made, but I forgot to bring it over.  She would ask them if they would sneak over and get a piece for her, but not to say anything to me because she didn’t want me to feel bad for forgetting.  They knew Clara had serious health problems but figured she was telling the truth since she asked for the dessert by name.  I typically served buffet style, so when I would see my dinner guest come back over from their visit with Clara and get some dessert, I figured they were getting seconds for themselves.  If the evening would go on for some time, I would ask my husband to go over and check on his mother.  She would ask for her nightly cup of hot tea and he would come back and say she asked for a piece of cake with her tea.  I would remind him how bad that would be and he would say, “Can she have just a sliver?”

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Authority overload…and a bit clueless

Once a month I would go to a local marina to reconcile their checkbook.  I like doing that sort of thing and I really liked the owners of the marina, a husband and wife.  I became friends with the wife, and we would talk about our families while I was there.  She told me about her own mother, that had since died, who had similar health problems as Clara.  At times she would tear up remembering how her mother would plead with her when she visited for a drink, and she would remind her mother that the doctor had her on a very restricted fluid intake.  She would comment that if she knew how close her mother was to dying, she would have just given her the drink of water or whatever she wanted.  Over the years of going to the marina, she would often express regret that she only could think about preserving her mother’s life by following the doctor’s orders exactly, and didn’t think about her mother just enjoying her final days.  When she would tell me these things, I would feel bad for her, but the message I think she was really trying to tell me went over my head.  I still continued in my role of food police, being the boss of Clara’s diet, after all, it was for her own good.

On another occasion, I was at a cookout with some other friends that I had not seen in some time.  I was catching up with an old friend Shirley, when she told me her mother had recently died and I was sorry I had not known earlier.  She proceeded to tell me about the day her mother died and how that day had some happy memories for her.  Her mother’s health had been failing and they knew she wouldn’t be around much longer, so they made her favorite meal.  Shirley went on to relate how delighted her mother was and how much she enjoyed that meal, and later that night fell asleep and never woke up.  Shirley felt good about her mother dying peacefully.  In my mind, I could understand giving her a meal that medically would not be considered good for her, she was down to her last days, and as it ended up, her last day.  To me, I could not consider doing that for Clara.  That would compromise her deteriorating health even more.  In my heart I felt I was doing right by Clara and there was no other way.

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