Lynne called. “I’ve got COVID.”
“I’m sorry,” I said, startled. “But you’re healthy, good lung capacity…. Hey, wait a minute. Nobody’s called me. Someone would have called me. I’m going to hang up and call you back.”
The concierge confirmed no residents tested positive and they’ll test again in a week. Following those results over time they could remove restridtions. I gave Lynne the good news. She was happy with that. We chatted a while. She said, “I can’t stop crying.”
Her camera wasn’t on so I couldn’t see her. She kept fumbling with it until she turned it on. She was pleased with herself. The chair was not in front of the Facebook Portal so I couldn’t see her. She started crying. “This COVID thing,…..”
“Of course you cry. You’re in a lockdown.”
“I feel like a baby.”
“It’s healthy to cry. You’ve got music. You can tell Alexa to play music.”
“What music do you want?”
“Alexa, play Lyle Lovett.”
Alexa did. Lynne stood up and danced. I saw half of her dance. She sang the lyrics and danced to her bed. And she cried again and sat down.
“Lynne, I can’t see you.”
She moved the chair over. She told Alexa to stop. She saw my face. “What happened to your nose?”
How did she spot that, I wondered.? I had a bandaid because my sleep machine rubbed my the paper-thin skin on my nose and caused it to bleed until it scabbed over. When I saw it in the morning I was too sleepy to know what it was until I picked it off. It beld because I take blood thinner so I taped it tight to stop the bleeding. She doesn’t miss a thing.
We chatted. The TV wasn’t on and it was time to go, so we hung up.
She woke me up at 10:15 pm with a staff caregiver because Lynne was sad. I tld him the Alexa was off because I couldn’t drop in on her. It was unplugged. I told him tennis was on TV so he looked for the remote and to find the channel manually. I turned on my TV. She and I watched tennis like Karen and I used to do. We talked about Serena’s hair. I said it looked like a mop on top of her head. She said, “Its’s beautiful. It’s purple.”
It was purple. We shared memories when she played doubles tennis in high school and won fifth in the state championshp. I couldn’t remember her partner’s name. “Sophit. She came over here to play tennis.”
“You have a better long term memory than I do.”
She laughed. “Dad…”
We talked until we were past tired and decided to go to bed. Nothing had worked quite right: thinking she has COVID, forgetting she could turn on music, unpluging echo, tutning off the video camera, crying, calling me after I went to sleep, wanting to go to bed but unable to without caregiver help and afraid to go out the door to ask.
I told her I’d call the concierge. We hung up. The concierge said she’d go right up and get her in bed.
I tell myself to remember we chatted, we laughed, we cried, we danced, we watched tennis, we shared memories and we persisted.