Miller Time

Bedside (9)

UNITED STATES—"The first thing I heard about mom's fall, where she broke her hip, I was pinioned by grief both for her and Tatiana." Davy squirms in the diner booth, removed from bedside. "What does pinioned mean?" Karen, his sister, asks. "Oh, a fancy word for crucified... It happened just like Tatiana's premonition. She came in the morning and there was mom...

Bedside (8)

UNITED STATES—"Are you going to stay the night?" says the mother. Hers is the last bed in the room that has a light on over the headboard of the hospital bed. "Don't go changing the subject," says the son. "I didn't know there was a subject," the mother groans. "Can you do something about my head, so it can get comfortable?" "The...

Bedside (7)

UNITED STATES—"Oh oh oh oh, it's hurting," cries the mother. "Ouch, oh god, is there something you can do?" "It wasn't till a friend from college took me aside and said you don't have to answer every question. Some are rhetorical, some are facetious. What do we do now? Isn't that right? It blew my mind. Nobody ever pointed it...

Bedside (6)

UNITED STATES—"OK, when will you be back?" the mom says from her wheelchair to the parting figures of her caregiver and boyfriend. "Sunday afternoon," Tatiana calls back and then the glass doors shut behind her and Oscar. A serious looking woman in a gray knitted sweater and shouldering a handbag comes to close to the door and a harsh new...

Bedside (5)

UNITED STATES—His dog on a leash, Davy exits from the room, passing by the two other beds, one empty and the other occupied by a woman in catatonia. In the halls, there's a man in a wheelchair pushing himself along with his legs. Before Davy crosses to the gymnasium, cries reach his ears, "Nooo, I'm going to fall. I can't...

Bedside (4)

UNITED STATES—"I can't sleep," says the mom. "Is there something you can do for me? You haven't done anything for my leg." "Which leg?" says the son. "Oh, I don't know." "I haven't done anything for your leg? I only put a pillow under it. I only took a pillow out from under it. I rolled up a towel. I made you...

Bedside (3)

UNITED STATES—"Good afternoon," says a very tall man dressed in blue, a bit too cheerily. "You're the occupational therapist," says the son, remembering him from the day before. "Are you still trying to give my mom a new job?" The man in blue gives a forced smile. He's heard the joke before. "I train the patient to turn on a faucet, to open...

Bedside (2)

UNITED STATES—"What about my leg," says the haggard skull-like face floating just over the edge of the blanket. "You can't do anything about my leg?" "Yes. I can cut it off." The withered but rosy mom smiles from the hospital bed. "I don't really want that. Excuse me for sneezing. Do you have a kleenex." "I'll have to ask the nurse." "Should I...

Bedside

UNITED STATES—Scene: Smells. A dog would love this place and never leave. There are ripe smells and revolting smells. There are cooking food smells from the kitchen that emits salsa music when the swing door opens. There are smells of fresh nurses reporting to work. From wide ajar doors escapes the unmistakable, humbling effluvia of a bedpan being changed,...

Happier

UNITED STATES—We all wish each other a Happy New Year and the post modern among us cringe at the conformity of the cliche. But what do we do about increasing happiness? What can we do about it? Here are a few ideas to chew on: 1. Learn to take a step back and let things ride. People are really wound tight these...
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