today i took my mom to the doctors appointments, just like she would have done many times before, the only difference being that i am now leading her in,to the world of curved corridors and endless chains of chairs. fortunately, instead of taking her twice to the hospital,they were able to rebook her later appointment for this morning,
so im happy to oblige!
just typical routine tests: bone density scan and mammogram. like a good immigrant child, i was happy to be there to make things easier. ive been bringing granny to appts while i was still living in town. just a bit easier as mom's steps are a bit lighter than granny's. it may seem as a nuisance- to follow someone around to translate may be a few minutes of the test while the test and related waiting could take hours and hours. but i cant say anything when i still remember the time i broke my left arm for the first time in canada and was sent to children's hospital. terms and words, garbled sounds, like bad radio connection. loud and useless, even imposing.
as a young teenager still in enormous pain (comminuted fracture-dislocation), i was absolutely terrified. the shoulder had to be reset but to do that, they needed to hold to my arm, which was broken in multiple pieces. dilemmas. i dont remember what they ended up doing, just memories of welling tears and a desperate wish for it to all end soon. what was meant as probably encouragement and kind words from the ER people turned into this enormous stressor that totally cracked me. i certainty wasnt openly crying when i arrived but by the quasi-closed curtained area of drafty ER, i bawled like a kicked puppy. yelp. help.
remembering that, even if it's a routine test, i would like to be there for mom and granny, or whoever really. no one needs additional pain from feeling lost, ignorant and consequently inferior. esp. if the situation can be fixed so easily by couple words, literally. at least these tests are bloody simple.
as mom went back and forth from change room to little labs, carrying her jacket, i couldnt help notice the simple fact that i am somehow taller than her. mom who lead me by the hands to the doctors, for vaccines and tummy aches, occasional colds and broken skins, who i had to look up and half-dash to keep up, was a small middle-aged asian lady, somewhat tired and worn from the years of hard labour, now slightly anxious about the test however smiling and nodding, as best as she could. oh mom.
she was not the glorious mother you see in the paintings of madonna and child. she is not the fashionable and trendy lady you see in the magazines with perfectly polished children. though i do love her dearly and would be hard pressed to be anything else but a child of her brood, objectively, she was another lady going through the annual health check-up. small, worn, hands being scratchy from all the dryness, eyes intensely focused on the technicians, listening to instruction hoping to not lose any words, any details. she was that little child in the hospital, half-lost and half-amazed. with sprinkle of slight shame that she needed the help to be there. but mom, really, i was there for only the technical translation. you did not need any other help. lemme give it to you, like a small child offering her mom a piece of orange, peeled with such enthusiasm that they are kinda squished.
she said frequently throughout the morning about her displeasure about me leaving prior to the holidays. with hint, a smear of sadness. ooh and a small dislike for my army flack jacket that has miraculously survived at least 17 years or abuse.
'that jacket is still good? amazing.'
'i know. you used to wash it every wk hoping it will fall apart, haha.'
'why do you leave now? even the ones who are faraway are returning..'
'well mom, that means someone had to go somewheres while someone stayed at some place. you can come or go, so inst. of staying for christmas, as i have done for 16-17 years, rather than have the show be dumbed down, i may as well then go, as im not coming to the eve mass!'
(mom, i already made plans and bought my ticket to get to europe for the holidays yes, and i am sorry i wont be there. not because anyone would miss my music, but because you wanted me to be there but i wont be. baby jesus can use some rest and silence, i swear!)
my mom- a small child was taken care by small child- an adult now. and like everything in time, things will always progress forward, and she, like the shadow that gets further from the light, will go far, far, far away, a bit thinner and a bit smaller with each day.
all i wanted to do was to hold her after the appts were over. good job mommy. you were awesome. let's go get hot chocolates before we board the car. but i couldnt do that.
i did however, successfully obtain chalky hot chocolates. for two small children, heads together.