My lady Miss Evie staged her own death today. I had heard about this performance but until now had not experienced it first hand. Here is how it went down:
I already knew she was awake because she had gotten up to use the bathroom a mere 15 minutes prior, and had given me a look. I went in to see if she was ready to get up.
Instead of the accustomed sight of her curled on her side lined in pillows, I saw her flat on her back with her hand thrown over her forehead in the universal sign of "Woe is Me!" In two years I've never seen her flat on her back so that was a big moment right there.
I said good morning and she didn't answer, she just lifted her hand a wee bit and fluttered her fingers at me.
"Are you all right?" I asked.
"I don't know!" came her tremulous voice.
"What's the matter?" I asked.
"Oh, the usual."
"What usual would that be?"
"My heart palpitations. I think I'm dying."
I'm pretty sure that my own heart palpitations started up right about then. But rather than lie down beside her and die on the spot, I decided to tough it out. I grabbed her wrist and checked her pulse.
Mind you, I haven't the faintest inkling how to check a pulse. I've just seen it on tv.
But I thought I should check and see if she had one anyway. All the while my mind is racing about what to do next. I was just sure there was nothing posted on the fridge about what to do in this situation. I already know she will flat out refuse to go to the hospital so I decided to delay the 911 call until I had further information.
I know the first order of the day is to get those pills in her, since one of them is a big fat Xanex that she takes for anxiety.
I ran and got her pills and water and asked her to sit up in bed a little bit so she didn't choke. She managed to drag herself semi-upright, but not without a lot of sighing and trembling.
I decided I'd better stick right by her so I pulled up a chair. When she saw I was preparing for a vigil, she demanded her coffee in bed.
This was when I knew that the worst was over. Who, on their deathbed, demands a cup of coffee--strong and black, no cream or sugar? I got her coffee and while I was at it, I got myself some too.
She took a sip and said, "It's too hot!" Normally, she just sets the cup down and waits a bit for it to cool, but apparently since she was moments from passing out of this earthly realm, she didn't have the time to wait. "Can't you put some water in it?" she asked peevishly.
I did one better and put some ice chips in it. I really wanted her to get some coffee in her! She looked at the rapidly melting ice like she was going to demand it's withdrawal henceforth, but then she relented and drank the coffee.
"Do you really think you are dying?" I asked her.
"Why NOT?" she said woefully. "Everybody's got to go sometime! I've had a full life."
I nodded wisely. I know this lady and I know she is a talker, so I knew it would just be a moment before it all came pouring out of her, and it did.
"Besides! I got a call from Dan last night and he's leaving for China this morning. You know I can't stand to have any of my family go on a trip! It's very upsetting for me. I can't help myself. I am sure I'm dying."
I let there be a pause for a moment and then I calmly stated, "If you die today, he'd have to cancel his trip."
She was completely taken aback. "I wouldn't want that! I wouldn't like that at all!"
"Well, you wouldn't really have any say in the matter if you were dead." I said reasonably. "He'd naturally cancel all his plans to stay home for the funeral of his beloved Grandma."
It took about two beats of her palpitating heart to sit up further in bed and demand her breakfast.
"I'll have my usual golden breakfast." she declared, "And don't ever put rice in my eggs again!"
No grain of rice has ever touched her breakfast eggs as far back as I can remember, so I knew that for today, at least, not only would she not be dying, she'd be up to her old tricks. Status Quo.