We were in the produce department. A display of personal watermelons caught Ma's eye.
"Get me one of those."
After much nudging and the fact Ma had some sort of a spell on Sunday, Dad finally called the doctor to tell him about Ma's visions. The doctor requested Dad make an appointment for Ma and I was to come along too.
The only thing I could think of was the doctor would talk about long-term care facilities. Why else would he want me to attend this meeting? After all, I've been driving Miss Daisy for three years and he's never asked to see me before.
The appointment was for Tuesday at noon. When I arrived, Ma was just eating breakfast and then she had to spend the time cleaning up the kitchen. Cleaning is a classic OPD delay technique. Obviously, she was nervous as she was crabbing at Dad and me.
"We can't leave if the house is dirty," Ma grumped as she scrubbed the table.
It's one of Ma's classic mantra's. Ranks up there with having to wear clean underwear in case you're in an accident.
Course, it didn't help Dad kept hissing at her not to tell the doctor about the men in the yard or the fact that she had the God-given gift of being able to see through walls.
"They'll put you away!"
I wasn't sure whether Dad was giving her a warning or wishful thinking.
We were late for the appointment though the doctor as usual was running behind. After a 15 minute wait, he called us into the exam room.
He looked at me and asked if Ma was taking the thyroid pills.
"No," I said while in the same space of time Ma said, "Yes."
"Which is it?"
"I'm taking my pills," Ma said emphatically.
I touched the tip of my nose and pulled my hand forward. Pinnochio's nose is growing. After a brief interrogation Ma admitted she had been taking the pills since Sunday.
The doctor made the uhhum, I see kind of doctor noise and then pulled a scratch pad of paper and began a diagram and medical school lecture about the function of the thyroid. How the pituitary gland in the brain, sends a signal to the butterfly shaped thyroid at the base of the Adam's apple to produce TSH, thyroid stimulating hormone.
Boiled down, the thyroid and hormones control other body systems, like the heart. Without sufficient amounts of TSH in the system, functions begin to deteriorate and the patient may experience auditory and visual hallucinations.
"It's called Myxedema Madness." The doctor beamed with his diagnosis.
I was sitting there smiling politely, nodding in all the right places and wondering what the f...heck I was doing there. The doctor's next statement gave me a clue as to my function.
"You must make your mother take the thyroid pills."
"I don't live with them, and I don't live close by."
"I know, but you must make her understand."
There was more discussion how the latest pills he had prescribed were a stronger strength.
The gong sounded. I was here as the interpreter. I almost burst out laughing because I started thinking about the Three Stooges routine.
"Rasbany fiddy buddy uchy. This, how you say pickle puss, he asky tasky whats you got?"
The doctor looked at me expectantly.
Now, Ma is as deaf as a haddock. Actually, she's selectively deaf as a haddock, but I took my cue and turned towards her. Ma was looking at me, waiting for me to speak. I bent close to her ear:
THE DOCTOR WANTS YOU TO TAKE YOUR THYROID PILLS," I shouted.
Ma nodded. The doctor beamed at me.
More discussion concerning the color of the pills. We all became confused as to whether the old ones were white and the new ones yellow. The doctor charged me with taking the old pills from her so she couldn't take the remaining few.
At the house we argued the white pills were the old ones. The new bottle was empty. Watson come quick I need you. The old ones had a more recent date than the new ones. But the Rx indicated the old ones were of a higher dosage. I took the empty bottle.
The doctor had reassured us that as Ma built up her thryoid levels, the halluncinations would disappear. Like Auntie Rose would disappear, but I hope he's right. With the men in the yard, a woman and now a man and two small girls building a room over the garage, the little Weeble house is getting crowded.
Ma was convinced there was a box of animals or bugs in her closet. She took me into her room. The closet door was barricaded with some furniture and chairs.
Ma carefully slide the door open.
"I have to do this slowly because they fly up into your face," she whispered
Part of me knew there was nothing there. Part of me worried that Ma had seen a mouse or spiders. Part of me remembered she's using the room that was mine when I was little. I thought for a minute. No, I wasn't afraid of anything in the closet. I had an imaginery friend, Zippy (named after a stuffed monkey Himself had) who lived in the closet. Zippy didn't inspire fear even though his mouth looked like rick-rack. There was an alligator that lived under the bed, but I can't recall he ever relocated to the closet.
I cautiously peered over a chair. I knew if I saw a mouse or spider I was going to freak.
"See? In the box." She pointed to a rectangular object on the floor.
There was something on the floor. It could have been a box though it wasn't deep. The lid of a box perhaps. In the dark, I couldn't make out much.
"It's moving! See?"
"There's nothing moving Ma. It looks like a box of junk." I thought I saw a doll's head and maybe a leg or an arm. "Maybe some junk from the girls' dollhouses."
"Can't you see them moving?"
"There's nothing moving. I'll show you."
I reached into the closet to retrieve the box. Please God, don't let there be a dead mouse or a spider in here or I'll freak.
The object on the floor was a magazine. The doll's head was a picture of a woman bathing a dachshund in a sink. An ad for Kohler. I gave a nervous laugh mostly from relief.
"It's just a magazine. See? A Martha Stewart Living magazine.
Ma didn't look like she was convinced, but she dropped the subject.
All her men in the yard, animals in the fireplace and the closet started me down a rabbit hole of "what ifs" What ifs based on the old Twilight Zone episode Nightmare at 20,000 Feet starring William Shatner. If you don't remember the episode or were too young to ever see it, you can watch the You Tube synopsis.
What if Ma's right and the rest of us just can't see?