Hazel made her way back to her bed from the washroom. She grasped onto the handles of her walker and tried to remember exactly what her rehabilitation therapist had told her to do. Everything was so cloudy in her head.
How long had she been here? Months? She really couldn’t remember. Did she live here now? Where was Charlie? She wanted to go outside. Could she go outside? Her sister was supposed to visit today. No, her sister had passed away some time ago. Why didn’t Catherine bring the babies by anymore? She missed seeing the babies. She had babies…two…twins. Did they need to be fed? Where was Charlie? He must be at work.
“Mrs. Robertson, you’re doing so great! Look at you!” A man in a pair of green scrubs was in her room. He seemed very happy. He must be one of the new nursing students sent to work with her. It was such an odd thing working with male nurses, this must be new. Why wasn’t he wearing a proper uniform? Wait…where was she? Right…she was heading outside. There was gardening to do.
“The taxi is waiting to take you home. Did you have a bag ready?” The man had a wheelchair. Why did he have a wheelchair? Should she have a bag? She tried to ask him these questions out loud, but the words didn’t come. She just shook her head. There was no bag. “Where are your shoes?” The man asked. Hazel looked down at her feet. She had slippers on. Charlie must have brought them for her. Where was Charlie? Right! He was still at school. The students must be keeping him late tonight.
The man helped Hazel into the chair. Her legs hurt as she sat down. She grasped at her right leg and felt the warm familiarity of her favourite green housecoat. It comforted her. Was she going outside? She motioned over to the front hall of the house…to the closet…but it wasn’t there. Just a hospital bed. Where was her house? Where was her jacket? She needed a jacket. She tried to ask, but again, the words didn’t come out. Why couldn’t she speak? She started to panic, but felt herself getting very tired. Maybe she needed to rest. The twins took so much out of her these days.
Carefully, she was positioned into the car. “Is she going to be ok?” The cab driver asked, worried as he placed the walker that was brought down for Hazel into his trunk. “Yes, she’ll be fine. She’s going back to The Manor across town. Here is the address.” The man in the green scrubs passed a small piece of paper to the taxi driver with an address written on it. “Are they expecting her?” The driver asked. “Yeah, she has a husband there. That’s where she lives.” The driver studied the paper for a bit and looked over his shoulder a little hesitantly at Hazel. “You ok back there?”
Hazel was confused. Where was she going? She had questions, but couldn’t ask. She shook her head. She did not feel ok. “She’ll be ok, it’s only a fifteen minute ride.” The man in the green scrubs said. Hazel clutched at her housecoat. What an inappropriate state to be in, especially in front of these men. Bedroom clothes were not meant to be worn outside the home, and definitely not in front of strangers. She had a lovely new rose skirt, that would be more suitable. Where were the babies? Charlie would be back from work soon.
The driver was very quiet the entire way to the Manor. Hazel did not recognize the streets. Where were the county roads leading home? Where was the white church by the highway? This wasn’t her town. Was she going to the bus station? This looked like Edmonton. Why was she in the city?
“Well, here you are,” the driver said, pulling up to the front entrance of the building. Hazel wasn’t sure she recognized it. It looked familiar. Why? “Can you get out on your own?” Hazel nodded and rose to get up. Her wrists strained and her knees shook. Why couldn’t she get up properly? Oh! She had her slippers on. She thought that was very odd. The slippers were making her feet slip. Did she just wake up? Maybe she was still sleepy. “Here, I’ll give you a hand.” The driver reached out to Hazel as she took his arm and steadied herself outside of the car. Her walker was there. She grabbed onto the bar. That felt better.
“Well, you have a good day then.” The driver said, as he got back into the car. Hazel watched, confused as he drove away. What an odd day this was turning out to be. Her feet felt cold. She looked down. Why was she wearing slippers outside? Why was she in a housecoat? The cat must have gotten out again. She looked around her yard…but it wasn’t her yard. Where was she? The building loomed over her. Was this the new library? Maybe she would go in and see if they had the new Danielle Steele book in. She liked those stories.
“Hazel!” The receptionist rushed over to help her inside. “How did you get here? Where’s Charlie?” It was a very good question. Charlie was probably still outside playing with the children. Hazel motioned towards the yard, but saw some older people gathered around, staring at her. She tried to ask where she was. She could only shake her head. She felt dizzy. Maybe she needed to sit down.
“Did they just send her here?” Debra asked, making her way through the small crowd of concerned residents. “I saw a taxi pull up and it took me a moment to recognize that it was Hazel getting out and making her way inside.” The receptionist explained. And then, through a whisper added, “She looks so different now Debra.” Debra only nodded. “Did Charlie know they were sending her home today?”
“No, I did not!” Charlie shouted, practically running over to the commotion in the front lobby. “What the h-e-double hockey sticks is going on here?” Charlie looked around, infuriated, expecting an answer. Judging from the surprised faces of everyone else, there were no answers to give.
When we were brainstorming this week’s issue, it was interesting how many of us around the table have had an experience similar to this (either ourselves or a loved one).
Do you have a similar experience? How did today’s story make you feel? Please share your thoughts with us below.