“You made it!,” she exclaims, genuinely happy that I am there.
“Sure mom, you know I told you I’d be here for you.”
Then the interrogation begins.
“So, mom, did you bring all your pill bottles for the doctor to see?”
“Well yes, I have all the ones I have been taking.” She dives deep into her purse, plucking each one out and setting them by the magazines strewn haphazardly on the waiting room table.
A bit concerned, I probe further.
“Are you not taking all the medications your doctor prescribed you?”
“Well, I did stop the one that I think is making my hair fall out.”
“How long ago did you stop that one?"
“Oh, I think a few months ago. I just figured I’d tell her when I saw her today. Right?”
I'm beginning to wonder: Have I become the helicopter daughter who tries too hard to make the most of my mom's twenty-minute appointment? Have I become a theater director, tweaking each line of my mom's script to maximize her performance?
But I continue: “Mom, let’s look at your list of questions to ask the doctor."
“List? I don’t have a list. I just want her to sign my pharmacy rebate coupon. I certainly can remember that.”
Our conversation continues as I struggle with which role I should play: doctor, daughter, or parent.
Then we sit quietly for a few minutes before the receptionist door opens, and the nurse calls her in.
“Let’s go, Mom, I think you’re ready now.” And the performance begins.
Jo Marie Reilly
South Pasadena, California