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Caring for Your Parents

Chapter 8: Priscilla and Happy [4:49]

"Watch over me."

As Happy grows frailer, Priscilla considers her role as primary caretaker. It wasn't her plan, but she's made peace with it.

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Transcript 

Chapter 8: Priscilla & Happy "Watch over me."

Guest:  

What a beautiful cake, nanny. 

Guests:  

Happy Birthday to you.  Happy Birthday to you...  

...Happy Birthday dear Nanny, Happy Birthday to you. 

Hurray! 

NARRATOR:

HAPPY IS 91...SHE'S STILL LIVING IN HER OWN HOME...  

SON-IN-LAW:  

Can we get a picture of everybody behind Nanny? 

NARRATOR:

THE FAMILY IS HERE...INCLUDING THREE OF HER CHILDREN... 

...PRISCILLA, PEGGY AND JOHN ...JOHN LIVES NEARBY BUT ISN'T AS INVOLVED WITH HAPPY AS HIS SISTER.

PRISCILLA:

I think it falls on the shoulders usually of a daughter. We females are supposed to be more nurturing types than males. 

NARRATOR:

AND PRISCILLA LIVES CLOSEST TO HER MOTHER... 

HER OLDEST  SISTER LIVES IN MASSACHUSETTS...MARY LIVES IN NEW YORK...AND THE YOUNGEST PEGGY LIVES IN CONNECTICUT...

PEGGY--:

I have a full time job which makes it a little hard to be down here all the time, but I do talk to her on the phone every afternoon.  And we have nice chats and one of the nice things, two nice things about our chats on the phone, is that she always says to me,  "I just love it when you call and we can chat, and the other thing is, I always tell her I love her and she tells me the same thing. So what more can you ask for?

NARRATOR:

AND PRISCILLA WAS FINE WITH THAT ARRANGEMENT , UNTIL LAST YEAR...WHEN HAPPY HAD A SEIZURE... 

PRISCILLA:

After her seizure, when it really got intense, I think that's when I felt like saying, "You know, hey.  Get down here.  I mean, I wasn't meant to do this.  How come I caught the rotten tomato?"

Do you want a little piece of cheese? 

HAPPY:  

No. 

PRISCILLA:  

Cracker? 

HAPPY:  

No. 

PRISCILLA:  

But then I got over it which was the only choice I had. 

I also think it's kept her alive because I know her so well. 

NARRATOR:

HAPPY HAS A PROBLEM THE STAFF CAN'T FIX...A BLEEDING WOUND ON HER LEG...SHE NEEDS TO BE SEEN BY A SPECIALIST.. 

PRISCILLA:  

Oh it's terrible. It's very depressing to her. What happens is the skin becomes so thin; it's like parchment paper or something. 

She woke up one morning and there was blood all over the bed and she had kicked her leg, her shin with the heel of her other foot, that's all it took.

Dr. Steve is coming in to see you. 

He's our friend. 

HAPPY:  

I know. 

PRISCILLA:  

He's the one that you gave the painting to... 

HAPPY:  

I'd say so.  

PRISCILLA:  

That's right, that was the end of the first wound.

CASE MANAGER:

This is new--that, that and that. 

HAPPY'S DOCTOR:

Some gauze please. 

CASE MANAGER:

That, and that and that is new. 

HAPPY'S DOCTOR:  

Yeah.  

CASE MANAGER:

Oh boy. 

HAPPY'S DOCTOR:  

And this wound has a rough wound bed to it but I think it's okay like it is, I don't think it needs any surgical debreedment.  

PRISCILLA:  

Oh good. 

HAPPY'S DOCTOR:

We would report any swelling if you see it... 

PRISCILLA:  

Yeah? 

HAPPY'S DOCTOR:

And any other sign of infection, more redness more pain, swelling, fever. 

HAPPY:  

Prissy?  

PRISCILLA:  

Yeah? 

HAPPY:  

Watch over me. 

PRISCILLA:  

Oh, I'm watching over you.  Yes.

She said, "Watch over me..." It's so hard.  She hasn't quite said that before, but she has other things.  I think she's really, she's close to the end.  She knows.