Now that I'm spending hours most days at Mom's bedside, Ana and I are getting to know each other a little better. On the day when my mother was particularly bad, Ana wheeled herself over and babbled on in Italian for quite a while. I had no idea what she was saying, but the tears in her eyes as she patted my mother's feet through the blankets told me all I needed to know. The nurses also tell me that when something goes wrong with Mom, Ana is the one who rings her bell to summon them, something my mother could never manage.
Yesterday the mood was quite a bit lighter as Mom's fever had lifted and when she did wake up she was cheerful, if inaudible. She even expressed an interest in food (!) so off I went to score a plate of mush from the amazing aides, most of whom come from Haiti and who enjoy making fun of my French. They deserve a page of their own and they will get it soon. But when I came back to the room, there was Ana sitting at Mom's bedside table with a plate in front of her filled with cheese and crackers and a banana. I had nowhere to put the tray in my hand, and I thought she had confused Mom's table for her own and tried to delicately inform her of this in my best Puccini. But eventually I figured out with hand gestures and head noddings that the plate was for me. She had prepared a snack for me. It was my turn to fill up with tears. What a lovely gesture. And I learned a new word. "Formaggio"