My Mother In Law, the Musical

Posted by on Jun 3, 2008 in Mother in Laws | 0 comments

We needed a bit of comic relief around here, so when I got the call from my mother in law I was glad that my husband was out of the house, forcing her to talk to me. As always, her message for him was urgent and required immediate action. It’s a bit obscure as to exactly how we were supposed to help, but I listened attentively. I noticed right away that she had a new favorite word, excruciating. She was in excruciating pain from her “groins to her toe”. Although the doctors tell her otherwise, she knows it must be gout because of the excruciating pain. Sometimes the pain jumps from over to her other foot and it is, excruciating. I know that jumping gout is the very worse sort and I felt that if I was a good daughter in law I should offer to supply her with a few more adjectives. How about agonizing, intolerable, unbearable, unendurable, insufferable, or unspeakable? Well, I guess unspeakable might not work for her after all.

Between the news of her imminent death she related that she has a new “wheelbarrow”, which is hopefully nursing home slang for a walker with wheels. Even so, she has not been able to use it for a week because the nurses at the home have told her that she is not to “set her foot on the floor”. “Now how,” she asks me rhetorically, “am I going to go to the toilet if I can’t put my foot on the floor?” Well, I allowed as to how that would be difficult and asked if they could bring her a bedpan. “Bedpan!” she shrikes, “Bedpans have gone out of style!” While I sat gobsmacked by this revelation she continues, “Anyway, they put one under me and the pain was (wait for it) excruciating!” She continues to talk in explanation points about the woes of her life, and indeed, the burdens of Job do not compare to all she must deal with.

Margaret is the sort of person who, upon hearing that your arm had been bitten off by a shark, would look at you in disgust and say, “Well at least your arm is gone. Mine is causing me such excruciating pain I can’t even use a fork. I don’t know why you don’t come up here and help me eat. You don’t even care if I starve to death, do you?” It wouldn’t end there either. She would go on for a bit, trying to lay down as much guilt as possible while I sat there with my bloody nub. In other words, empathy is not her strong suit.

She muttered a few words about her husband, perhaps the source of her ire, as he has pretty much checked out mentally leaving her with all the responsibility for everything in the universe, which of course, contains only Margaret. It seems like he has been relegated to the “special” dining room because he is unable to eat without turning over glasses of juice and milk and dropping food. It has fallen on her shoulders to tell him the terrible news since no one else, his son for example, has any concern about him, by which she means concern for her. I told her I would be thinking about her and she ranted for a bit about the fact that I did not write and tell her so, and then she told me she had to go now and call Cousin Keith to let him know all this critical information too.

I got off the phone and started telling my daughter the story of the call. She was a bit depressed about her life when we started, but by the time I got to the wheelbarrow she was roaring with laughter. My husband came in and we continued to discuss the latest gospel according to Margaret and I made up a little song about bedpans. Everyone chimed in with additional verses and we realized we had a hit on our hands. I mean, the boomers are aging and they grew up on musicals, so a light opera set in an old folk’s home should be just the ticket. I think the title should be obvious:


I’ll get back to you on casting calls.

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