Ok so many of you already know this, but I have a friend who is 92. Her name is Elma, and she is my neighbor. We met in our ward when we were paired together to be visiting teaching companions. She is a very sweet, and I have been known to spend quite a bit of my time with her.
Well yesterday she invited me to a lunch at the Senior Center that was honoring all those over 90. The party had already started when we got there, but the people hosting it quickly brought over a corsage and took her picture, and she was just beaming! When we sat down to our seats, the man across from me immediately hocked up a big wet and slimy something from his mouth and spat it out onto the remains of his dinner. (I was just so excited to eat!)
Then they brought us our lunch, and I was pretty disappointed. It looked like noodles with canned dog food on top, and it smelled like it too. So I picked at the MOUND of corn on my plate and pretended to get "so full"...you can do that around old people because they have small appetites, and they don't really notice how little you eat, but more if you eat too much. (Last time we had lunch I was so miserable because Elma gave me a lecture on drinking water while I ate so I felt bad for drinking water, and anyone who knows me knows I drink a TON of water while I eat, it helps me wash the taste out of my mouth so my food doesn't mix.)
Anyway back to lunch, I was "finished" with my lunch, even though I was starving inside, and to keep myself from throwing up I had to dispose of my food STAT. So I gathered: my plate of dog food, my roll that they put on the table instead of a plate, my bowl of orange jello with the mixed fruit on top (I absolutely HATE jello), my white cake with orange goo dessert that wasn't tempting at all, and my carton of 2% milk, which I don't drink because it's too thick, and I walked to the garbage can. Then I came back, and the man sitting across from me, (the one who spit up on his plate) looked down at his plate, then looked at me, then back at his plate. So I asked "Would you like me to take your plate" and he smiled and said yes. So I gathered his plate, and took that to the garbage, then I walked back to my table and the two men next to him looked down at their plates and back to me, and then back to their plates. So I offered to take their plates as well.
As I walked back to the table to join Elma, she had gotten up and was walking towards her friends table. At first I thought she was going over to talk to them, but then I saw her face, and it was about as red as her jacket, and I knew something was wrong. So I ran over to her, and could see that she wasn't getting any air. So I jumped behind her and proceeded to attempt the Heimlich on this frail 92 year old, and screaming for someone to come and help
"SHE'S CHOKING! SHE'S CHOCKING someone PLEASE, SHE's CHOKING" and all I got in response were blank stares. Everyone was completely oblivious to me and to Elma, including her friend who we were standing directly behind when this happened. And all she said was "Oh everyone Elma is here to say hi!" I thought to myself THIS CANNOT BE HAPPENING! WHY doesn't anyone notice this! Why am I the only one doing something!
Then Elma started coughing so I stopped my "attempt" at the Heimlich. She still couldn't breath, so we walked outside, and because she started coughing, people finally noticed that something was just not right. A man in his 50's (probably their with an older parent) came and helped me take her outside to get some air.
She kept coughing for about ten minutes, and then it finally slowed down, so we went inside, and sat her back down. Then people said to me, oh is she alright, when clearly she was because she was sitting right there.
I just couldn't believe this happened. I guess they are used to the coughing, the hacking the staggered walk, that is all common place when you are 90. Or maybe no one could hear me over all the "racket" (in Elma's words) that the grand piano was making. Or perhaps there responses slowed. But it was just one of those things I hope I never have to go through.
She finished her lunch, and visited with her friends and I took her home.