17 May 2007


between naps

yesterday i caught halmoni sneaking outside our shared room on all fours. bored, my 90-year-old grandmother was crawling towards the living room to interrupt my cousin's meeting. caught in the act, she pointed back to the room and asked with eyebrows raised, "go back?"

we drove to daegu last saturday to visit her yet somehow she came back with us. for the past week her presence has required 24/7 company and some juggling of schedules, since one slip or fall could precipitate a quick slide to death. that said, she isn't too disruptive. she spends the bulk of the day prostrate on a heated floor mat next to my bed drifting in and out of her naps while the tv blares at an elderly volume. periodically (less often than i'd predicted) she makes the 4-limbed slog towards the potty.

her physical frailty requires us to bathe her, wheel her around the apartment in an office chair, and fetch her dentures from tupperware filled with frothy blue water. her deteriorating mental state has her asking the same questions dozens of times, confusing tv dialogue with reality and accusing me of not making her breakfast until i point to her half-eaten plate of eggs- at which point she laughs. in other news, she told us about her daily trips to see friends at the sauna. five minutes later we ask for details and she says, "are you stupid? i can't go anywhere on these legs!"

it's appropriate that today i'm in korea feeding the woman who, when i was a toddler, fed me until i was bloated and crying. i like watching her laugh at the human-orangutan interactions on tv (she kinda resembles the latter). i also like being awakened in the middle of the night as her fingers, which lack the gentle dexterity of youth, clumsily yet lovingly tuck in my blankets.