Madeleine, Please Stop Groping the Staff

So.  I live to see another day.  Maddy eventually gave in to the sunlight streaming through her barred window and opened her eyes.

She rubbed her hands together, slowly bending the joints.  After several minutes she was able to place the heels of her palms and fingertips together, forming an almond-shaped cup; a flower frozen before its bloom.  The pain wasn’t searing today.  She brushed her hands over the sheets, then her body.  She hadn’t soiled herself in her sleep.  Small mercies.

“Would you like some help dressing this morning, Madeleine?” the orderly asked, as though there were a world of options.

“Only if you’ll join me for a sponge bath first.”

He’d been shocked when he first started at the retirement home.  Now he just went to get a co-worker.

She let them put her in a batwing muumuu.  Only a short time ago she’d have died before being seen in such a fashion crime.  Now, on the scale of indignities this one barely registered.


They stopped her wheelchair.

“My handbag.”

The orderlies exchanged a look and shrugged.

“No, the yellow one,” she said.  “To match my slippers.”  One must create style with the materials at hand.  She checked for her lipstick and powder compact.  They waited while she powdered her nose and painted her lips.

“This would go nicely with your outfit,” the second orderly pulled a Lucite necklace from her jewellery stand.  “Yellows and greens.”

Maddy smiled and nodded.  He bent over to fasten the clasp around her neck.  She smacked his buttocks.  Well, as much of a smack as her arthritic hands could deliver.

“Madeleine!” the first orderly cautioned.

“I know, I know,” she recited:  “Please stop groping the staff.”  She giggled until she lost her breath to a coughing fit.

They wheeled her into the dayroom where her friend Phyllis waved her over.  She was watching CNN with the volume muted.

“You should wear tighter trousers, Rodolfo.”

“That’s Tom.  Do you need new glasses, Maddy?” Phyllis asked.

“Shhh…they’re nicer when they think I’m missing a few marbles.”

“I hope they’re serving soft-boiled eggs with toast.”

“I should have run off with Tex when I had the chance,” Maddy sighed.  Wild as the desert wind.

“You’ve had a good life, Maddy,” Phyllis reminded her.  “Other women should be so lucky.”


“They finally replaced that awful margarine with real butter,” Phyllis said.

“About time.”  Maddy gazed out the window.

“Here come the breakfast trolleys!”

They leaned back from the table so the volunteer server could place napkins in their laps.

“French toast, omelette or oatmeal?”

“Whichever enhances my sex appeal most.”  The young server blushed deep red.  Maddy was watching the leaves swirling with scarlet dust from the dunes, and didn’t notice.


26 thoughts on “Madeleine, Please Stop Groping the Staff

  1. So. I live to read another draft.
    After several minutes he was able to energise th few measly crumbs a’ grey matter shiftin around ‘is noddle to realise that these amazing Posts r among th most compelling work produced in th blogosphere @ th mo.
    And so consistent as well – how does she do it? he wondered, clicking Post Comment too flabbergasted to even think about asking what th blazes is a “batwing muumuu”…?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for this most amazing compliment! I’m honored and humbled. I’ve been trying to adhere to a schedule and (knock wood) it’s working so far.

      Haha 🙂 Batwing muumuu — a most excellent question! The muumuu is a traditional Hawaiian dress, floral and colorful. Variations of this dress are everywhere and usually lacking the traditional appeal; instead, a shapeless long loose dress. These are the equivalent of wearing an old sweatsuit but easier to maneuver. Batwing sleeves first appeared in the 1950’s; the sleeves are cut very deep often around the waist area and tapering to the wrist. The effect is similar to a bat’s wing = batwing. They’re also known as dolman sleeves. I pondered the most unflattering clothing a formerly stylish woman could be subjected to, and came up with a “batwing muumuu”.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I love that! My experience was the opposite — I pictured her hands, flexed and stretched as much as her mobility allows. On a good day she can extend them just enough to form this shape. Almond-shaped was the most accurate description I came up with, and it happens to be more appealing than “oval” and the like.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience! I chose a female character for this story because a male would have been too easy…I wanted to look at what falls away when dementia sets in (or other brain function/impairment), or when societal norms no longer apply in the same way. I’ve never worked in a nursing home so I’m happy to learn that this story isn’t out of the ordinary — for the sake of the story’s integrity.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Glad to be of assistance. She also had a ‘boyfriend’ at the home and they would sit next to each other. She would have her hand down his trousers and he would have his up her dress and they would sit there with huge grins on their faces.

        Liked by 1 person

                  1. I thought it was funny at the time! After I moved one of the men to another table, I had to briefly exit the dinning hall because I was about to piss myself laughing right there. It was fortunate that neither of them had a cane, though.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. Why can’t we all just get along, lol. Was the duel over a woman or the remote control? Maybe they knew each other from before…. Yes, and at least they didn’t decide to play chicken with the wheelchairs.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    1. Actually it wasn’t that bad. I do know of one lady care assistant who got hit by a man and nearly knocked her out. As for me, it was only scratches from ladies, although on one occasion, one lady drew blood.

                      Liked by 1 person

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