Mom is 86 years old and lives in a six-bed nursing home called a RCFE, or Residential Care Facility for the Elderly, better known as a Board and Care. Although she is in the highest risk population for contracting and dying from Covid-19, her care home is small and well run, and the staff are adhering to the strictest guidelines to prevent infection. This means no visitors at all are allowed inside the facility. I tried to use the iPhone to Facetime with her and it was a total disaster. Even when the iPhone was held for her, her 1950s-era analog brain could not process the idea that my smiling face speaking out of that teeny-tiny TV was really me, and she was unable to interact. So I went back to visiting in person, but with safeguards. Her room fortunately has a sliding glass door that opens to a wooden deck. I sit outside on the deck with the sliding glass door closed. I phone into the house and the staff gives the phone to Mom. A conventional telephone she understands. She can hear me through the phone and see me through the glass. It’s not perfect, but like videoconferencing, it’s better than nothing. Mom’s health has declined greatly since last November when she had a small stroke. Likely she is not going to be with us that much longer. Maybe what will take her will be a second stroke, or a heart attack, or liver failure, or some other unpreventable cause. But I sure am trying my hardest to make sure it is not Covid-19.
Submitted by Margaret Ma, Santa Clara County
Editor’s Note: This is one of a series. The links to all twelve parts are: Syllabus, Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3, Lesson 4, Lesson 5, Lesson 6, Lesson 7, Lesson 8, Lesson 9, Lesson 10, and Final Exam.