I returned to the land of my nativity (as my dad calls it) to watch my youngest sister while my parents were away. (on a cruise, mind you). Well, let's just say I had a most eventful stay during those 3 days in Miami.
Day 1. Sarah and I went to my grandmother's Christmas dinner at her home, Palace Gardens. While there, we were seated with two other elderly women. It was time to get some drinks from a localized table, so my sister and I took the orders as these women were not very mobile themselves. I turned to Miss Grace Lucy:
Me: "What can I get you to drink?"
Me: "Ok, sure, what kind?"
GL: "Soda... but not soda."
Me: "Ohhh, do you want punch?"
GL: (shakes head in the negative): "Soda... but... NOT soda."
Me: "Do you mean 'diet'? or a Sprite perhaps?"
GL: (getting frustrated at not being able to communicate what she really wants) Eyes start to fill up. She shakes her head, and starts twisting her hands.
I pat her hand and tell her I'll get her something. My plan is to bring one of each of the beverages to her, and have her choose from there.
This I do, but alas, no response. Then I realize, wait-- there was wine on that beverage table! I turn to Miss Grace.
Me: "Would you like some wine?"
I have never seen a man or woman light up with such joy and recognition and desire. She grabs my hands and vigorously nods her head up and down, up and down.
GL: "YES!!! Soda, but not soda!!"
Happy that I finally cracked the code, I go to get this lovely woman her glass of wine. When I place it before her, her eyes tear up again, but this time from the recognition of a familiar friend who has been absent for too long. She takes a sip, rolls her eyes in pleasure, and then turns to me.
GL: "Ttthhannk you; you... are...beautiful." she stammers this as she pats my hands for the second time.
I swell with inner pride for my good deed of the day. I was just thinking about all the good I could do for the poor, sad people in nursing homes, when this strange woman steps up to our table.
Woman (to GL): "You know I love you Miss Grace; but I have to take away your wine." (At this point, Miss Grace looks like her world has just caved in.)
Woman again: "You can't have alcohol with your medicine..."
OH. MY. WORD. It hits me then: basically, I just almost killed this sweet old woman. It had never dawned on me that they would be on drugs, and apparently, it's not usually a good idea to mix medicines and wine.
Later on we heard that they had pulled all the wine off the beverage tables. Apparently some residents (somehow) were getting into the bottles, so now no one was to have any.