‘What’s going on?’ Isabella asked, feeling the icy tension in the hospital room. She placed a lovely bouquet of flowers on my table, and leaned in to give me a hesitant kiss on the cheek.
‘Mum is refusing to let us modify her bath so she doesn’t hurt herself,’ my oldest son, John said, as way of greeting.
‘Say hello to your sister,’ I scowled at him. ‘I raised you better than that.’
He raised a hand in a half-hearted wave, and she returned it with a smile.
‘Been here long?’ she asked him.
‘About five minutes,’ he sighed, and she laughed.
‘I’m here too!’ Anthony, my youngest, grinned, pushing himself through the door. ‘Parking is a nightmare here.’
‘You didn’t pay for parking?!’ I said, mortified. ‘God, for me? This is ridiculous. All of you, head home now. You have lives and families to worry about.’
‘We’re here for you, Mum,’ Isabella rolled her eyes. ‘Make your peace with that please, or this is going to be painful for all of us.’
‘As painful as being told you need to have bath tub modifications designed for seniors?’ I shot back across the room.
‘Bit dramatic, don’t you think?’ John rolled his eyes. ‘How can it be anything but a good thing?’
‘It’s embarrassing!’ I shouted in a hushed whisper. ‘Your family thinking you’re an invalid!’
‘We don’t think that, Mum,’ Anthony said, leaning awkwardly against the end of the bed. ‘We’re just worried that you aren’t in the best position to look after yourself at the moment.’
‘That’s the definition of an invalid,’ I scowled.
‘You don’t have to do anything, Mum,’ Isabella said, trying the reasonable approach. She leant over and grasped my hand gently. ‘We’ll just look into the bath tub conversion options around Sydney and give you a few choices. We’ll see what works for you.’
‘How about “leave me alone”?’ I pondered sarcastically. ‘I think that works best for me.’
‘Your x-ray disagrees,’ John piped up, and I shot him a withering glare. He met it easily, and I was once again forced to confront myself in his face.
‘Dammit,’ I sighed under my breath.