Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spanish Chicken

Scene: Lounge room, 10am. Mrs Sanders is in there, staring at the silent TV, while the radio blares an unrelated noise beside it. I've found her in here in the past with only one or the other turned on. She becomes quite agitated, asking me to turn them both on, because "they work together". But today, they're both on, so she'll be fine.

I've become used to starting all interactions with her in a similar way. It tends to go over easier if you throw on an enormous smile and look thrilled to see her. So this is how I usually begin these days.

"Hello Sunshine! I've brought you some tea! And a biscuit!"
"Ohhh! Thank you pet!" (beams with happiness)

Skip forward a couple of hours, to lunch time. We always serve their lunch as they arrive, and then take orders for the following day. Every day there is a roast of some description, plus a casserole-type item as an alternative. No matter what they call it, it's casserole. But the word "casserole" seems to imply it's boring, so the caterers get creative. We have Navarin of Lamb (lamb and herb casserole), Meditteranean Chicken (chicken casserole), Beef Chasseure (beef casserole). You get the idea. It's more exotic and interesting if you change the word away from casserole, etc. For the less "refined" residents, foreign words in their food are completely useless, because they have no idea what we're offering. We usually translate it back from Mexican Pork Hot Pot to just plain old Casserole, for them. Marjorie is one of the ones I always translate it for.

So today I start like always, with a huge smile. "Hello Mrs Sanders!"
"Hello Pet!" (beams with happiness)
"Here's your lunch, Mrs Sanders."
"YOU CAN PUT IT THERE! (screaming, pointing to the floor) HE'S HOT! (motions to an apparently nasty person in the empty chair beside her)"
"Alright then, I'll put the plate here at this chair." (she grabs the plate and scowls.)

It's obviously almost Time for her visit to hospital. When she's like that we generally just try to appease her and keep her happy. Forward five minutes. I took her order last, considering she was in such a volatile mood.

"Mrs Sanders, would you like Pork Casserole or Spanish Roast Chicken for lunch tomorrow?"


She was just furiously angry now. I stepped backwards. She's never ever indicated she might hit me or anyone else. It's just a conditioned reaction to expect violence from someone so angry, I guess.

Marjorie was spluttering and almost had steam coming out her ears. "The Spanish are in my wardrobe!!!!!!!!!!!" she yelled.

I was fairly confident that indicated her decision as being the Pork Casserole. Before I got a chance to simply tick that and move away, her face relaxed its fury and she took on a determined look.

...I'll have Spain."

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