I was young then, starting out at the hospital, on medication rounds at 7 am, ready to pop some nice shiny pills into this old woman’s mouth. She was chewing; toothless, never-ending, side-to-side cow-like. The same way my grandmother chewed air—for hours.
“Hey,” I said, losing patience. “Open up.” She garbled something through the chewing. “Open,” I said. “Pills.” I saw something in her mouth, white, a tissue? “Spit it out,” I said, slipping a rubber glove on and putting my fingers in her mouth. “Give it.” She gummed my fingers. I forced her chin down and swept the goo out with a finger. I held the foamy blob before my eyes, watching it run down my glove.
“That was…the body…of Christ.” She said.
I turned my head in time to see the priest in the room across the hall placing a wafer on an old guy’s tongue.
“Oops.” I said.
She shed a tear.