Conversations with Dementia: The Leaky Kitchen Sink
The sink is leaking. I stopped Michelle from pointing it out to Mama this morning just as she opened her mouth to repeat what Mama, thank God, didn’t hear the first time. After dinner, Rebecca and I notice there is water puddling in the cupboard under the sink. While Mama gets ready for bed, Rebecca and I clean up it up and take the linoleum liner out to the deck so the cupboard can dry. Mama comes in, and we hustle to get it back together so she won’t notice, knowing she will obsess over it and she has already had an upsetting day. But we inadvertently leave a basket of cleaning supplies in the sink and it’s too late to move it without being obvious. We aren’t worried, she is just heating her rice bags in the microwave and has no reason to walk over to the sink. She walks over to the sink. “Damn it,” I breathe. Rebecca tells her it is leaking a little, but we are taking care of it.
“You don’t know what needs to be done,” Mama snaps, “turn off the dishwasher!”
It is clearly the sink faucet that is leaking, but Rebecca obliges.
Rebecca says she will call her plumber. She tells Mama he will probably call in the morning. She goes home and I go downstairs.
I return upstairs when I hear Mama in the kitchen. Wearing her nightgown and walking shoes, she has her head under the sink peering around with a flashlight.
“You didn’t put the bucket in the right place,” she says.
“We put it the only place it could go and still catch the drip, which it is doing,” I say.
“And the pipe is wet,” she says.
“Yes, that’s why there is a bucket.”
“We should turn off the water,” she says.
“It’s just a slow drip,” I say. “It will be fine.”
“And the bottom of the cabinet needs to dry.”
“That’s why the linoleum is outside and the cupboard doors are open.” I tell her the plumber called and will come on Monday. “He said we did everything right. It’s not an emergency, the bucket will catch the drip until he comes.”
“I thought he was going to call tomorrow,” she says.
Tomorrow I’m going hiking.