The nurse is rushed but friendly and directs me to a station on the fifth floor. I walk the hallways to the elevator banks, passing the art and the directions and all the confusing signs that make this look like home and not home, an ordinary office and not an office, a hive humming with its own community and a last stop.
I haven't been good at asking for things, any kind of things, but here I tell myself that people are here to help people like us.
And they do.
I return to Mom's room with a list of nearby buildings that rent furnished apartments, month-to-month, and I'm feeling a little good about taking the initiative. I did something! Becky's as surprise as I am--it's a step she'd usually take, and it makes me realize how crushed and busy she's been, stretched between Mom and the illness and her family and then me gone so far away.
"We can take a look maybe tomorrow," I add.
"We'll have to see how Mom's doing--although they tend to boot you out so fast these days, we may need a place right away."
We each pick up our needles again. The clock does not compromise.