Phoenix Jackson's main motivation for making the trip to the doctor's office is to get medicine for her grandson. She is so old that when she gets there, the attendant assumes she has come for herself. The nurse corrects the attendant, saying that "old Aunt Phoenix" comes for her grandson "as regular as clockwork." A combination of her age and weariness from the trip, Phoenix temporarily forgets why she's at the doctor's office. Her grandson had swallowed lye two or three years ago and his throat never fully heals. Presumably, her grandson is her only remaining family member and/or he is the most important person in her life:
We is the only two left in the world. He suffer and it don't seem to put him back at all. He got a sweet look. He going to last. He wear a little patch quilt and peep out holding his mouth open like a little bird. I remembers so plain now.