I can’t tell you how happy I am that it’s Monday! My kids (clearly) did not share my enthusiasm as they heaved their backpacks onto their shoulders to head for school, but hospice has me loving Mondays!
I completely understand why there are no CNAs for mom on the weekends. They’d never be able to hire or keep them if they had to work weekends. But now that mom is effectively bedridden, I dread the weekends.
I am comfort to my mom. Except on the weekends. On the weekends, I become bather and changer and lifter, turner, hauler, puller, pusher, resituater (is that a word?), redresser, happy hiney-er (oh joy!) and general upsetter. And she doesn’t like it. And it makes her days less pleasant.
When the aid comes through the week – she gets the work done quickly and efficiently and she leaves. Then I sweep in and hold mom’s hand and give her some water or sherbet or applesauce and talk and talk and talk. Sometimes she smiles. Sometimes she dozes off.
When I am the aid, there is no one to sweep in and make her forget the twisting and turning and changing and nakedness and vulnerability. My kids both try, but it’s different. And although she can’t remember details – it seems she remembers the essence of our connection.
So, she has more anxiety. She is agitated. She mumbles and moans and kicks her covers off and flings her legs around the bed. She has also started turning her head toward the wall which results in a stiff neck more often than not.
So – I am celebrating Monday and Michele – super hero of my days.
It was a tough weekend. Mom threw up on Friday. I’ve been trying to get antibiotics into her and it was so difficult. I took my patience to new heights. I spent nearly 4 hours getting 1 1/2 pills into her system. And there it was – on her nightgown. The freshly washed nightgown I had just put on her….arrgggghhhhh. Anyway, I was worried about her all night, so I got to sit up with her…because, really? What’s the point of going to bed? I’d just be laying there worrying until I came downstairs to check on her. So, I slept while the family was still up and came down about 2:00am. Mom weathered the storm!.
But then I was fearful to try and feed her too much on Saturday. I bought rainbow sherbet. Good idea! Yay for me! But the bathing thing on Saturday morning put mom in her crazy legs place.
So I spent most of the day trying to keep her from throwing her legs over the bed rails or pushing them against the wall. Poor thing is bruised all over her knees…but she has always bruised easily. And now that she is so thin and pale and in a house dress or nightgown all the time…it’s just hard to see.
I’m still pretty hesitant to overuse the lotion-potion and drops…I don’t want her zoned out all the time. Which I’m struggling with too. I mean, she isn’t using many words so I’m kind of guessing how she is doing or if she is aware of her surroundings. Maybe she’s dreaming. Maybe she’s trying to tell me something else. Maybe she is saying exactly what I think she is saying. But maybe she is saying – “give me some more of that happy juice and let me sleep”.
The only time I am sure what she is saying is when she is angry and doesn’t want to be moved. Turning her to change her is too hard for me. It breaks my heart. I never lose my patience with her (which surprises the heck out of me), but no amount of gently soothing words will calm her down. No amount of matter-of-fact, business-like movements will make her fear any less. She clenches her teeth, pins her arms down to her side so I can’t pick her up, opens her eyes and says NO. And she means it. And I hate it.
I always get it done. It may not be perfect, but it always gets done. Someone is usually here to help me, but, since they don’t do this all the time, they are hesitant to lift her or pull her and then I am trying to help them help me and my brain wants to shut down from mom’s “No’s”…did I mention I’m glad it’s Monday!? Last night, I guess I thought the diaper was a cape, I had it positioned so far up her back…it was the longest change on record in the history of the caregiver world.
Today, the heavy lifting will be done for me. I will only be responsible for some brief changes. Other than that – I’m hand-holding Lisa for the next 5 days. Sherbet-serving Lisa. Recipe-reading LIsa. Song-singing Lisa.
Man, I love Mondays!!!