Monday, May 07, 2007

Double Duty

A week ago I was calling moving companies to move my mother's furniture back to her assisted living residence, and then actually accomplishing the move in one day.
I'm so grateful not to be doing that today!
So this afternoon I was hoping to spend an hour or two visiting her but no more.
As it turned out, I spent four hours on her.
First I went to Wishing Well Medical Products to buy a rolling table that adjusts up and down and can swing over a bed or chair. This replaces the end table by her chair.
While there, I asked for a repairman to make a house call and repair her electric bed. After being moved twice in one week, the bed lost a couple of pins, and the head would no longer raise up.
Then I delivered the table to Mom's room, where she was sleeping deeply in her chair.
I didn't try to wake her up--just spent an hour or so sorting and organizing the pile of things by her chair, setting up her Apple laptop on the new table, trying to restore her room to the order it had before the move.
At 3 pm I left--but soon I got a call from the repairman I had requested. He promised to show up at 5 pm, so I had to go back there and bring cash to pay him.
When he and I arrived, it turned out someone from Ocean View had already repaired the bed. The head moved up and down well, but a few days earlier it wasn't working.
Thus the repair call was in vain, though the guy installed one pin that had fallen out.
He pointed out that the mattress was shot and the frame itself was 20-30 years old, a bit of a hazard. It was bought for my father, sometime between 1978 and 1990.
By this time Mom had been wheeled in from the dining room, and she was angry that I hadn't visited her today.
"You didn't come to me today!"
"Mom, I was here for two hours but you were asleep," I pointed out.
She still felt neglected, so I took her out in the car to the Santa Irena pier.
It was a balmy evening after a scorching day. I wanted to push her in the chair around the pier, but she refused.
"I'm afraid," she said. "I might fall in."
Back at the room, I decided to give her a shower. She had refused a shower in the morning, and I think she had not had one since Thursday because I have cut back her private care to only two days.
Susan had told me they were short-staffed--someone hadn't come in--so I wanted to make this contribution.
It was, however, a disastrous shower. I hadn't done one for about six months, none in the bathroom of this two-room suite she has been living in since Dec. 1, 2006.
It was hard to transfer her to the bath chair, soap and rinse her, and get her back in the wheelchair.
"The water's too hot! You're too rough! That's enough now, I'm done," she protested as soon as I started.
Cleaning and then rinsing sufficiently under her pendant breasts and in her perianaeal area was difficult.
By the end she was in tears, just as she had been at Country Villa Mar Vista. I had new respect for the efforts of the caregivers there, whereas a week ago I took her tears after the shower as evidence that she had been showered roughly and impersonally.
Oh well.
I brushed her teeth, dried and powdered her, and left her sitting in her Lanz flannel nightgown in her extended recliner.
And I rushed off to an Al-Anon meeting to confess that I'm overly involved in her care, too quick to succumb to her demands.

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