Monday, January 8, 2007

mobility issues & lifts

When I arrived today dad was in his room, beside the TV, which was on. I worry that they waste a lot of electricity. PSWs take folks to the cafeteria and leave on the televisions. With all they have to do, I guess this isn’t high on the priority list. I cannot change the world, but we work so hard to educate the children in schools. It is hard to know when to shut up and when to speak!

Dad was nodding on and off. He tries to find something to talk about but cannot. He says to me, “I want to go lie on the couch!” nodding towards the bed. Staff is just realizing that if he misses a meal it is not such a big deal. He is very tired. I kept sitting with him, unsure what to do. I could hit the call button and ask them to put him to bed. I waited a bit as I thought about what to do. They are so concerned about meal times. He asked again a bit later and so I hit the call button. When the nurse came I explain that he’d asked to go to bed. We need to respect his wishes. She told me he’d had a good breakfast and often only had one good meal a day. I was trying to figure this out. If she was on day shift it meant she wasn’t there for dinner. Still, she says she’d get help to pop him into bed.

She came back with someone and they lifted him up using the ‘arm under an armpit’ technique. It is amazing to see. It is a task that requires two, as I have said. They are well-trained and strong. I feel as if I have people on my side, trying to cope.

I propped up his bed to a sitting position. He slept. I had brought his lunch from the kitchen, but he didn’t want it. It was a salad and an interesting pizza with a deep crust. Since I had missed lunch I ate it. I was embarrassed when I took his dishes back to the kitchen and the staff member commented on all he had eaten. I corrected her, feeling rather silly. She smiled!

I sat for a while and read beside his bed. I wanted to see what he was doing. I wasn’t in a rush and felt good just being close with no pressure and no yelling. He seemed to wake after about fifteen minutes of drifting away to Neverneverland. He looked at his window and at my new decorations. The sun shone on his face. Look towards the light, dad. I had removed the Christmas decorations and left the angel on the suction cup. On the suction cups from the Christmas lights I had put the string of heart-shaped light. They require two batteries and didn’t work anymore, but they twinkled when the sun shone through. I put up a sign with a cupid and the word LOVE on it. It is cheery and shows that someone cares. Dad seemed to like it, but who knows for sure?

Dad woke a couple times more- fifteen minutes apart. His noun retrieval is terrible and I am hard-pressed to figure out what it is that he is trying to say. He seems to wonder if he can do something for me, but it is peaceful to read and sit quietly. I am reading a book called, Pink Ribbon, Inc., which demonstrates how much big business is milking the donor-fatigued public for big bucks in the name of cancer research. Do we need research or do we need help in dealing with the disease? The Cancer Society drivers were so good to mom and dad, and were incredibly necessary. We know what causes cancers, to a certain extent, and can change our lifestyle, watch our diets, exercise, but eventually old age gets you. All of these seniors need help in this nursing home. I shudder to think what will happen when baby boomers end up taking so much space.

A little later on, a PSW popped her head in to make sure dad was breathing. Her name is May. We chatted a bit. She told me that dad was flirting with her this morning. As they got him cleaned up, his adult diaper changed and clean clothes on, he was asking for kisses and talking to the staff. It seems his hearing comes and goes, although I think it is his lip-reading skills. In a loud voice he would ask them, “What are you doing to me?” They would reassure them that they just needed to get him into his wheelchair and up for breakfast. He wanted a drink then, but they told him he had to go to breakfast, which he ate up. He came to her to shake her hand and then she gave him a hug.

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