Asleep, again

Mom seems to be sleeping more, though of course that might not be the case. I might just be visiting more often during her typical nap times. For example, I popped in yesterday to see her after my haircut because I was in the Alz center neighborhood. It was about 1:20, and therefore after lunch – not an uncommon time to find her at rest. She was sound asleep on a couch in the program area. Her neck looked uncomfortable, bent severely forward because the back of her head was pushed up against the arm of the couch. But her deep breathing indicated she was deeply asleep, and I didn’t want to startle her or disturb her. I sat next to her for a couple of minutes and then left.

Last week, however, I found her asleep on a couch before lunch. I showed up at about 11:30 specifically so I could visit with her and then say goodbye after setting her up with her lunch tray. When I saw that she was sleeping, I thought perhaps my visit would be cut short. I ended up being quite wrong about that.

She woke up while I was sitting next to her, and she began to talk. She seemed very pleasant. She sat up and we carried on our usual nonconversation conversation. I could see that her diaper was in a bunch around her knees, and I thought to myself that I probably ought to change her. Her newer gentleman friend Mr. Beard came over to sit near us. He was shirtless. He moves in slow motion, sort of, and is pretty passive, so he didn’t really interfere with our visit but just sat in a nearby chair. The lunch trays arrived a little earlier than usual, and a volunteer came over to us and told me she had Mom’s lunch tray ready to go. She placed it on a table. I coaxed Mom over toward the table and patted the seat so she would sit down. “See if you can get her to eat. She didn’t eat her breakfast today,” the volunteer said. OK, I thought, I guess I will stay awhile. I put a bib on Mom and poured her milk and put her fork in the logical place for her to pick it up if she were so inclined. She sipped her ice cream cup, and concentrated on it for quite awhile. She eventually did eat just about all of her food, too, which was pulled pork with gravy, roasted potatoes and a vegetable that I can’t recall, plus mandarin oranges. She mostly used her hands. Surprisingly, she picked up the bottom part of her bib to use it as a napkin to wipe her mouth, more than once. I haven’t seen her do that for years.

When she was finished, I cleared her tray away. Mom started reaching for other full trays on the table, set there as staff went to wake up or locate residents who hadn’t yet taken a seat to eat. I encouraged Mom to get up with me and walk toward her room so I could change her diaper. On the way, we passed her aide, who was still delivering lunch trays and helping people eat. I told her I’d be happy to change Mom, but I could see it made her uncomfortable to allow for that. I was not judging her or rushing her in any way – she was obviously busy with lunch, and I told her I had changed Mom before. But she just couldn’t let me do it. I understood. So I accompanied them both into the shower room. The aide started talking to Mom in a persuasive way, and telling her what she’d be doing. She pulled down Mom’s pants and removed her sagging diaper. Mom objected. The aide asked Mom to sit on the toilet. “Please, Bonnie. Please?” she said. Mom finally sat down, but throughout most of this, she was saying, “No. I don’t want this. No.” I stood across the small room to stay out of the way. Mom stood, and the aide began to wash her with a wet towel. “I’m just going to wash you really quickly,” she explained. Mom kept trying to reach down to pull up her pants. So the aide asked me to help. I held Mom’s arms in front of her, which she hated. “L is taking care of you,” I said. “You are so lucky to have so many people who care about you.” Mom clearly wasn’t convinced. The aide dried her with another towel and quickly suited Mom up in a new diaper and pulled up her pants. “She didn’t scream this time,” the aide said. From the other side of the door, I have heard Mom scream in distress while being changed. But it was nice to see in person that she doesn’t put up much of a physical fight – just a prolonged verbal protest. And it made me think that perhaps my presence really can help Mom feel calm, or at least calmer than she’d be if I weren’t there when she is undergoing stress.

We left the shower room, and Mom put her arm on her aide’s shoulder. Making up, perhaps. But she still retained a little grumpiness from the bad experience. We walked down the hall together toward the lobby. I praised her for doing a good job. I was glad to see that process firsthand, though I still wished I could have done it myself so the aide could have tended to lunch. However, I wouldn’t have done all the thorough cleaning of Mom that she did, so in that respect it was good that she prevailed. Mom found a couch in the lobby and immediately stretched out fully, perhaps ready for another, more satisfying nap with a full belly and a clean and properly fitted diaper. I kissed her goodbye and noticed when I left that my quick pre-lunch visit had stretched to an hour and 15 minutes. Which was fine.

2 comments so far

  1. Sherri on

    Sounds like this is a calm and settled time for you and your mom. Hope all is well otherwise :).

  2. momsbrain on

    Hi, Sherri – Yes, calm and settled and no crises for awhile, which has been nice. Things are good, thanks – hope the same is true for you!

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