Monday, January 21, 2013

More on Mum's Journey

By Belinda

I hope it's okay with you, dear readers, if my story about Mum has not flowed on a daily basis, but interspersed by other posts. I had to figure out how to transfer my old snapshots onto this laptop from "real" photos. I know--a "simple" process. It was, once I figured it out. Susan suggested scanning them, and that has worked! Much better than the laborious process I had in mind--photographing photos with a digital camera. I'm embarrassed at my lack of technical skills, but not my persistence. :) On with the story!

 Mum had arrived like a surprise package, wrapped in a pink hospital gown and white blanket, delivered by ambulance on a February Thursday--"home!!!"

By Monday it felt as though we had accomplished so much--getting little pieces of her life back, one by one. I had connected with the District Nurse--a potential lifeline in time of future need and Mum's hairdresser had an appointment to visit every two weeks. 

Monday was the day that the social worker had planned for Mum's "package of care" to begin; specifically, the three daily visits from carers who would help her through her morning routine and breakfast, be there to make lunch and again to help her get ready for bed. At the end of the day I wrote this:

Oh my goodness, what an exhausting day this has been, but we survived! 
We survived three total strangers, with three different personalities, entering the most intimate part of our lives, two of them seeing my mother naked within minutes of meeting her for the first time. I can hardly bear to think of it happening without me here.
Oh God, my heart feels so heavy. I want to care for her, to look after her, to protect her--to treat her with the dignity and gentleness she should have. 
Oh Lord, I'm grateful, please know that. I know that you do. Thank you for Tracy, Barbara and Karen. Thank you for the opportunity to meet them, get to know them, and the others who will assist Mum. Thank you that I can tell them what's important to Mum and coach them as to what she can do. 
They are on such a tight schedule and getting the job done quickly is necessary. They have to become expert at efficient use of time and I understand that. I am so grateful for the morning 45 minutes and the noon and evening 30 minutes. 
They have a lot to do in that time--that brief time. 
I managed to write out a step by step process for the evening. That was the easy routine, I thought. But it took me about an hour to get it right and in the right order. And even then, when Mum finally put herself to bed at 11 (I didn't want her to have to be "put to bed" at 8.30!) I realized that we hadn't factored in turning off the light! Back to the drawing board tomorrow to figure that out.
Well, tomorrow is another day and this was only our first day! And all of the ladies were lovely, caring and kind.

Mum was "back" and the journey had begun. I was so grateful--privileged, I knew, to be there, with her. I will be forever grateful God gave me that month with her.

Stay tuned for more of our adventures on "the way back."


Dave Hingsburger said...

I think that we, as support providers, really understand all that that means when our needs, or the needs of our family, require the assistance of another. I know, for me, after becoming disabled and having people in my home touching me, helping me, I was stunned by the emotional impact that these people had on my sense of self. I'll bet you thought differently about the work that you do when you came back from this experience. I'd love you to write about that some time.

Belinda said...

You are right Dave. The experience, while difficult, did help me to go deeper in being sensitive to the invasion that is part of the "deal" when service is needed. It felt bizarre to open "us" up so suddenly and without niceties to people we didn't know a minute ago.

Dave Hingsburger said...

No pressure but ... I'd like to read what you have to say ... and it's given me the idea for our next collaboration - if you are wanting to give it another go. Thought of it while typing this.

Belinda said...

You've already got your answer. Yes, kind sir!!!:)