Caregiving for Lynne has become a bumpy ride. A few nights ago, I arrived at 5:45 pm to see Lynne leaning backwards, tilting to her right with her right hand on the small of her back. She looked calm until she saw me and broke down in tears pleading, “I want to go home.” I hugged her a while.
“He kicked me.” Who? But she did not answer. I said, “You’re OK now.” She stopped crying. A little while later she turned to me with wide eyes, “He kicked me hard.” A caregiver said no man on the floor could do that, and I have not seen one. Staff agreed she had been leaning backward since this morning. Another caregiver told me she saw Lynne leaning and guided her back to her bed to avoid another fall backward. Staff, including the head nurse, did not know what else to do. I suggested they find a gait belt used by physical therapists to hold on to unsteady walkers. I hugged her and pulled her forward on her feet and I think she walked a little straighter when we went to dinner.
I read her notes from friends and fellow students who earned their Masters at Seattle U when Lynne was attending. A professor had contacted me and helped link us together. She remembered Katie, her 6th grade teacher, JT and Terry, students who remembered her fondly. I hope to get us all together.
She ate little but finished her diet coke. Said she was in pain and said it was her foot, so I took off that shoe, but a short time later she wanted to lie down because “it hurts.” Caregivers and I can’t find the source of her hurts, but that day she may have had lower back pain from leaning backwards. When I returned at 10:00 pm to pick up her headphones to recharge, Lynne had stayed in bed for a while until she walked out of her room to say her feet hurt. The med tech massaged them and put her back to bed.
The next day I arrived at 5:50 pm I was told Lynne did not lean backward that day and had a pretty good day. She was in the Life’s Neighborhood dining room without her headphones and scared of somebody. I put on her headphones, and she settled down as she listened to The Chicks. We walked the floors a little while until we ate dinner in the lobby. We had two dinners of chicken cordon bleu, peas, rice and apple pie with ice cream. I sliced her chicken and when I finished mine, she said I could eat her chicken until I had three small bites, when she finished them with her fork. We ate our pies and ice cream. We had a mellow time as she nodded her head to the music and mouthed some lyrics. A few people came by to say hi.
We joined a party on the sixth floor where we drank pomegranate cocktails as we chatted with other residents. We walked down each floor meeting caregivers and people until we reached her floor. By that time, she was cheerful, sang, smiled, said I love you, looked at TV and said out loud, “Call the Midwives, which we watched we until she asked to go to bed at 7:25 pm.