Saturday, February 27, 2010

I'm afraid I may be next

Nursing home's rooms are sorta like college dorm rooms. The space for each of them is enough to fit a twin size hospital type bed and a small dresser. They seperate the areas with a rolling privacy curtain and that's it. There's a bathroom in each room. Mom is lucky to have a good room mate. She is a tiny lady with a sweet, happy spirit named Connie. They would be great friends if they could have conversations. Having a room mate you can talk to sounds like a great thing but in reality, it's not. Connie has lost her hearing, she is one of those people that has lost so much of her hearing that hearing aids do not work. She reads and watches her TV on mute. Mom had a nice room mate that could hear before named Ruth and they did have conversations but in such a small room, their TV volume started to compete with each other. Mom would turn hers up, she would turn hers up, one of them would complain and feelings got hurt. The social worker tried to work things out. She called me and Ruth's son in and we discussed a "perfect" solution to the problem. We would each get our Mom a pair of battery head sets, then everything would be fine. I went out immediately and bought the wireless headset with big easy volume buttons on the side. "Problem solved!" I told Mom. Ruth's son and I tirelessly showed our mom's how to operate the headsets. "There's only one dial for up and down, adjust it and then put it on your head." My mom has had a stroke so she had to do this with her one good side hand. Trying putting on a head set with one good side hand and adjusting dials on the side was a clumsy activity for her. One side of the earphone, slipping down over her eyes, her arthritic bony fingers trying to find the volume knobs. "You can do it Mom, you will get used to it!" We kept trying though for a couple of weeks. "So have you gotten used to the headsets yet Mom?" she would look at me in dismay, "No, not yet." Like lots of other things involving caring for Mom, it seems like a great idea but it's not. Ruth never figured it out either. The real solution was to move Mom and Ruth to other rooms, which they did and there will be another posting about that crazy stressful move later. At present, Mom's "hard of hearing" room mate Connie is a lot like Mom and other elderly ladies with her strict routine. Everyday at the same time, she does the same things. For instance, she goes to dinner at 5, wheels to the nurses station to be given her medicine, wheels herself into the room, opening up her little drawers with her little gloved hands, she picks out her gown for the evening and her clothes for tomorrow. Sitting them out folded in a specific order in the same chair. Yes, she wears little gloves all the time. They look little cloth garden gloves and she has them in a variety of colors to match her clothes. Why? I don't know why? She seems perfectly sane. There's another lady we call "Hollywood" Everyone calls her that because she wears a scarf tied under her chin and a big pair of sunglasses. She looks like a 50's movie star going out for a drive in her convertable but she is inside. She sports the scarf and sunglasses everyday even though she never goes outside. Why? I don't know why? She seems perfectly sane otherwise.
Yesterday, I was walking down the hall and Connie motioned me over for our everyday one way conversation in which she talks and I smile and nod my head. "Everyone's going crazy around here! Just all of a sudden, they start wandering the halls, not knowing where there rooms are and not knowing who they are! It makes me afraid I may be next!" Smiling, I looked right into her tiny frightened eyes and firmly said "No you wont be next, that's not going to happen to you!"Acts 20:33 I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. 34 Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have served for my necessities, and for those who were with me. 35 I have shown you in everything, by laboring like this, that we [5] need to support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. "
Sometimes the only support you can offer an elderly person is to reassure them that everything's going to be all right!

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