Today is the first Monday since July 29th (except for Sept. 9th when on vacation) that I haven’t gone to ATI for either physical therapy or to do my stretching exercises. I went 9 times with a physical therapist (missed once due to vertigo) and 10 times alone. My 30 days of doing it for free on my own ended last Wed. It actually felt weird not to go there. Hopefully, it wasn’t done in vain. Maybe I kept myself out of a wheelchair for a few more months.
I thought I would have an extra hour and a half today but I got my period instead. Ba dum bump. The first day of my period is debilitating and all I can do is just get through it. I managed a few household chores like one load of laundry, walking the dogs, loading the dishwasher and washing the crockpot from last night’s dinner. I do the majority of cleaning on Sunday. Otherwise, I didn’t push myself too much. This time “the curse” was a couple of weeks late and I was wishing so hard it would never come again. I’d rather believe someone is poking pins into the stomach of a voodoo doll of me once a month making me bleed than that I’m bleeding “for nothing.” Since I didn’t have kids and at this age, I’m not going to, I wish I could’ve just “opted out” of periods. Without having surgery, I mean. Oh well. If I wasn’t having my period, I wouldn’t be in the mood to bitch about it either.
Sat. was Sweetest Day and it went by mostly unnoticed. Except for one glaring fact. It was the first time I had to wipe my mom’s ass for her. From that day forward, I will always think of that when “Sweetest Day” rolls around. It was first thing in the morning and I’d gotten her up and onto the toilet. Then I wait in the hallway while she does her business so I can remind her to wash her hands WITH SOAP afterwards. You’d be surprised how many Alzheimer’s patients neglect hygiene. She was always the one telling everyone else to wash up and use hot water, etc. Now when I tell her to wash her hands, she’ll say, “I don’t have to!” Then she’ll try to just run water on them so I have to watch and remind her to use soap. It’s like a small child trying to trick you and get away without brushing their teeth. So anyway, I was in the hallway and she yells, “I can’t reach my ass!” and I know better than to say, “What do you want me to do about it?!” This isn’t the first time she’s said that and I usually explain different ways she can reach. But she doesn’t want to listen. She stands up off the toilet with shit hanging out of her butt. I start shouting for her not to move or she’d have it all over the bathroom. Finally, she sort of bends forward with her rear over the toilet and she’s holding the towel bar for balance. She hands me toilet paper and I pull the piece of shit out and put it in the toilet. Then I tell her to hand me more toilet paper and she does. Then as I am wiping her ass, she is literally crapping as I’m wiping. I am catching it in my hand. I was thankful I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet. Then I had her hand me more toilet paper and I finished wiping her. I was filled with overall disgust which I guess is natural. Then I started getting depressed thinking that from now on, every time she did #2, I’d have to wipe for her. 😦 So far, a couple days have passed and I haven’t had to do it since but I see my future.
I know nurses do this kind of thing all the time. I don’t know how they do it. I’m not a nurse nor have I ever wanted to be one. Is it easier to do that for a stranger or a loved one? Or is it never really “easy” to do? I debated even writing it out because it’s SO GROSS. But I told everyone that I would let people know the truth about Alzheimer’s and by God, I’m going to do it.
Tomorrow is bath day and I dread that with every fiber of my being. Last time I gave Mom a bath, something unusual happened. I sat on the closed toilet seat facing her while she was in the tub. I look down in the water and see a leaf. It’s brown and shaped like an aspen leaf. I figure it got carried in by the dogs and she stepped on it and it got in the tub with her. It’s floating a few inches under the surface of the water so without thinking I reach in with my bare hand to get it. You know where this is going, don’t you? I lift it out and see it’s not a leaf after all. It’s a piece of shit. I scream as if I’ve grabbed a spider and throw it in front of me. It was just a reflex. It lands on Mom’s shoulder and I burst out laughing. I take a piece of toilet paper and wipe it off her. This is my life now.
These 2 stories give new meaning to “have a crappy day.” This doesn’t even come close to what I’ve been dealing with on the urine front. Cue “Eminence Front” by the Who. At least we’ll have good music while taking Mom’s bed apart daily. Besides having her in diapers and on Vesicare for her incontinence, I’ve been putting bath towels under the sheets and mattress pad to try to keep the mattress dry. It still doesn’t help. Somebody needs to invent something like kitty litter or “oil dry” that absorbs liquid and hardens up. I searched on Amazon for some sort of solution and there are “waterproof mattress pads” but all I can imagine is it rolling off the mattress onto the floor and into the carpet. There are also disposable pads that go on top of the bottom sheet and get thrown away every morning. These sound ok except I don’t know if anything will hold that much urine! We’re not talking cups here, we’re talking quarts. Gah! In warmer weather it’s not as big a deal but the mattress will not dry when it’s cold. I picked up a cheap blowdyer at an estate sale and the thing keeps overheating on me after only a few minutes. So it’s like an all day project to get her bed ready by bedtime. Mom used to have a keen sense of smell like I do but now she can’t smell anything. Or else she doesn’t know what it is. More likely she doesn’t care anymore. Folex is a Godsend for odor and stain removal. I’ve been using it for years for doggie accidents.
Last night hubby said to me, “You know your mother could’ve had 12 daughters and she couldn’t have a better daughter than you. You’re such a good person. You’re so good to her.” That made me feel better since it’s the closest I get to a thank you. I guess it all depends on how I look at it. My mom wiped my ass once upon a time and now I’m returning the favor. More and more, my life resembles an episode of “Family Guy.” 🙂