Back Pain, Bed Pans, and All Nighters

As much as I would like to say that my life is all writing bliss and scholastic interludes, it’s not.

I have a new found respect for everyone who takes care of some one, new moms, hospice nurses, adults taking care of their parents.

I understand dying as much as anyone can, but I don’t really think about the process. I have seen it before, but I was young and didn’t have to deal with it every day and the medications.

Having to be up before andScreen Shot 2013-02-08 at 1.19.44 AM after her, watch her while she’s asleep, take care of her while she’s awake, and still try to give her the independence she feels that she is losing. Giving her enough morphine to keep her from panicking, Vicodin to help her scoliosis, and Lorazipam to help regulate her breathing. All while timing her breathing treatments, so she gets four in the hours where she will be awake and making sure that she gets her pills  while she is aware enough to swallow them without choking.

During this time I am changing oxygen tanks for bedside bathroom runs, making sure the humidifier is filled, changing sheets, running laundry, and food somehow factors into this. Nurses and aids come in and out with little warning changing prescriptions and beds and treatments.

And my grandmother is a person. She is so precious and in all this just asks for little things like a cup of coffee in the morning which needs to be drunk at a particular temperature so that it doesn’t melt the straw or burn her mouth. She wants sweets because she can taste them, so I try to keep her bowl of candy full and trashcan empty.

The hardest part is watching her struggle with vivid nightmares and wondering if everything is all right. If she is awake, I can’t leave the room for very long because she will forget she needs oxygen and throw it away or decide she can get up and do something on her own. I will walk in the room and find her standing shakily, pale, and confused.

I can shower in five minutes and shave in two. I can hear her move on the other side of the house and know what she is doing. I am learning to listen to her, just sit, hold her hand, and sing. She likes it when I sing. I just want to take care of her.

I though I was alright and I didn’t even realize I was under stress until I had a pain attack the other day. Most people have panic attacks or hyperventilate when they’re stressed. Every now and then when I least expect it my whole back will spasm and my ribs will decide they need to hug my spine and my tailbone will slip to the side. Its painful and even the best painkillers don’t get rid of it. It can last for days. For all the sleep I’m not getting, it is preventing any chance of it.

I love what I am doing. Seeing my grandma wear my socks because she doesn’t have any that are thick enough and sleeping most of the day because walking to the bathroom exhausts her is exhausting. I am tired, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

– W


3 thoughts on “Back Pain, Bed Pans, and All Nighters

  1. Bless you for taking such good care of her , I hope that changing one of her meds will help to give her more clarity .Uncle Pat and I appreciate you more than words can say . I know it is taxing but someday you can look back at this time and smile because you’ve given all that you could do for such a wonderful lady . You have always been so
    special to her and Grandpa … and the rest of us too. We love you Kate !

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