Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Step by step we make our way forward.....

I have a client who refuses to shower. She gets combative and very angry....as in "get the F&*% out of my house!" It had been over a month and yesterday was the day I decided we were going to get the job done. With a little addition of a crumb of an anxiety medication, we made our way forward. Showering a combative elderly memory impaired person (who also happens to be bigger than me) is one time I am incredibly grateful for narcotics! Step by step I walked with her and I "acted as if" of course she was going to shower today. I followed her into the bathroom and shut the door behind me, like of course I belonged in there with her....and really I do! Step by step she made progress toward getting into the warm water I had running for her. Step by step I got her hair washed, then I asked if I could scrub her back and she allowed me and I just kept on going until she was clean everywhere. I slathered her in lotion and she put on her clean clothes. I had promised that she could get right back into bed if she wanted to, once we were done....but instead she followed me out to the kitchen. We made coffee and visited. We made blueberry muffins and then had one with our coffee. This was such a victorious day. Who knows if I will have another day like this with this woman, but today made me want to hang in there with her. Want to keep coming back. Really, it was so huge.

I went to the CoDA meeting last night and I got to see my girl for a few minutes before and after. She looks good, is present and smiling and happy. She is considering staying for 60 days. She is setting herself up to stay for 60 days. Step by step....."Mom can you bring two extra pairs of jeans and more short sleeve t-shirts, no spaghetti straps....in-case I do stay for 60 days."The visit settled me some....it was good to see her, but I felt detached. I wasn't desperate for a sign that she is doing ok. This is her journey. I have mine. I can't do it for her. Yada yada yada. I WANT her to get well. Of course I want that and I like to get my way, but I have done this long enough that I know it will go the way it will go and I will keep learning how to live my life whether she is well or not.

I am savoring a night at home. I cooked a big dinner.....marinated and grilled tri-tip, corn on the cob, kale and spinach salad and rice. Little one had a great first day at school. She came home happy and excited to get going. This is her first full time school year since the third grade. A big change, but she has a teacher she adores....a kindred red head who calls her "junior" and is her older brother's age! We did the school clothes shopping thing at the big mall, lunch out, school supplies, lunch supplies, and she is off! She seems to be pretty sure of who she is, not easily swayed or convinced to leave her path. One can pray (beg) that she will make it through her teen years unscathed, this precious little soul of mine.

Bless you for reading here.
Annette

11 comments:

Anna said...

Dinner sounded great as did your day with your patient. She is lucky to have you. I think that wanting 60 days is huge. I prayed for your girl today. She deserves a break and so do you.

Summer said...

I love this post, Annette. So full of hope...for your sweet, elderly, sometimes cantankerous client, for your precious daughter (God bless her), for little one as she begins a new adventure and for you for taking it all in stride.

I woke up feeling sad and hopeless this morning and this brought me right back to life. :-)

mary christine said...

It's HUGE that you bathed your client. God bless you.

My friend recently had to put her dad in LTC because of this very issue. He has alzheimers, and they cared for him at home for years. But his combativeness around ADLs got to be more than she or her mother could do.

Lolly said...

I don't comment on your blog as much as I'd like to, but gosh! Reading this post just made me feel so good! So glad you had a great day. Love, love, love reading your blog!

Dad and Mom said...

My mom is entering that stage where showers are difficult. I have heard that dementia can make them fear water. My mom was always scared of water and fod of swimming. In fact she couldn't swim so it is easy for me to believe her fear of water.

My sister still lives with mom and she is taking care of it. She seems to be doing well. We try to take mom out and give her time to rest but my sister always comes along. She needs to take care of herself too.

SoberMomWrites said...

I'll be praying for your little one but I have a feeling that she's going to be just fine...probably better than fine. And how exciting is getting ready for a new school year! My last three will all be in college this year so it's just another day (they all live at home). Sigh...

Isn't it funny how older people and kids can be led the same way that animals can? It's all about your energy and how you approach the situation. You believed that today was the day, moved forward without asking her permission and she just went right along! I love it!

Have a wonderful day my friend...

Sherry

dawn said...

"Firsts" - sounds as if your little girl is ready for a new year. She'll soar. I know it!!!!

Praying, YOU KNOW THIS, that 60 days, and then some, will be "the plan" - many years go into heroin addiction. Many years it takes to recover. Her system is only BEGINNING to clear itself of the toxins. Its a solid year before long-term change occurs. So, we , by the Grace of God, step on , with faith, but one day at a time. Thanking God today she is sober. She is safe. She is alive.
Prayers continue

Anonymous said...

Your kindness to your client is so wonderful..I am surrounded by elderly people in my life right now and with all of the other stresses I am dealing with-mainly my sons drug addiction and who is going to take care of his 14 month old daughter, I usually want to run away from the other people in my life who need my help or just my time. God bless you and I hope I will do better the next time one of them needs something from me. Love your blog!
Kathy

Signe said...

I think it is sweet how patient and caring your motivation and excution of your plans were. (I did laugh at your comment about anxiety medication). I'm glad you were able to visit with your daughter. I'm glad it looks as though she is considering staying longer. That in addition to your youngest's enthusiasm for school sounds like life is shifting in the right direction. I'm happy for you. :)

Hattie Heaton said...

I love good news! Great hopeful post. Beautiful example of gratitude for this day. I'd say you're doing just fine.....

Bristolvol said...

Annette, when I get old I want someone like you to take care of me! You are so kind and caring. Glad things are in check. One day at a time...