Caregiver of the Year!
Updated: Feb 9
I'm throwing our hat in the ring for an award I'm not even sure exists because our entry is totally EPIC!
Today was shower morning. A morning rife with stress. (Actually, my stress starts building the night before, Mom's hits as soon as the bathroom door closes behind her.)
MotherMinder was collecting her things, readying to head out for her days off while I bustled around gathering up all the tricks of the trade to get Mom through a shower with as little anguish as possible for both of us.
Portable heater on high. CHECK! Shampoo handy. CHECK! Two washcloths at the ready. CHECK! Big fluffy towel. CHECK! Hair dryer within reach. CHECK!
Once the water temperature was just right and the bathroom had reached approximately 1 billion degrees, I sloughed off my shirt, gave a nod to my trusty waterproof boots, and gently led Mom into battle.
It started off okay. Removing her top had resulted in the usual resistance but was achieved without blood shed. Taking off her bra proved to be more of a struggle, so with words of empathy and slow, soft movements I switched my focus and eased down her pajama bottoms and pull-ups instead. She countered with her most unhappy face but stopped short of histrionics so I deemed it safe to continue, squatting down to free her feet from the pile of pajama fabric and absorbent padding that pooled around them.
And that's when the lights went out.
Being shut in the window-less bathroom, I cracked the door open enough to holler out to MotherMinder to holler out to The Boyfriend in the Basement to flip the breaker switch for that part of the house as the heater had probably blown it out. The Boyfriend in the Basement began hollering back from the depths of the house but with the bathroom door jammed shut by a deliberately opened drawer to hold it shut (lest Mom make a run for it), and the noise of the cascading shower I couldn't make out what he was saying. MotherMinder - instinctively understanding that I could not leave the bathroom for fear of losing the shower momentum we had achieved prior to the black out - positioned herself at the top of the stairs to run verbal interference.
And that's when the smell wafted up.
Soothing Mom, but seething at TBFitB that we were still shrouded in darkness I called to MM to find out the problem. "He says it's not him" was her response which made no sense to me as I was unable to see past my current predicament. "Tell him to f*^king fix it!" I hissed through the door. She wisely chose not to deliver that particular directive.
I took a deep breath, swallowed my anger, and in doing so found a surprising level of calm.
I switched tactics, requesting MM bring me a flashlight. The aroma in the bathroom was grower stronger and quite malodorous; I needed to verify my suspicions as to the source before Mom and I took a single step in any direction. Of course, neither MM nor I could recall at that moment where we had seen a flashlight stashed. (Due to my father's fondness for his Boy Scout years I'm pretty sure there are at least a dozen of them squirreled away throughout the house - "Be Prepared" as Dad always said.)
Instead MM, thinking fast on her feet, squeezed her tablet through the crack in the door which shed enough light to verify my hunch - brown nuggets of fun littered the floor with more dropping as we watched. As I only come equipped with two hands I was unable to hold the tablet, grab toilet paper, and pluck up the poo all at the same time. I looked at MotherMinder and said, "Candles." She disappeared from sight, then seconds later reappeared with an unlit candle.
I looked at it. I looked at her. "A light?" I ask with a tinge of amused sarcasm. She disappeared again in search of flame.
As the situation kept worsening in new and even more absurd ways, I found myself relaxed, humored even. After all, I am quite learned in the ludicrous; most comfortable in the comical.
I gazed at my angry mother who was finishing up her business while still standing and thought, "Bring it on, Dementia. I got this."
So with a candle finally burning I scooped enough poop to finish freeing Mom's feet from their entrapment without squishing our way through the process, coaxed her bra off, and maneuvered her into the shower. Once Mom was firmly encased in the enclosure and welcoming my bathing assistance (i.e. fighting me every step of the way), MotherMinder got to work behind us gathering up the remaining clumps and wiping the floor clean.
And that's when the lights came on.
Good thing too as Mom was not at all appreciating the romance of a shower by candle-light. Go figure.
Later, when Mom was looking good and smelling great I found out that it wasn't just a blown breaker, and The Boyfriend in the Basement wasn't just taking his time in flipping the switch - the whole house had lost power. He had been frantically trying to figure out if it was an electrical issue within the house when the power came back on of its own accord.
So, In a situation where everything that could go wrong EPICALLY DID me and my pit crew held it together and finished this fiasco by miraculously achieving a relatively calm shower for Mom.
And that, ladies and gentlemen of our caregiving community, and esteemed judges of this competition (provided there is one) is our entry for...
Caregiver of the Year!
Booyah! Mic drop! So tell me, what's yours?