Moments in Time–Caregiver Vignettes
If I could capture the moments of caregiving like photos, they would make a great album. Below I’ve tried to capture some moments in words…
Mom: I dreamed I was in a potato chopping contest.
Me: A potato chopping contest? What’s that?
Mom: You know, you peel potatoes, and chop them up to make mashed potatoes. I was going to win too, but they weren’t going to give me the prize because I’m an old lady.
Me: That doesn’t sound very fair.
Mom: (big sigh) I know. I was so mad.
I’m setting out Mom’s toothbrush and washcloth before bedtime.
“‘Thank You Lord for saving my soul,
Thank you Lord, for making me whole.
Thank you Lord for giving to me,
Thy great salvation so rich and free.’
Wait, is it supposed to be full and free or rich and free? Some people sing it one way, some sing it another. Which one is right?”
Me: I’m not sure, Mom. It’s free anyway.
Mom: I guess, but some people get mad if you sing it wrong.
Apparently we have not been saved from the lyric police.
(I’m turning down the bed for nighttime. Mom and Dad are listening/watching “Big Bands” on PBS.)
Dad: Your mom and I are dancing.
Me: Really? You look like you’re sitting in your chairs.
Dad: Yes, but we remember dancing. We can just remember and do it.
Me: So is this called chair dancing or memory dancing?
Dad: It’s Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadians.
Me: Mom, it’s time for dinner.
Mom: Oh. Do I need to put on my nightcap for th
at? (Her nightcap is what she calls the head
band she wears at night to prevent a pressure sore on her head.)
Me: No, it’s dinner, not bedtime. Unless you
wanted to drink a nightcap.
Mom: No, I’m not allowed to do that.
Dad: How much does this hospital bed cost? (As the rental company is setting it up)
Caregiver: John, it’s paid for by hospice.
Dad: Well, how long can we have it?
Caregiver: You can have it for six months at least.
Mom: Oh, I’ll be gone before then.
Me: Mom, remember you have to let go of the wheelchair arms when I move you. Otherwise I’m left holding you suspended in space.
Mom: Well, you should be proud to do that.
Me: I should? Why?
Mom: Because it proves how strong you are.
Me: I’m not really that strong. I’m just strong-willed.
Mom: (big grin) I know you are.
Scratch Your Head Moment:
How many engineers does it take to turn on set of headphones? (My dad and husband are both engineers)
(Text from me to my husband). “I’ll be late getting home. Hard time finding sheets for hospital bed. Parking lot a zoo, South Meridian a Parking lot. 😕”
(Return text). “Been working on Dad’s earphones for an hour or two—finally figured out that the On/Off on the headphones themselves was switched off.”
I wish I could remember all the funny and poignant things we say and do, but in the day to day working and living the moments pass and I forget. I need to start writing them down as they happen. There never seems to be time. All the moments would make a great book of memories.
Have you had funny, sad or interesting conversations when caregiving? What were they?
Have a good caregiving day,