The Night Time Routine
I’m sure many carers will identify with the feeling of relief when the night time routine has been finished and in some emotional and practical way we can clock off for the day. Maybe some can never do that but I’m lucky that my home person cannot move out of bed. It poses other caring issues of course but at least I have a few hours every night to myself. And what do I do with it? Answer – I watch a lot of TV. Netflix. Currently ‘Nashville’ a kind of musical Dallas. I have been through House of Cards, Wallender, Jack Taylor, Sense and Sensibility TV series, some other drama thing and the one about the lawyers in Shoelane. There’s probably a few more as well, Sarah’s Key and the rest. There are always some remnants of pre-caring days to attend to like emails, phone calls, other office type stuff. Long chats with family members. Their world is still important and sometimes that does not always go smoothly. At the moment my son has stopped his meds for schizophrenia and gone AWOL. I am also reading quite a lot. So when do I care for poor G, bed bound, on the commode chair or in the uncomfortable wheelchair. (Gotta get that big one back today if Pete is on the job. Its harder to line up through the doors but it is much more comfortable for hours of sitting.)
The evening winds down with the meal. G does not eat red meat and I am dying to have those last two sausages from John Harbour. Maybe in another couple of weeks when G sees them as a once a year treat and drops his nutritional ideology for one meal. But its no big deal. Steamed veggies, risotto, frittata, pasta, lentils, stir fry. There are lots of possibilities. Every meal must include the Cauciferous Family. They’re the ones that smell soon after arrival min the pot. Dad Broccoli, Mum Cabbage and the littlies the Brussel Sprouts. Condiments lift the flavour factor. After the main meal he has his dessert, quark, cottage cheese to you and me, blended smooth with linseed oil and sweetened with stevia. I have been adding strawberries for more flavour and I serve it up to him in a cup like yoghurt. Removing cottage cheese lumps tricks you into believing its delicious. It’s an acquired taste for the stoics. Then we have the meds. We have an anti prostate cancer pill, a reduce bladder irritation pill, 2 anti inflams, one vitamin D, one to reduce stomach acid from the something else, one steroid to reduce pain on the spinal cord ,one or more bowel contents softener and morphine as required and the special “organic” meds distilled from a plant. He takes some other natural therapies from the health food shop and of course some Vitamin C which he dispenses himself. He knows how I feel about that stuff excoriating the back of his throat for dubious medical reasons. The urinal bottle and the bucket are emptied for the night and he has a sleeping tablet in case he wakes in the early morning. His days are long enough. Lets bestow blessed sleep whenever we can. The doona comes off so I check the lay of his feet for the night. I reposition his legs with cushions underneath to raise his heels from the pressure point with the bed.
Those kind of dores are not pretty and very painful. I give his legs some up and down movement for circulation and they are heavy! The bed gets adjusted to a flatter position. His phone goes to the charger, the headphones and the control for the TV are within reach. His tablet and water within reach also. Leave plenty of room between table and bed so he can reach the urinal bottle easily in the night. Sometimes he needs a heat pack on his feet. He can’t move them but he can feel warmth and cold. When he is snug as a bug its nighty night and I’ll check on you in an hour.
Then occasionally there is the night when it flashes through your mind that he may not be awake in the morning. Will that be good or bad?