At 8:30 this morning I woke, sat up and saw Jr's foot on the floor in his room. Oh shit, I thought, another one of them days. I sat there a moment getting myself used to it, clearing my mind of expectation. All I knew was he was on the floor. But anything could be the case. I got up and took a look. Worse than the least I'd hoped it could be. Much worse.
He'd pulled his diapers down and let go a load in the bed, tried to get up to go to the bathroom and slid down the side of the bed leaving a track like a snail, asleep on the floor with his head wedged into a small space just big enough for his head. It was bad. With one half of my mind cussing, the other half put together the plan of sequence of events for cleaning up. Leave him where he is until I get him cleaned enough to put him in the wheelchair where he can wait while I change the bed. First step, a bucket of warm water, 2 wash cloths, latex gloves.
I did what I had to do, exactly as I'd planned it. Hospice nurse's aide Judy was scheduled to stop today, so I called and asked if she could schedule Jr early in the day. She came right on out. Tuesday and Thursdays are the days she comes by to clean him head to foot. She has even shaved him while he was sleeping. She's good. She talks to him tenderly, knowing it relaxes him. A few times he has said to her, 'I'm ashamed,' meaning embarrassed. She explained she cleans 8 and 9 people a day, this is what she does. She's good at keeping him calm, relaxed in her care. He has come to know her by now, so it's more like a friend dropping by.
Taking the sheets off the bed and changing all the padding that protects the sheets and bed, stuffing them into the washing machine, setting it going, and back to putting new sheets on the bed. Jr was in the wheelchair watching what I was doing when Judy arrived. He felt so bad I could see it in his demeanor. Inside, I was feeling what I was feeling, sometimes huffing and puffing feeling mad. That kind of thinking makes me stop my mind and tell myself it's like getting mad at the ocean. There's no blame, no fault, and after all, I wasn't drafted.
He told of how he fell through the roof. It was thin plywood, like eighth-inch, and he fell through. His car was still on the roof. He was worried about the car being on the roof, how we'd get it down. Judy told him it is out in the parking space and the car is fine. That was the end of it.
From start to finish did not take a great deal of time. While she worked on Jr, I worked on the bed, so when she was finished, he could go straight to bed. When he was tucked in and we left the room, I told him I'd keep the cows out of the house. He said, OK. Judy looked at me funny. It's something I say to give him a little laugh. It started a few years ago when he was asking what I did while he was sleeping. I told him I kept the cows out of the house. He thought that was funny, so I say it from time to time to give him a smile.
A little bit later nephew Bill came by and friend Harold Hayes. He was fairly far away by then and couldn't open his eyes or participate. I spoke to him with hand on his shoulder telling him who was there. He muttered on his breath and drifted away. I brought both of them up to date on how he's getting along. At one point he apologized to me for being a bother. I told him he's not a bother, this is what I'm here for. Then realized I'd probably been telling Harold a bit of what happened earlier and Jr heard me and felt ashamed. I didn't feel too good about that. I remember his subconscious is still there and it's that part of Jr I connect with. I need to stop talking in his presence like he's not there, because he is, and it doesn't feel good to be talked about when you're helpless.
Mary from Hospice came by and sat with him so I could run to town for grocery store. That was a big help and she's a wonderful woman. I bought THE BIG ONE this time, the giant size laundry detergent. I've been running through the smaller ones, one a week. This one might last two weeks. I'm learning a lot of things women know these days, like laundry every day, cleaning up after other people. Seeing myself do these things I think about all that women know that men don't have a clue about. A thought ran through my head, more men need this experience. But I threw it out, because it's something I can't do anything about, but for myself. It reminded me of how grateful I am for this experience. The parts that make me cuss are good too, as it's just a way of easing frustration. Beats breaking dishes. And it's more fun.
In the afternoon I turned the telephone off and stretched out on the floor with a pillow and dozed in and out of sleep for 3 hours. My electrical system was cranked up so high it took quite awhile to drift out of consciousness, but that was OK. I just lay there to relax and follow the mind like watching clouds, just let it roll wherever it goes, at first hurried thinking that slowed down and slowed some more to the point I felt like I was about where Jr is, in a place that is not quite sleep, but unaware of everything, even thought, a zone of peace that still sees pictures in the mind, but thinks nothing of them.