Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Bea Gets Her Hair Washed

“You need to call the doctor! I’ve got such pain in my back,” Bea tells me as soon as I start changing her. It is 8 am. I feel groggy, although I did manage to sleep a few hours. Since I am able to move her about without any screeching whatsoever, I assume the pain to be imaginary. “I’d like him to give me another shot. One on both sides. Dr. Millhofer. Do call him again.”

“You’ll have to wait,” I mutter. “I have to drink a cup of coffee first.”

“My daughter is the same way.”

Her daughter is the same way? Hmmm. And, I thought I had been recognized!

I don’t know who is more delighted to see the health aide, Bea or me. I am busy fielding a call for the bed & breakfast when Lisa strides in and offers to give Bea a bed bath. Lisa has wild dark curls that tumble around her face. Bea affectionately calls her the “Loch Mess Monster.” We are both very fond of Lisa.

Bea’s bed makes an enormous racket when the mattress and box spring rise into the air. It actually sounds somewhat like the elevators they used to have in department stores. I hear Lisa pretending to be the elevator operator as the bed rises. “First floor!” she cries out. “Men’s hosiery. Ladies lingerie. Electronics.”

After the bed bath, together we sit Bea up and gently lift her off the bed into a chair. Lisa changes the sheets while I comb snarls out of Bea’s hair. Then Lisa gives her a shampoo with a marvelous product called, “No-Rinse Shampoo.” The directions read: "Soft, Clean Manageable Hair Without Water. Just apply. Lather and towel dry.” Bea wears a big grin. She is enjoying the attention. Finally, Lisa applies face gel for dry skin. Dry skin apparently means Bea is not drinking enough fluids.

“How does that feel?” Lisa asks.

“It makes me feel beautiful,” Bea purrs, now tucked back into bed, happy as can be.

Lisa places a pillow under the sheepskin, so that Bea’s weight is not on the area of her back that has been hurting. She asks Bea to estimate the pain. It is a 4 on a scale of 1 to 10. Lisa tells me she will alert Nurse Jane and suggests I contact a hospice volunteer for some respite this afternoon.

What a good idea! I call the hospice volunteer who sits by Bea's bedside.

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