Wednesday, June 07, 2006

"Toddler Wiggling at Night"

My son installed a stat counter on this blog, so I will know what people are searching for when they find By Bea’s Bedside. Some of the more recent searches include

• physical touch and the elderly
• how to bathe elderly
• what to look for when a bedsore starts to heal
• nightgowns for the bedridden (from London)
• toddler wiggling at night.

Now, the last search is totally appropriate for what just happened...

Bea has a very busy day. When I go shopping, she lies in bed, partying away. Sven tries to distract her with news of his birthday party, celebrated last weekend. Bea just adds him to her guest list ...

By the time I return home, I can tell my mother will talk for hours to come. Her eyes get a certain sheen on chatty days. What is really bizarre is that Bea seems to be addressing someone. Often she will stop to listen and respond to what has been said. In fact, Bea has conversations with entities I cannot perceive.

After dinner, I decide to give Bea the pill Nurse Jane suggested for agitation. I cut the Ativan in half and slip it into Bea’s mouth.

“Who ordered these? Dr. Millhofer?” Bea asks suspiciously, as she always does every single time I give meds.

I am hoping for a night of uninterrupted sleep. Fat chance! Bea is still talking when I drift off. Her voice wakes me up a couple of hours later. She is not exactly calling out, but there’s a slightly more desperate tone to the chatter, so I go investigate.

Bea has managed to push the duvet onto the floor and has tossed the pillows across the room. She has been trying to get out of bed again and lies crooked against the rails. I tuck her in, give a drink of water, and scold. “Night is for sleep,” etc. etc.

Since Bea looks contrite, I imagine she will at least lower her voice, grateful to be warm again.

When, at 3:30, I get up to pee, I hear Bea, still chattering away. Since I am awake, I decide to peek in at her. I cannot believe my eyes. The pillows and duvet are all on the floor again. Bea has somehow managed to take off her pants, also on the floor, and has wiggled over to the far side of the bed where her legs dangle, squeezed through the bars. I feel her body. It is horribly cold.

Something close to desperation rises in my throat. I quickly tape her into a new pair of pants, replace the pillows, pile on covers. The clean bed has already begun to smell of urine, but we can fix that tomorrow. So much for half an Ativan! In the morning I will call Nurse Jane, but there is no rush. I know Bea will sleep for several days after such shenanigans. I go back to bed and listen. My toddler chats softly to herself for another half hour before falling asleep.

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