Monday, July 24, 2006

Sack of Potatoes

bedsore ( ) n. A pressure-induced ulceration of the skin occurring in persons confined to bed for long periods of time.

That is what Bea has at the bottom of her spine, a bedsore. Nurse Jane put on a DuoDerme two weeks ago to cushion the whole area. I will change it today, since there has been oozing. I have been turning Bea on a regular basis. Hospitals recommend every two hours. She has slept all morning. Lisa just gave her a bed bath. Together we examine the raw pink flesh, an inch in diameter. Lisa looks upset and calls in to request a nurse’s visit sooner, rather than later.

“What are you doing!” Bea squawks as I help with sheets, sheepskin and pillow placement.

“We’re turning you,” I explain.

“Makes me feel like …”

“A sack of potatoes?”

“Yes, a sack of potatoes. Now let me sleep.”

Two hours later, I come in to change and turn her, alone.

“Who are you?” Bea demands in a suspicious voice.

“Sandy,” I say, removing the covers. Quickly I slip a new brief under her and secure the tabs. “Your daughter.”

“Hey! What do you think you’re doing?”

“I want you to turn for me.” Gently I push, but Bea is resisting.

“You don’t own me. What if I don’t want to turn?”

“I need you to turn for me.”

The terminology learned in day care apparently works for elderly people, too. Bea allows herself to be turned.

“Now go away. Let me sleep.”

1, 2, 3. This is Bea’s third day and second night of sleep.

I turn out the light and leave the room.


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