Tuesday, September 05, 2006

How Much Care Is Necessary?

Last night I slept soundly for the first time in months. I did not use the bed next to Bea’s bedroom. Instead, I slept far enough away so that I could hear her cry out, but not close enough for soft talking to disturb my sleep. In my dream, I returned to Paris and escaped aboard an Express train to Lyon with a dear old friend who needed respite from his life, too. When I woke up, it occurred to me that I was now traveling in my mind, just the way Bea does every day!

How much care should one provide? My daughters and I disagree. They do not see any problem with going off to the beach for a long walk and leaving Bea alone in bed.

“Hospice provides volunteers for that kind of thing,” I say.

“So, call a volunteer!” they cry in unison.

Comfort Care, as the hospice folks have explained it, seeks to eliminate distress. As Bea’s primary caregiver, I have become a member of their team.

Once I went shopping and my husband forgot he had babysitting duty. Lisa found Bea frantic. Unacceptable!

A mother would never leave an infant alone. I feel the same way about Bea, which makes this period of my life so strenuous…


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