Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Road to Dignity

Bea doesn’t want our weekend health-aide to touch her. Alison perseveres and, with a smile. I go in, under the impression that a more familiar face might help. Despite her squawking, Bea gets a bed bath and fresh nightgown. The skin on her tummy has become crackled like a sun-baked salt flat. Her skull is more angular than ever. While Alison applies Shea Butter, I fight the mental image of a scrawny chicken being buttered up for Sunday dinner, a perverse way to consider one’s mother, I agree.

This afternoon, Bea sings hymns to herself. She wakes me during the night, worried about a lost purse: “I have a problem. I wish there were some way I could find my handbag. It’s hard for me to accept because I have to have the responsibility of it since I don’t know how much money my father gave me. I need to pay for this room …”

Ah! Relinquishment of responsibility! No one wants to be beholden to others. Since the bedridden are, caregivers need to be illusionists. The Road to Dignity passes through Comfort, Reassurance, and Deception. We make stops along the way …

1 Comments:

Blogger Karyn said...

Well - to my way of thinking, this particular journey is not the one on which to skip the detours.

You're amazing; I hope you manage to care for yourself nearly so well during these days...

8:50 AM  

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