Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Twinkle Toes

“Let me wiggle my own feet!” my mother squawks, still a bit testy this morning.

Lisa ignores the request and begins to massage Bea’s tootsies.

“Can you twinkle your toes?” Lisa asks. “Move them around?”

Bea knows how. She's one real good toe-twinkler. Sometimes I come into the room and find her toes in motion. But her efforts have not been enough. While cold extremities are a normal progression for a bedridden person of extreme old age, her feet have gotten colder than one would hope these past few days. The wool socks and heating pad, applied yesterday, seem to help though.

Methodically, Lisa does one side, then the other.

I watch each foot perform a little dance movement, to the left, to the right, then up and down, slow exercises called Range of Motion.

“Can you point your toes?” Lisa asks. She supports the back of the ankle as Bea follows directions. “Good!”

“I’m Beatrice,” Bea tells the air.

“Middle name?” Lisa calls out.

“White.”

“Push down on my hand. Oh, good!”

“I rather like you,” Bea proclaims.

Lisa points at one of the bedsores. The exercise has made it bleed. She is massaging away old skin now, large flakes of it. I have never seen so much dead skin in one place. Bea starts humming a little tune. Twinkle Toes seems to be enjoying her foot massage. We assume she is no longer listening.

“Do you have a vacuum?” Lisa asks.

“That’s a funny idea!” Bea exclaims. “I’m an old lady. After you get to be too old, it isn’t funny anymore …”

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