Meems spent the last week in the hospital with pneumonia. I spent the last week in the hospital with Meems. She didn't sleep well at night. Ergo, I didn't get any sleep at night. I began the journey with cute clothes, bright makeup and a chirpy attitude. As the week wore on, everything changed.
On the 3rd morning (approx 8:30AM) as I was shuffling sleepily to the cafeteria to grab a sausage biscuit, I passed a woman who had apparently just walked off the page of a Vogue picturial themed "A Casual Stroll Through New York City in Stilleto Boots." A large Louis Vuitton Damier Ebene Neo Neverfull bag (yup, googled it) was slung over her shoulder, and the cadence of her heels tapping on the floor told me that she was a woman on a mission. I was trundling along in neon pink and green Brooks tennies, an Old Navy red and black buffalo check flannel boyfriend shirt, and wrinkled 2nd day yoga pants that I had slept in the night before. My bed hair was a crazy mess, and yesterday's eye makeup had migrated to just below my lower lids, I had not yet brushed my teeth. After she passed, I waited a few seconds before looking back just to see her walk away. She was that impressive. Sadly, she did not give me even the tiniest backward glance.
Then it dawned on me:
I had entered the
Legion of Bedraggled Hospital Bedside Sitters.
Yup, I dressed for comfort and versatility. Daywear had to transition to nightwear by the simple act of removing a bra. I carried a Land's End tote that weighed 25 pounds: deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, 3 novels, houseshoes, IPad, purple purse. My pink and white "fills" were so long, I had trouble navigating the home row on my keyboard.
One morning, Alan came to "spell" me while I went home to shower. Numbly, I stepped into the empty elevator feeling pretty happy that I didn't have to make small talk with other passengers. With inches to spare a man's hand was thrust between the closing doors. The doors opened, and a fellow Bedraggled Hospital Bedside Sitter invaded my private elevator. We give each other tired smiles and said nothing. One floor down, another BHBS joined us. He was a lively man who said, "Shew-weeee, that couch can give you a sore back!" Our fellow Legionaare laughed and said, "You got the couch?! My wife got the couch! I got the FLOOR!" My people. We shared a laugh. I smiled all the way home.
As I mentioned before, Mom didn't sleep very well in the hospital. Therefore, I came up with a little night time folly for myself.
The Hospital Night Sitter Drinking Game
|Circles and Squares|
When - NOT IF - Meems wakes me up to tell me any of the following -
"I need to go to the bathroom" - 1 sip of watered down iced tea
"I want to play Bingo" - 1 sip of flat Diet Pepsi
"Is it almost breakfast time" - 3 sips of lukewarm water from the hospital plastic pitcher
"I want bacon and eggs" - a slug of a mixed drink - 1 part watered down tea, 1 part flat Diet Pepsi
"Carolyn, can you come here?" "Yes, Mom." "Good. I'm thinking of circles and squares" - 1 slug of whatever she's having
The night that she was obsessed with playing Bingo was a long one. 1:00AM - "Is it almost time for Bingo?" 1:26AM - "Will you take me to Bingo?" 2:10AM - "Will you help me play Bingo?" 1:24AM - "Bingo is at 2:00." All night long. The next morning, I was praying that she'd go back to thinking of "circles and squares," but Bingo was to be the subject of the day. Alan called me right after I helped her eat breakfast. I told him about the night. "What are you doing now?!" he asked. "I'm making a #%$@ Bingo card on a piece of paper with a Sharpie!" I replied. For markers, I used the $4 in quarters that came back as change when I inserted a five dollar bill in the coke machine. I ain't gonna lie. It felt like I was winning in Vegas when it started raining quarters. And, they sure came in handy as Bingo markers. I called out random numbers and helped her place the quarters. I actually called out numbers that she didn't have on her card from time to time to keep it real. "N-82! N-82!" She fell asleep before she ever got a Bingo.
|I can't go to lunch without my shoes|
One day I came back from my trek home to shower and found Alan feeding my mom her lunch. This picture makes my heart swell with love for my man. He is so, so sweet to my mother. Note the red circle. "She kept saying that she couldn't go to lunch without her shoes on."
That evening, a male nurse and an aide again transferred her from her bed to the hospital Robochair. That ain't no Lazyboy. It's a full on metal and Naugahyde reclining machine. Transferring Meems to the chair requires an intricate ballet of "hold on to me and 'dance'" and the repositioning of tubes and wires. Remember the days when you dressed your kids from head to toe in snow clothes? And then, they said those dreaded words - "I need to go to the bathroom." With Meems situated in the Robochair and her supper tray settled in front of her, after the first bite I hand-fed her she murmured, "I need to go to the bathroom." Bit my tongue clear in half. Bless her heart.
When the doctor came by to see her one last time this morning, Meems looked over at him and said, "I don't want to have another baby." No uterus. No problem.
She returned home to her beloved Aberdeen* this afternoon. She was so happy to be back with her housemates and the staff! I couldn't have been more thrilled! Tonight, I'll sleep in my own bed in real pajamas.
I need to give a special shout-out to my niece, Kelly!! She stayed last night at the hospital so that I could go to my Bible Study AND sleep at home!!! God bless you, KKB!!!