The Early Morning Phone Call
The river stream flowed softly over my feet, soothing my tired body. Stretching my toes, I could feel the cool rocks. As I stretched out in overwhelming gratitude, the grass tickled my bare legs. I gently rolled the soles of my feet over the rocks, concentrating on feeling every inch of the bottom of my feet. It felt invigorating. I took three deep breaths, soaking in the warmth of the sun, the motion of the flowing water, feeling my body melting into the sensory sensations surrounding me.
And the noise? My heart pounding, I look quickly around the room to identify the shrilling noise. The phone. It was the phone. What time was it? Had I overslept? Was something wrong? My heart fell when the caller ID indicated "Bill." That meant either something has happened to him or he was in a state of awareness and had asked to call me.
Awareness is something I used to hope for. These days, awareness means sadness for Bill. I'm not sure what has triggered the difference. Maybe it's the holidays. Maybe it's seeing all the families coming and going. His clarity is incredible when you consider he couldn't even attempt a conversation two weeks ago. On the other hand, I haven't seen behaviors and haven't hesitated to take him home and on outings. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day ended in agitation and in Bill swinging at Jack at the end of the night. He of course handled it better than me. It brought me back to when we had to make the decision to leave and to help Bill find a safe place to live. Here we are again. The brain is a funny thing.
By the time I got there, his nurses and staff had all ready contacted the doctor for me and medication changes were all ready put in place. They had also given him a prn (as needed) for anxiety to help him for my visit. Bill is in an excellent home, but he is not capable of implementing his coping skills, and they don't have enough staff to help keep him busy enough to keep his mind off of things in his life that are out of our control.
We ate a wonderful lunch. We laughed with the staff and other residents. I had to giggle when a little lady who has some pretty severe coping issues herself, and has targeted Bill on more than one occasion for her aggression walked up to visit with us. She read my sweatshirt, one that advertises Lake Superior State University. Carefully she read the words, "Oh, that's wonderful," she said. I pointed to Bill, and indicated, "Bill was a professor there." "Oh, my," she said, "that's impressive." Staff were starting to get a little nervous, as the only thing between Bill and this little 80ish gal was me. "Have you met my husband?" "No," Dorothy stated, "I don't think I have." They shook hands, neither of them recalling past battles, walkers being thrown as weapons, and so forth. This looked liked the beginning of a wonderful friendship, if only for this moment in their memory capabilities.
I took Bill into his room, and we changed his clothes after a brief and very dramatic moment of incontinence. I quickly cleaned him up and put him in his favorite tshirt (AC/DC) and pair of plush soft sweat pants. I trimmed his beard and neck, teased him,
Happy New Year, Honey. We made it to New Years once again!