Mondays with Mom: Bedridden

Mom has forgotten how to walk; the bed is now our only option. We knew it was inevitable, but now that it’s here, there’s so much to learn about caring for someone who is bedridden. I’ve done it before in other caregiving situations so it’s just a matter of brushing off those skills. For Dad, this is a new phase of letting go and it’s very difficult.

We’ve had a few tumbles in the last few months. Mom has been leaning to the right and it sometimes throws the caregiver off balance. Thankfully, there have been no injuries except for a couple of bumps and bruises. It’s a slow-motion feeling of terror when she starts to sink, but there’s very little to do except a controlled fall. I’m certain it must be scary for her, too, so we’ll keep her safely tucked in the bed from now on.

Sunday was her first time in a bed in months. She’s been sleeping in her lift chair with the exception of bathroom breaks and trips to the dining room for lunch and birdwatching. (I don’t think she’s paid attention to the birds in a while, but Dad likes to snuggle into her and watch them.) She was confused by the lying prone position; her legs were stretched out in front of her and she kept shifting them around. She also adjusted her upper body often, getting used to the new sensation of being stretched out.

Having her safely tucked in bed presents new challenges for all of us who care for Mom. Thankfully, we have a wonderful, adjustable bed that raises and lowers in three different zones to help prevent pressure points and bedsores. The entire bed raises to make it easier on the caregivers’ backs, too. Of the six caregivers, three of us have been down this road before with other patients. The learning curve will be steep for the other three.

These next few weeks will be difficult as we adjust to this new normal. The hardest part is simply knowing this is the next step in losing her. Each adjustment to a new season is difficult and Dad tells me often how tired he is of this world. I know he’d simply take her hand and drift on home if he could arrange for both of them to leave at the same time. I’m glad he’s not in charge of it, however much he longs for home.

No matter what the challenges, I know how wonderful it is to still have both Mom and Dad here. I’m glad to keep them here as long as the Lord allows and no matter where they spend their days – in bed or otherwise.

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