Thanksgiving Thanks

There are two things a child should never have to do – change their parent’s diaper and bathe them.  I had the first one under my belt and the second one came the day before Thanksgiving.

Oh, yes, lets count the things I’m thankful for.

1) Mom and Bill and I have a roof over our heads, food to eat and enough income to pay for it.

2) The kids and grand kids are within driving distance for the first time in 20 years.

3) Mom can still get from her bed to the toilet without falling down.

4) I can sleep through the night because someone invented a port-a-potty and it’s stationed next to Mom’s bed. (See number 3).

5) Mom’s appetite is good, she’ll eat just about anything, she just can’t tell the difference between homemade chicken and dumplings and a a cup of Raman noodles,

6) I got to live 64 years without having to hose off my mom in the shower.

It was the day before Thanksgiving and it had also been two weeks since Mom’s last shower.  That was the last insurance-approved visit by the homecare worker.  Quite honestly, this wasn’t something I was looking forward too, but the kids were coming for turkey and stuffing and, even though she didn’t notice the odiferous smell coming from her person, Bill and I sure could.  So, I bit the bullet and finally insisted she get cleaned up.

And, for all my trepidation, it actually turned out to be, for me anyway, a far more traumatic and gross experience than I’d ever imagined.

Bathing your parent is a slippery slope – and I mean that quite literally.  It’s not like washing a toddler, who you can grab and easily pick up when they start to splash and get rambunctious and decide to fall.  When a 145 pound granny decides to lose her footing and go down while trying to step out of the shower stall, there isn’t much you can do except try to make her impending contact with the floor as minimally damaging as possible.  A neat trip if you can pull it off.

And, somehow, I did.

So, the 7th thing I’m thankful for is that I managed to catch her on the way down, lower her gently to the floor, and somehow hoist her slippery naked body back up onto the wheelchair.  Then, I got her dried, dress and coiffed without breaking anything vital- on her or me.

Which brings me to the 8th, and most important thing that I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving.  I didn’t have to yell for Bill to come and help me, which would have forced him to see Mom in her birthday suite.  I was able to protect him from that because I knew that plucking naked Mom up from the shower floor would have triggered Bill’s own version of PTSD – Post Traumatic Shower Disorder.  The mental imagery that would occur every time he had to baste a featherless, naked gobbler probably would have spoiled this wonderful family holiday for both of us for years to come.

Happy Thanksgiving all!!


One Comment on “Thanksgiving Thanks”

  1. Approaching 60 myself and aware how this must feel. Somehow you write about it with humour and humanity. Good luck

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