Aging · Burt Reynolds · Caregiving · Dementia · Insomnia · Musings

Like a Fart in a Frying Pan

Burt Reynolds

I care for a priceless lady who is pleasantly demented. Her mobility has decreased significantly. She marvels that she wants to get up and move but her knees just sit there and do nothing. She stares at and then smacks them and says, “Come on knees!” The way she does that, I keep expecting them to kick up and take off like a donkey that was rudely awakened.

At 2 a.m. last night, she was up for the 3rd time needing to use the bathroom. She has a night light so I don’t turn the light on. It takes me less than a minute to get to her when she pushes the foghorn of a buzzer. No sooner do I walk in than she says, “What are you doing here?”

My foggy eyes still shut, I smile and say, “You buzzed me.”

“Oh yeah. Well you came too quick.” She responds.

I breathe deeply as the last concept of whatever dream I was immersed in slips away. “What can I do for you my dear?”

“I gotta go bad. Let’s do it real quick and we can go back to sleep.”

I raise the head of her bed and tell her to swing her beautiful legs over. She sits there a minute, scratches her head and says there must be bugs in there. Sometimes  it’s “Do you hear that choir singing? Must be at the church.” Or, “We really need to stop opening the windows. Those blasted raccoons marched right through here in a row and now they have cereal all over the living room floor. This is ridiculous!” There’s no end to what’s going on at any given time.

It’s a wonder, and a shame, what we take for granted.  It used to be she could move and talk at the same time. Any more, that overloads the system. Desperate as she is “to go”, she also normally has something she really needs to tell me, which puts her in a bind. Last night her son had called her to chat.

“That kid amazes me,” she scratches her head. “He said he just got his first job out of college and he’s so excited.” In reality he’s in his fifties and has been working forever. “They just love him. I really need to go.”

“Swing those beautiful legs over,” I say.

“These  ugly legs? They haven’t been beautiful forever.” She finds a wart on them and inspects it.

“Bring them right here.” I stand where I need them to be.

“Right there?” She clarifies.

“Right here,” I clarify.

It takes her a long minute to get there. It takes several steps and much coaching to get her feet where they need to be so she can stand. She moves to the spot by the transfer pole where she’ll stand. She’s breathing audibly now and I ask her to stand whenever she’s ready.

“Okay,” She says, revving to go. “Let’s go.” She is her own best cheerleader. She rocks back and forth, rearing like a champion stallion. Nothing happens. She sighs, exasperated. I’m ready to help her but her knees need to join us, otherwise she’s dead weight.

“What’s this on the floor?” She asks suddenly and reaches down.

“Where?” I ask.

“There are bags down here,” she asserts.

I guess the light is coming on. I turn it on, dimmed.

“Oh, they were there a minute ago.” She finds and leisurely fondles another wart.

“Stand when you’re ready.”

“Where are we going?” She asks innocently.

“Right here to pee.” I point to the bedside commode.

“Well, that’s a great idea, coz I gotta go. I don’t know what I’d do without you to tell me these things!”

I’m a regular genius. I snicker.

“Come on knees.” Smack. “Look at ’em. They just sit there.”

“They’re coming,” I reassure her. “You be ready when they are. Keep your hands on the pole.” My hands are on her and her body will give me the feedback I need to know when to hoist her. It just takes the knees a minute. A long minute.

“So this Burt Reynolds is just a regular hunk and he thinks my son is the best thing since lined paper. He told him, “you tell your mother she did a good job raising you, kid!” and I said, well I agree with him but every mother thinks they did a pretty good job.”

“Okay, come up to standing mama,” I say urgently. Her knees give me a narrow window.

“And he is so good looking but I tell my son, “I’m a married woman. I don’t want any shenanigans. So don’t you keep telling him how great I am. God, I gotta go.”

We’re half standing now but she forgets which way we’re going and suddenly heads towards the head of the bed and plops down.

I breath deeply. I can do this.

“Do I lie down now?” she asks.

“Do you need to pee?”

“You know, I do! How did you know?”

“Mama, put your hands on the pole and stand when your ready. I’ll help you.”

“Oh I don’t need help. I’ll just stand and sit on the pot. I wouldn’t want you to hurt yourself.” She puts her gorgeous hands on my face. “I just love you. I’ll never forget you. And if there’s ever anything I can do for you, why, you just let me know.”

“Thank you mama.” I kiss her forehead and fondly rest my head on hers for a minute. “Stand when you’re ready.”

That’s how it goes at 2 in the morning, when you gotta go, but the knees won’t move, and this is where it gets real good because Burt Reynolds, God love him, the way he cocks his head when he smiles that big smile of his, well he told my son…, “knees move!” Smack!

We’re partway up again when she plops right back own and says, “Honey, can you check  if there’s a snake in that pot, coz if there is, you’ll be chasing me clear to Kentucky. You think I’m fast now, I’m like a fart in a frying pan when I see a snake!”

Public domain photo retrieved from Criterion.com

Insomnia · Musings · Poetry · Thankfulness

From Sigh to Thanks to Snore

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I lay awake at 2.36 a.m. and got to thinking that time spent marveling is better than time spent sighing.

I yawned luxuriously, and it struck me, slowly, sleepily, that I was grateful for my mouth –

for my upper and lower lip,

my upper and lower jaw,

my 27 teeth (sans wisdom teeth and the one I sacrificed to the roasted banana gods). Thank you for my tongue, my salivary glands, the hard and soft parts of the roof of my mouth, and for my uvula.

Thank you for my nose – my nose hairs, my septum, my columella and sinuses.

Thank you for ears –  my lobes, my pinna – which is my reading glasses holder, and my wet-willy canal. Thanks for my ear drum, hammer, stapes, and anvil. Thanks that I no longer grow mushrooms in my ears.

I am thankful for my eyes – my upper and lower eye-lids, my lashes, and eye-brows. Thank you for my iris, my cornea, my optic nerve and disc, my aqueous  and vitreous humors, my fovea, my caruncle, and my retina.

Thank you for my brain’s frontal, temporal, parietal, and occipital lobes; my corpus callosum, my septum, amygdala, and pituitary gland; my sulci & gyri; my Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area, my white and grey matter; my hypothalamus,  pineal gland, hippocampus, and reticular activating system; my pons, my medulla, my cerebellum

My peduncle, my great-uncle…

Sorry if I forgot any parts… or put them… in the… wrong… place… snore…

Autobiography · Cats · Insomnia · Musings · Oops! · Short story

Broom, Meet Cat!

cat

I haven’t slept well in months.

This contributes to a mild case of constant underlying rage, curbed only by the gorgeous spring days we are having and the resulting pleasure of playing in my flower gardens.

Rose, our regal (to hear her tell it) cat, occasionally slips into the house at night to cuddle with the boys. This drives the Rancher crazy. She used to be an indoor cat till she had 5 kittens and the whole rambunctious (jumping, climbing, tearing, playing, running, tipping, pooping in planters, flea-inviting, etc.) bunch was banished by said Rancher to the great outdoors. She has raised them all now and they are contributing members of cat society. She thinks things should revert to the way they were before the brats came along, and she should enter and exit as she pleases.

Endless family conversations have happened about whether she is an indoor cat, or an indoor-outdoor cat.  He wants her to be an outdoor only cat. This sends the boys into convulsive fits of lamentation. He wants my support so he looks to me for agreement during these conversations. He doesn’t understand that her superb cuddling abilities surpass his, and that I too relish her snuggles. So I slowly avert my eyes, take a long draft on my delicious coffee, and return to typing my blog, oblivious to hullabaloo.

At 2.17am last night, the queen scratched on my bedroom door to inform her minion that she wished to exit the house and go a-prowling. I got up, eyes closed to deter a full awakening, and, muttering about how she really needed to be an outdoor only cat, walked to the front door. She bounded past me in the opposite direction and headed to the side door. I sighed in annoyance and, with one eye open at half mast, plodded my tired self to the side door where she waited patiently. I slid the heavy glass door open and inhaled the wonderful night air.

She paused a second and deciphered the myriads of smells that came at her as she normally does before she darts out. She didn’t move. “Go,” I said, my irritation mounting when she didn’t exit after a few seconds. I opened the eye fully to make out her dark form and put my foot gently behind her to help her out.

The vixen turned her venomous fangs at me and hissed like a cobra ready to strike. I hesitated to grab her and throw her out – given the aforementioned fangs and general sore attitude. She was not getting away with this ridiculous behavior!

“Oh no you don’t!” I hissed back, my eyes now both fully opened. I threw on the lights,  stomped a few feet to the kitchen, and grabbed a broom, ready to launch her out the door and clear into tomorrow. I stomped back into the room, noisily pulled away the chair she was now hiding under and, like a champion golf player, poised the broom to tee and snarled, “I’ll show you who’s queen in this house!”

With angry, sleepy, light-assaulted eyes narrowed, I glanced at the exit to ascertain my 300 yard aim when, to my dismay, realized the screen door was shut!

I’d shut it earlier to enjoy the spring breeze and whoever shut the door didn’t slide it open. I was appalled at myself and heartbroken!

“You can be queen, Rose,” I apologized as I slid the screen door. “And you can be an indoor cat too!” I turned off the lights and shuffled with eyes closed to my bed next to the snoring Rancher. Boy am I glad he doesn’t read my blog. He’ll never hear about this.

Insomnia · Musings · Poetry · Sleeplessness

Dreaming Right About Now

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I’d rather be dreaming but I don’t know how

It was all going great till I had to pee

I’ve had Melatonin and Sleepy Time Tea

My work pile’s  a mile high and awaits only me

I’d rather be dreaming right about now.

 

I’d rather be dreaming, heavy hangs the brow

but a rogue thought sparked and a fire it stoked

and all the peace and quiet, is successfully provoked

though I chased it down, and wrestled it, its mercy I invoked

I’d rather be dreaming, but I don’t know how.

 

I’d rather be dreaming right about now

Seems 2 AM was ten hours ago, and now 3:56.

I lie here exhausted, I’ve emptied my bag of tricks,

Send a man to the moon, but this I can’t fix

I’d rather be dreaming… so heavy hangs the brow…

 

 

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