Wednesday, July 8, 2009


We were supposed to take Mom over for her first radiotherapy session at 2PM today, but Mom, who had wanted to shower, chose to perform her ablutions far too late in the game: 12:30. Because Mom moves at an understandably glacial pace, a shower is a large and involved project for her. We had intended to leave at 1PM for the hospital (squeezing in a quick lunch before setting off), but Mom wasn't finished showering by then.

Dad also blames himself for having abetted Mom in her poorly-timed endeavor. He's been letting Mom sleep in on the assumption that the extra time in bed is allowing her to heal. I think Dad has a point, but Mom's need for sleep must also be balanced with her need for both increased physical activity and adherence to a proper circadian rhythm.

Mom is generally off to bed around 11PM and has, for the past little while, been waking up in the very late morning-- usually after 10AM. That's about 11 hours of sleep per day, not including long afternoon naps. We need to be more assertive in making sure that Mom gets up and takes care of herself in a timely manner, moving along from point to point on her daily schedule without slacking. When life slides too far out of rhythm, the body is affected. That, I think, is the flip-side of Dad's concern for Mom's need to sleep. Sleep shouldn't dominate her schedule, just as it shouldn't dominate the schedules of healthy people.

Assertiveness in dealing with Mom is becoming more important as Mom regains a measure of will. The problem is that, given the damage to her frontal lobe, she is experiencing no corresponding return of her logical faculties. This means we may have to treat Mom like a child, occasionally blocking her desire to fixate on this or that item, or to remain in one place for an over-long period. We-- Dad and I-- need to do a better job of viewing Mom's radiotherapy appointments as sacrosanct, which is what they are. For my part, I sleep only 6-7 hours a night, but I may have to wake up much earlier to provide an example for Mom. (As a night owl, the thought of waking up early pains me.)

So while we might, in some measure, fault Mom's slowpoke ways for today's missed appointment, the primary responsibility falls on Dad's and my shoulders. We need to be ready to push Mom, and if she becomes crabby in the process, well, that shouldn't deter Dad and me from doing whatever needs to be done to get Mom to her appointments on time.


No comments: