Monday, July 18, 2011

Birds in Their Little Nest Adapt

Yet again, nature is illuminating life for us. We have a tiny area, little patio, teeming with lessons of all kinds when I get time to see them.

This last two days has been the start of a new, another new, normal for us at home. HP is now almost beyond speech and can not support himself well in his chair despite all kinds of surrounding supports and pillows and clever therapist ideas, is very hazy as to what's going on around him, exhausted a lot, can't understand speech. His nurse visited this morning and agreed with me that this is probably a new stage in his gradual decline.

So I decided I have to examine our daily procedures and see which are no longer necessary, which are more so, and so on. I already cancelled the newspaper that he can not read any more, can't turn the pages, can't follow his favorite bridge column, and the photographs are very frightening to him.

I now feed him all his food and drink, since his attempts to pick up a cup are doomed every time, the sequence of hand moves now beyond his skills, and he's stopped fighting my efforts to help him. He often can't remember how to suck through a straw, or how to let me put food in his mouth, so this is more complex than it sounds.

I'm letting the evening public tv news go without switching it on, since he is no longer aware that it's on, though it was a favorite thing until very recently. I can't even leave him for a few minutes alone, since he can plunge over the side of his chair, won't fall, but will be very upset about it.

And one big thing, instituted this morning, which his nurse suggests I try for a week -- changing the morning care. Now he is washed, cleaned, dressed all as usual, but instead of getting him up to the breakfast table, I started feeding him breakfast in bed, letting him fall asleep again, and I got him transferred to the table for lunch instead. He was very angry about this change, but his nurse says, just give it a few days and see what works out. She thinks that he's reached the point where it's starting to be too tiring for him to be sitting up all day, as he has been up to now.

I've been trying to give him the most normal daily life, get up in the morning, eat breakfast, read the paper, etc., stay up, being moved around for interesting views outside, until early evening, go to bed and watch the news from there. Same reason I dressed his bed in the same nice colors as the room, and his pillows and cushions are like the rest of the furniture, so it's like a living room, not a hospital room.

But it look as if I have to rethink and see how this will work for me. There are many moving parts, aside from the few I described above. My mantra is as usual: how can I make this into something we can enjoy, not just endure.

Meanwhile, on the patio a pair of Carolina wrens have suddenly decided to build a nest in a houseplant I have hanging on the patio. To us this looks like a nice begonia, hanging in an outer pot, the plant in an inner one, out for the summer. To the wrens, it's a bijou residence

in a nice neighborhood

and they fought off a couple of house sparrows this morning to defend it while they stuffed all kinds of twigs and leaves and fluff into the outer pot.

Wrens are the ultimate in adaptability. They nest in whatever looks good to them, if it gets ruined, they move away and start a new nest, even if it's as late as July. They don't waste time grieving, just tie a knot and move on.

Not a bad thing for me to be witnessing this morning especially.


dianesowo said...

Many hugs and nods of understanding for you and for SO.

I like your mantra - may it be ever so.

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Another step in the journey - HP is very lucky indeed to have you by his side to ease his way. Be strong and be sure to take time for much as is possible.

Minimiss said...

Always in my thoughts. {{{hugs}}} to you both.

Heather said...

My love to you both. You are the embodiment of compassion and strength of character.