Happy New Year!
Our family celebrated New Year’s Eve in our son’s room in the orthopaedic unit of the rehabilitation hospital that will be his home for the next couple of months.
He fell asleep about 11:30. Our daughter watched a live streaming of the count down with us. Unlike other years, there was no discussion of resolutions or hopes for next year. We all went to bed as the revelers sang Auld Lang Syne.
Even if I had made a resolution, I’m not sure how to best to capture what is most important to me as 2013 opens.
As I was falling asleep, I heard Deane stir. It was the sleepy, groaning noise he often makes when he wants to roll to his other side, something he can’t do on his own because of the triangular piece of foam strapped between his legs. Turning him involves removing his blanket, taking away the pillows and blankets supporting this wedge on an angle and removing the sausage-shaped bean bag behind his back. Then you must physically turn him without bending him too much at his surgically reconstructed hip and replace the pillows, bean bag and blanket – ideally without waking him too much.
Sometimes this is a one-time thing and he sleeps for a while on that side. Unfortunately, most often, it is the beginning of a couple of hours of wanting to switch from side to side, trying to find a comfortable way to sleep in the wedge.
Eventually – often with the help of electronic distraction – he will either fall asleep or relatively quietly watch a video. This is often 4 or 5 a.m., after disjointed sleep for both Deane and the duty parent.
Because of the rough night, Deane sleeps through the regular breakfast time. When he has eaten, he is still tired and wants to watch TV and or nap.
As part of his therapy, he is supposed to be getting in a wheelchair for a couple of hours a day. He objects to this because it is less comfortable than lying in bed. When in his room in the wheelchair, he continually motions to his bed.
I have been trying to use this wheelchair time to get Deane out of his room to some the recreational activities, meet some other patients and provide alternative scenery for me. This is not something he would tend toward at the best of times and when tired and frustrated, he lets us – and everyone else – know he is not interested in participating.
Back to his room, his videos and a nap.
So nighttime rolls around and he sleeps for a while, but then the discomfort sets in and he wants to change sides again and again. Eventually, having napped during the day, he is awake enough to want to watch TV. Then the pattern begins again.
He is tired and off schedule. My husband and I, who have been alternating nights at the hospital, are exhausted. We lack the reserves to cajole, the energy to entertain and the gentle persuasion to convince Deane to try something new.
So, if I were to have a resolution, it would be to find our way out of this vicious cycle because we still have a long journey ahead.