I have changed the format of this blog slightly. I used to write a post summarizing the journals, then a post about the conversation with Babu, then a post with excerpts. I sometimes skip the middle one and I want you to know I’m still sharing these with her. It is my favorite part! I don’t wish to belabor the point if I’m simply enjoying the stories she’s told me before, that I have already shared with you, or on those days where she mostly reads to herself and simply says thank you.
I shared December with her today and I had her snorting with laughter. Actually, in this case it’s her witty writing that gets her laughing. At the end of 1935 she writes a risque passage that we both laughed over and I felt such joy in laughing with her. (Stayed tuned, I’ll be showing this passage in the excerpts!)
Lately, Babu has been a little stubborn with me. Today I sat with her at the breakfast table and she was wondering why her water was shaking and I told her it was because I was typing at the other end of the table. She said: “no” and I was a little surprised. I, of course with good cheer, let it go. It’s harder for me to let it go when she is belligerent about something about her health that is untrue and therefore is causing her worry I wish she didn’t have. We’ve been almost arguing a lot recently. Over poop.
Yes, I am going to talk about poop now. It’s really important when you take care of an elderly person, or when you take care of a child, too, I suppose!
She’s either been constipated or explosive. The latter caused a big, big mess and it was our fault. Every nurse or doctor has told us the elderly just suffer from constipation, and well, I guess, husband and I were just a little too solution orientated. Since then her doctor has repeatedly told us she doesn’t have to go everyday and that there isn’t much you can do – unless you want another “poopchimihn trail.” That’s what Adam and I called it, not the doctor. But she obsessively worries. She wants it solved. She has started to tell me that she hasn’t gone in weeks. That’s not true but there’s no need to argue with her…except that she’s starting to want to eat less, not because she feels full, but because she is so negatively focused on: “Where is it all going? It’s just sitting in there!” Also, I simply don’t want her to worry! So, I hate to admit it, but I gave her push back and almost went as far as to explain to her that her memory is getting wonky. What would that have helped?!?! I had to take a step back. I’ve been treating her like a child. I almost did it again today when she came from the bathroom completely out a breath, to a point I got a small amount concerned, and went directly to do her exercises. I don’t want her to do that. In her opinion, she didn’t want to sit and stand up again, so she was going to get it done.
Who am I to tell her what she can do? She does this exact ritual every day and she’s fine. I hang around to make sure she’s ok, but why am I thinking I have all the right answers? Sure, I am right that she is wrong about how long it’s been since a poop. But who am I to tell her how to think or feel about it? I have other strategies, distraction, or listening genuinely and sympathetically. Maybe all she needs is to talk and feel validated and to not be treated as if she’s wrong.
Of course, I know all this but with stress and worry rearing its ugly annoying little face, I can forget. I’m writing this to remind those of you who care take to be humble. If you care take for a child, sometimes they know what’s what. If you care take for someone elderly, don’t disregard what they say just because they have been slipping in their mental capacity. It would be tragic to overlook the times they are right. Even if it means sometimes we are wrong!