Two days ago I get up to get Babu’s breakfast ready and I notice something is off. Her teeth are not in her overnight container. This could be bad. One of two things happens when the teeth are not where they are supposed to be:
1. She slept with them in. This is rare because she usually remembers they have to come out at night.
2. or she did remember and “didn’t want them to get dusty” so she put them in or under something.
Well, it was the second one. Babu came out of the bathroom and I checked her mouth: no teeth. I looked quickly in the usual places, her little jewellery boxes on her bureau, the yellow cup by the bathroom sink… Nope, none of those places. So I looked in the little boxes that hold her little hair pins and clips that are scattered throughout the bathroom. Not there. Unfortunately, I had to tell her I was looking for them because I had to check her mouth. Now I’m checking strange places, the dirty dishes in the sink – yea they didn’t get done last night but let’s stick to what’s important. They are not there. I check her dresser drawers, they are not there. I check the oven, the place where she puts things that need to dry out. I get on hands and knees and see if they fell under the bed. I look in the bed, did they get tangled in the sheets? Nope. Nope. Nope. Now she’s getting out of her chair for some reason. I don’t want her walking around after me trying to find them! At the same time I’m on the phone with Adam who is (was) asleep upstairs. He doesn’t know either and is telling me about the yellow cup which I already checked and Babu is telling me about the yellow cup for the fifth time. I get off the phone with him and get her to sit back down. This could be bad. She can’t eat with out them and I’m worried she will get agitated. I look in all the little boxes again, in her stand up jewelry box, every drawer even the lower down ones, I check the drawer in the end table by her bed and as I straighten up, as Babu is telling me about the yellow cup for the seventh time, I know where they are. Tucked in a corner by her bed is a small sofa chair that is never sat on. It holds the bed pillows, other extra small pillows, and her doll that gets put on the bed if I bother to make it. It is always covered with a sheet of plastic because, well, dust. You know Babu and dust. I lift the cover and sitting on one of the pillows, “protected,” were her teeth.
I bring them to her and now it is my job to not allow her to get down on herself and stop her from calling herself a dumbbell – which I fail at. I manage to keep her self derision short and breakfast begins.
Are there any small details when it comes to taking care of an elderly person? Are there any small problems or do they all have the potential to spiral to bigger ones? Always pick up that pen off the floor. Always keep certain lights on so she does not confuse what time of day it is, go to bed, and not get certain pills. Keep certain lights off so that she doesn’t confuse the time. Always make sure to be stocked up on prunes because constipation can get out of control. Keep routines consistent to avoid her confusion. Ask all the right questions and avoid the wrong topics.
And make sure I know where her teeth are!
I have to admit, I haven’t really laughed about this yet, although it distantly seems to be worthy of a little chuckle. What I was able to do was change the course of Babu’s day, and mine. A little bump in the road, and a little straightening out of the wheel was all it took. I assured her it made sense where she put the teeth, she wanted them covered and when she looked at the date and said “Saturday…you don’t have to go to school tomorrow?” I said: “Nope! Your stuck with me.” Hugged her and snort laughed when she snort laughed.
We don’t see enough picture of Babu, so here we go: