Caretaking: Sleeping Issues

Many times the bedtime and sleeping challenges for the seriously ill develop slowly.  After my mother’s cancer was diagnosed and she  began chemo, she and Daddy continued to sleep in the same bed.  Everything was fine….for a while.

After the second month of chemo, Mother’s strength quickly began to give way.  She was finding it harder and harder to walk down the hall to their bedroom.  One day she walked down that hall for the last time, collapsing like a wet rag unable to get up.  Daddy called a family friend, a big man who picked her up like she was a baby and put her on the bed.  She was too weak to go any further.

After her hospital stay, she was somewhat stronger and could walk short distances.  However, because their bed was too low and too far away for her walking endurance, we (her daughters) decided that the ‘front bedroom’ was the best place for her to sleep at night.  Medicare provided a hospital bed, as well as a bedside toilet.  We did our best to make her new bedroom comfortable for her.  We bought an infant monitor and set it up so that Daddy could hear her if she needed something at night.

It made me sad that Mother and Daddy could no longer sleep together, but they didn’t protest.  I think they knew that life was no longer under their control.

The hospital bed was somewhat of a disappointment to me.  I guess I was expecting all the ‘bells and whistles’ with which the beds in the hospitals were equipped.  The noisy mattress was not comfortable at all and the head and foot was raised and lowered with a hand crank. ugh.  However, it did fit her needs because it needed to be high enough off the ground that she could get in and out easily.

This was how we handled the sleeping and bedtime issues.  If you, dear readers, have any suggestions that worked well in your family, please feel free to comment.


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