Care for mother begins at 2 am with a diaper check. Changing diaper is a gargantuan task. Mother usually locks her knees tightly. She resists. Glares. Unwilling. Or she just lies there.
After the diaper check and change, mother needs to be turned gently onto her other side. Next bout of cleaning is at 5.30 am. Breakfast at 8, lunch at 12 and dinner at 6 pm
Food is liquidized fruits and biscuits or soup or Ensure; medicines are powdered and mixed in water so she can swallow. But now mother often forgets to swallow. It’s an uphill task to get her to open her mouth. Sometimes she swallows the food, but at other times she lets the liquid flow out from the side of her mouth. Sometimes, she sleeps midway during a meal. Bath is no longer a daily activity. It is based on mother’s energy levels.
Most of the time mother looks blank even if one smiles at her or talks to her. Sometimes she nods or smiles. Once in a while she will respond with a word or two, or even a full sentence. But those moments are rare. “I tried to freeze them in my heart to compensate for all that blankness,” recalls Swapna."...