The Lady In Red heaved Dad out of his wheelchair and into bed. We were discussing World Wrestling Federation moves. This led naturally into roller derby recollections.
I'd gotten Dad's shirt off, and hospital gown on, but I can't transfer him. Once she got him flopped onto the bed, I peeled off his shoes, socks, and sweatpants, while Ms. Red checked his diaper.
Ms. Red said she used to take a good nap just so she could stay up late and watch roller derby on tv. She wanted to be a Bay City Bomber when she grew up. Ms. Red is young, born in 1963. My students are younger, but some of them have a future skating round and round, pointlessly bulldozing into anyone in their path.
I watched roller derby as a kid on weekend afternoons in black and white. Unless the Yankees had a game the viewing choices were slim--bowling, fishing, the local talent show, golf with Arnold Palmer and Gary Player, or "Learn to Draw" with Jon Gnagy. Several of these options were nap-inducing!
Tuesday Dad wanted me to sit with him until he fell asleep. He was chilly after supper, so I covered him with two quilts. I sat next to him, stroking his skinny arms, and eventually just letting the weight of my hand on his chest secure him for his exit ramp to sleep. It's in my job description. I do the same thing for seven to ten preschoolers most afternoons. Hush little baby, don't you cry, close your eyes so you can watch roller derby...
Dad can't put any weight on his legs to stand for the quick pivot into bed now. He can't hang his arms around Ms. Red's neck and dance with her. Most significantly perhaps, he can't stand and pivot enough to be put on the toilet for a bowel movement. My intent is not to be gross, but to document the progressive loss of independence and self esteem, and the sadness of observing this deterioration.
After my trip I'll have some nice photos of geese. Right now you will have to draw your own with Jon Gnagy!
© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder