When you see this picture of a beautiful bath ready for you, you probably see yourself relaxing, the smells from the bath salts, your skin soft. Am I right? Well when Monday’s come around for me, I don’t think of bath day as a spa day in fact quite the opposite. Why? you ask, well because Monday’s is my mom’s bath day. Which one would think what’s the big deal right?. Well, it’s anything but that.
For as long as I can remember I have only known my mom to have a bath, never shower. Plus she only did it once a week, which was Saturday nights because usually her and my dad always had a get-together or a party at my dad’s work. It never dawned on me that she actually hated baths. Until she came to live with us and she would go weeks before without bathing. So I started to give her a bath and in the beginning, it was horrible. She would cry, scream, and once she even tried to bite me. I couldn’t believe this gentle loving soul could be so mean. I was frustrated and hurt and felt like a terrible daughter, making her do something I knew she didn’t like to do. The words that came out of her mouth tore at my heart. But being in the nursing field I knew she had to have to too prevent sores etc. I won’t go into the medical reasonings I’m sure you all know and agree.
This is one of those times that having a parent with Dementia that any child would hate going through. Making your parent doing something that terrifies them or makes them angry. After every bath and after she’s dressed and warm she always apologizes, then cries and says she a horrible mom, she know’s I’m only doing what’s best for her and it’s ok for me to give her a bath. Until the next week, when we go through this all over again. Then again she apologizes, and this routine has been going on and off for 2 years.
But there is a bright side, and this is why I know I’m doing the right thing. Because each time we do this, the duration of the bath isn’t getting as bad, yes she still complains that she’s cold and she gets upset, especially when I have to wash her hair. I usually do that at the very last, by the way, lol. But the perks of her dementia is that I never know what mood she’ll be in before I open her bedroom door and have to remind her what day it is.
I have done a few tricks to help one of which I think has made a difference is that I run the water and put in her favourite bubble bath, I also have a portable heater running so the room is toasty and then finally I have a bath chair so she technically isn’t totally in the water but at least she is still able to climb in.
This morning I went in to see how she was, I knew she needed to have a bath so when I saw she was in a good mood I brought it up. She said ” oh yeah, that’s right.” that was it! So I told her I have the heater on, and the water nice and warm, but I gave her some time and she actually was pretty good about it. She got up, went to the bathroom. Climbed in I gave her the scrubby and she started washing, I washed her back and then the complaining started, but it wasn’t anywhere near what she used to be like. When I ran the shower head to wash her hair and she started getting louder saying “she hates this, why can’t we just go to a salon?” so I told her the last time it cost her $40 to have a wash and style. Plus we weren’t going anywhere today. So we got it done, with a little complaining and then she was done. I dried her off, blow dried her hair and lotioned her legs etc. Bath all Done. I’m not telling you this to get praise for being a good daughter, or for people to say “hey great job” I’m telling you this because I know I’m not the only daughter that looks after her mom and I probably won’t be the last. But sometimes it’s nice to know your not alone when you have tough days like these usually are for me and my mom. Sometimes we have to take the bad with the good. The main thing is that I get to cherish every moment I have with mom.