I am entirely self-conscious about my skills (or lack thereof) as a caregiver. My dad is kind of a superhero and my sister is a kick-ass nurse and both of my brothers can be gentle and patient and muster at least some modicum of bedside manner when necessary, but none of the aforementioned competencies apply to me. Whenever I attempt to attend to my mom the aid I give usually ends with somebody, oftentimes her, telling me not to be so gentle or scared or timid and it truly irks me to be so awful at something, which is a fact that my family members are deliciously aware of. In truth, the whole thing has become a running joke among them, a joke that gained traction last fall when my mom wrote on her blog that my older brother and I could use some practice when transferring her to the couch from her wheelchair.
Kelly and Bryan are pretty good at the transfer but Chad and Corey still need some practice because sometimes they miss my pillow and then we start laughing as they tug and pull my body to the pillow.
I offered up the above bit of information because earlier today my mom and I were lounging in the living room watching In & Out while my dad ran errands around town and about halfway through the movie my mom made a sound to indicate that she needed something from me and after a series of yes and no questions, which she answered with either two short blinks (yes) or one long blink (no), I concluded that she needed her head adjusted. While I was moving her upper body around to try and make her more comfortable without pulling her hair or breaking her neck I spotted an eyelash in her left eye and so, forgetting the actual issue of making her head comfortable, I peeled off her glasses, retrieved a tissue and eye drops from the bathroom and settled in to try and fish the lash out. When I finally glanced her eyeball with the tip of my index finger and came away with the stubborn bit of hair ten minutes later she locked eyes with me and smiled, ignoring, for a moment, the fact that her eyes were red and watering and her head was in no better state than it had been when she'd asked for my help, and said, "You just saved my life." Then she started laughing and I laughed too and I kissed her forehead and realized that even without the use of her limbs or her voice my mom is still taking care of me.