Monday, July 28, 2008

caregiving: bedtime routine

Patti’s MS fatigue leaves her exhausted by 8 PM. Even though Patti resides safely in a 24/7 care facility I prepare and tuck her into bed 4.5 nights per week. 


Bedtime routine has become ‘show time’. While most of the below also attempt to creatively address symptoms the main target is the mental health of laughter.


Teeth brushing – I push Patti into the bathroom to have her brush her own teeth at the sink. While more like playing in the sink, I believe it is important for her to keep trying as long as she can. … When she rinses with Listerine, my sound effect screams of dying germs often causes a burst of laughter to expel the mouthwash rather than a simple spit.


Tissue Toss Basketball – Patti likes to blow her nose and can get obsessive about it. I created this game where I park her near a wastebasket, put a tissue box on her lap, and let her blow her nose and try to toss the tissue in the wastebasket.


I provide sports caster commentary while I prepare her bed, turning down sheets and spraying linen with scented mist.


De-Blinging – Removal and discussion of any jewelry in my best red carpet interview style.


Dancing Nightgowns – Medical style dressing gowns are always folded up in squares. I unfold it with a magicians flourish and dance with the gown for several seconds singing “I Feel Pretty” from West Side Story. For whatever reason, this always sends Patti into peals of laughter.


This scene concludes as I transform into my “spraying mantis” incarnation spraying Patti with body mist.


Tossing the disabled – With all the flourish and sound effects of ESPN or Professional Wrestling I announce tonight’s main event, then pick up Patti and put her into bed. Finishing with the traditional wrestling three slap on the bed denoting a pin and doing a victory dance around the room.


I’ve wondered what bedtime is like when I am not there. Last week one of the staff happened in and decided to pull up a chair just to watch. 


What's in your bedtime story? <grin>


Caregivingly Yours, J Patrick Leer 





(also available in Blogger edition, Caregiver Blog: "Caregivingly Yours")


  1. what a wonderful bedtime routine!!! so very clever you are Patrick to make this fun with lots of laughs for Patti! I bet she misses you those other 2.5 nights per week

    you are a good man, a dedicated husband, and a devoted caregiver


  2. How do you do it?  You amaze me, my friend.


  3. Your bedtime routine is much more than just a routine.  It's a way to keep the connection going.  Showing love and laughing.  Those are just as important as any medicine.
                                                                                                 :)  Leigh

  4. "I Feel Pretty" ???  LOLOL... You are obsessed!!! <grin> I wish I could watch/hear that one!!

    I used to do those kinds of things with Charlie at night. Now, it's just put on the pj's and eventually, end up in bed!!  I'll have to start singing, "I Feel Pretty" just for the fun of it!!  LOLOLOL


  5. I doubt mine would be as entertaining or soothing to enduce a good nights rest as're wonderful :) Rache

  6. Laughter is the best medicine. I think Patti is lucky to have such a humorous loving husband there for her. (Hugs)Indigo

  7. certainly have the acting bug!  What a wonderful way to say good night with laughter and joy.

  8. (((((((((((((((((HUGSTOYOU))))))))))))))))That is so AWSOME how enterain Patti,very kool.I dont remember having a bedtime story.Have a good night.

  9. Awww, I know the care facility staff love you as well. You have a knack for being a dedicated husband... I nominate you for Husband of the Year! You have got to make a video of the routine... you must include the nightgown dance, pinning Patti like a professional wrestler, doing the Listerine-killing-germs voice-over, the de-blinging interview, and Tissue Toss Basketball. People need to see HOW you do it so easily, so naturally. It's the entertainer in you. bea


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