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The face of my MIL Ru after being TOUCHED.Dear Diary,

There is nothing more exciting to my MIL Ru then the thought of getting a massage.. not performed by me. That’s not to say that I don’t give awesome massages to her and ALL the residents up on ROAM (Random Occasional Accidental Memory) because well.. I DO. Just ask Selma. No. Don’t ask Selma. She’ll just tell you what you want to hear— some completely fraudulent story about how I pulled her arm out of the sweater she was wearing in such a way as to make her flash her navel and surrounding fleshy parts to all the men in the room—causing gawkage and shouts of “IS THIS HOOTERS” by Walter and his posse.

I recommend that if you’re going to try this in your own home or favorite dementia floor you make sure that everyone knows the RULES first. That means you line up the victims the residents in their chairs, asking politely if they wouldn’t mind signing a little WAIVER on some (stolen from front desk) sticky note paper, by dipping their thumbs in the butterscotch “mousse” the minute they’re done using them to finish up their entrée and pressing them on a binding contract: If something should go wrong with my SPECIAL DELUXE arm and hand massage i.e. a reaction to the canola spray, bruising (new) or LEGITIMATE r-e-a-l breaks or sprains (as opposed to the pretend ones used to garner extra attention.. you know who you are BEV)  then you must suck it up like a man, because.. will you EVER get an opportunity like THIS again? Nyet.

“You have to add the crunchy bits in it to make it tasty. It’ll give it a nice texture on the paper.” My MIL is standing over me directing the assembly of the pudding as if I’m not perfectly able to figure it out myself. “Yeah. Thanks Ru. Hey.. Harriet! You wanna go first?”

“Where am I going?”

To which my assistant Ru answers gleefully, “To a massage parlor.. THAT’S where. It’s going to feel soooo nicccce. When was the last time you visited one of those Harriet?”

Yeah WHEN Harriet? Tell us. Here— let me just GENTLY pull your.. tugggggg.. ARM out of.. urrrrrrr this ugly boiled wool sweater that may have to DIE to free your limb. Come on arm. Let’s go ughhhhhhh. Got it.

OUCHHHHH What the HALLE are you doing to me? H-E-L-P! Nurse! She’s breaking my arm.

Feh! That doesn’t hurt you. Does it Harriet? Now calm down and chill. K? Getting my client all comfy with her arm lying on a nasty disgusting pillow from, GAWD only knows where.. I begin to spray her down with the canola oil cooking mist (I like organic) that I’ve purchased specially for today’s activity. Being the professional that I am.. I make sure FIRST that the spray is a nice and toasty temperature to avoid any (more) shocks to the now rigid body sitting in her wheel chair in front of me. Thanks to my assistant Ru who’s been sitting on it for ohhh.. fifteen minutes or so while I was removing Harriet’s article of clothing.. it’s now perfect. Just remember you guys— it’s all about technique. You want to use a gentle yet FIRM (choke) hold on the resident while you achhhh (sounds of struggle) try (more sounds) to get close enough to actually TOUCH her arm to begin the massage. Quit that thrashing or you go to the back of the line. You got that?

“Hey girl in the Abercombie and Fitch tee.. wanna go out for a little m-a-s-s-a-g-e today? Heh heh. I said FITCH not FISH Blanche sit down would ya.”

My decision to take Ru out to a special spa for HER Lomilomi treatment came from the desire to give her an experience she would remember (while she was having it) plus the fabulous benefits only a trained masseuse can deliver.. a-n-d I wanted to sneak into the ladies spa lounge and sample the seven headed shower with heated towel rack while granny was indisposed. OMG.. they come at you from all sides and this huge sprayer deal on the ceiling. If you haven’t had the experience.. then I suggest you find someone on a dementia floor and march them in to get a massage and totally go try it.

“Is it Valentines Day today?” Ru asks me, as we’re driving to her appointment. The correct answer always is.. OF COURSE it is. Why if YOU feel it should be Valentines Day.. then it SO is. Then reaching in the back seat I produce a bag of these yummy pecan chocolate caramel dealies from Sees and dump a few into the lap of my overjoyed passenger. Who cares right? I’ve already knocked off the bag of almond buds and eaten my way through HALF of granny’s red heart box.. might as well finish off the remainder and then hit the Sees store on the way back.  So you see people.. Dementia has its up-side. I can finish off an entire ONE pound box of nuts and chews with an odd ball cream thrown in for good measure (in case Ru’s toothless neighbor might like a bite) and leave Ru with just the brown papers and she’ll be, “Oh..I LOVE it. Papers! I needed brown paper cups with a single half of a cherry cream chocolate left in it. Thannnnnk youuuuuu.” She KNOWS doesn’t she? Yeah. I knew it.

“What you’re going to want to do is run and JUMP up here on this thingy and shove your FACE in HERE on this little hemorrhoid cushion shaped pillow. OK. Now GO! Now JUMP. Higher. Here— let me help push.”

Trying to finesse Ru onto the massage table through words and mime is not as easy as I make it look. Not only must she get ON the bed, tummy down.. she must place her FACE in the HOLE of the headrest.. as opposed to say—some OTHER body parts hanging down in there, due to miscalculation and alignment issues on my part. Unfortunately granny repeatedly landed with her upper body hanging off the front part of the bed eating up about twenty minutes of massage time. But.. it was so worth it. Ru wouldn’t have been comfortable up-side down with blood rushing up to her brain.. when it’s not used to it.

My Sandwich Generation friends, if there could be ONE action above all others that you might do for your senior.. let it be a massage. Putty in the hands folks. Touch doesn’t happen enough on dementia floors, assisted living facilities or even in some homes. Just a little loving stroke from time to time, maybe a nice back rub, brings all kinds of wonderful side effects to your older family member and makes a happier experience for all involved. If I may warn you.. there are some naysayers out there who don’t WANT you to give certain OTHER people back rubs because they are jealous. Jealous and bitty.. Marion. They will scream at you to TAKE YOUR hands off of Wilbur because you can’t be trusted. Don’t listen.. just know that everyone needs to be kneaded.

Feel the love!


Ru's candy..papers.

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Posted in Uncategorized 14 years, 2 months ago at 11:20 pm.


2 Replies

  1. widdlydids Feb 15th 2010

    Taking in turns looking after our families eldest member in the nursing home this weekend, while his wife takes a much need break from the massaging…
    It was a fun & wonderful experience…the twirlie finger that occurs near the ear as another patient rolls passed in his wheelchair. The comments on the size of the nurses bottoms…he made me giggle!
    And our massaging are not as gentle as his wife… :) and your cupcakes are awful, would the children like them?

  2. Adrienne Feb 15th 2010

    Oh you are soooo good! He must have loved the visit. Here’s a tip.. put the cupcakes for the kids in your purse. Well FIRST lick off the frosting so you don’t get goo on your brush. Heh. I’m a slow learner;)