A blog by Lori Lyons

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Wake up calls

So it's now been a little more than a week since my mother-in-law, heretofore known as Hurricane Jane, moved in with us after being essentially kicked out of her assisted living apartment north of the lake for needing too much assistance.

Really? Has it only been a week? Gosh, I thought it was at least a month. Or more.

I guess it just feels that way because of the time change and all. We gained back a whole hour of our lives, right? (Or did we lose one? I forget.)

I know this: I have lost a copious amount of sleep over the past week.

Seriously. Sleep is seriously underrated.

We have moved Hurricane Jane into the room at the foot of the attic stairs in our quirky old house, andwe had a wall built to close them off. We used to have to go through this room to go up the stairs. Now, when we want to go upstairs to our bedroom or to my new home office, we have to go outside  through the side porch door then in through another door to the stairs. Weird. I know.

I did this yesterday wearing nothing but a towel after my shower.

That kooky room has had many incarnations. It once was my office, then my daughter's beautiful white nursery, then her disaster of a toy room, then her really cool stage room (Yes, we put up a stage with lights), then her cool tween hang out, then my beachy-themed mom cave (for about a month), then my daughter's beachy-themed cave, then dad's baseball themed cave. Now it's Jane's cave.

Lora's stage! The stairs are behind that wall.

And it is a cave. She's not a vampire, really, but she doesn't like light. Any. So I had to put up curtains to block out the sun for her.

And unlike the first time she moved in, with everything she owned in a small plastic grocery bag after Hurricane Katrina took everything else, this time she showed up with a wheelchair and a walker and a contraption for the toilet and a contraption to take a bath and a bed and a dresser and a chest of drawers and an electric recliner chair and a BIG 52-inch television. And I was supposed to figure out how to put all that stuff on ONE ROOM.

I did.  (But the BIG 52 is about to go.)

The first night was miserable. 

My husband went out and purchased a brand new baby monitor for her room. One receiver is in the living room and the other is upstairs in our bedroom. The first night, we lay awake all night, listening to her breathe, and snore, and moan, and groan, and talk in her sleep. We both were reminded of the first time we used a baby monitor, when our baby girl was but a baby and we used to listen to make sure she was, indeed, breathing.

We were reassured often, however, because about every other hour, she calls out to her son to come help her go to the bathroom. (She can't go by herself. We have to get her out of bed, take her to the bathroom, put her back in the chair, and put her back to bed.)


Of course, just as he did when our daughter was but a baby, he sleeps right through it. I hear it, however, and get to nudge him to get up.

But after about the fourth time, I start to feel really sorry for him. And her.

It was a rough night, that first one. I could not sleep at all, thanks to her breathing and moaning and groaning and snoring on the baby monitor and The Coach snoring beside me. I got snoring in stereo.

And I was a wreck the next day..

The second night was a little better. But still she would wake up about every hour, complaining that she wasn't comfortable and/or she had to go to the bathroom. A few times she just said, "I have to get up."

Where she was going, we don't know.

By the end of the week we realized that she was the princess, and there was a pea under her mattress somewhere. The bed was too soft. Too lumpy. And every time she woke up, she figured she'd just go pee.

So bright and early one morning we went down the street to the local furniture store and bought her a new extra firm mattress. We asked if we could take naps on it first, but they said no. And we did try out a few sofas to see if we could find one for the naps it appears we will be taking. Often.

I also hugged the lady when she promised the new mattress would be delivered later that afternoon. And that night was better.

Then on Wednesday we hired a sitter named Freda, someone to come during the day and tend to her needs so I can go up to my new home office and do what I need to do. And take a nap.

But the nights are hard. Last night she called him five or six times. Unable to hear us say, "Coming!" she yells over and over again until one of us gets there. Sometimes she just yells, "Help!"

I have taken to wearing earplugs again, to try to drown out the sounds of breathing and snoring and moaning  -- both of theirs. It only works sometimes. I rolled on about 90 minutes of sleep on Thursday, fueling myself with leftover candy and cakes from our Halloween party the night before.

I can't even fathom how the Coach gets through a school day.

Just like when the baby was a baby, we are learning to sleep when she does. And nap when and where we can.  Sometimes at inopportune times and places -- like the furniture store.

So don't be offended if we nod off at hour house. On your sofa. Or at the red light down the street. Just tiptoe around us. Even if we're awake.

Right after Lora was born, my old boss said to me, "Don't worry. You can sleep when you're dead."

We will have some serious catching up to do.

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