Once we got home, my sisters and I had to figure out how to get our mom out of the car, down a few steps, onto the walkway and into the house– in a wheelchair. At this point our mom was unable to maneuver steps well. The therapists at the rehab facility told us to remember, “right foot up, left foot down.”
But the rain made walking more complicated. We had to figure out another way. For some reason we thought carrying our mom in the wheelchair was the easiest option to get from A to B. It was a clumsy mess. But– finally we got her to the front door and eventually into the house.
Once inside, our mother was in a state of total disbelief. It was like she was returning from war or prison. We were prepared for the little things like getting rid of the floor rugs and making sure we had plenty of pull-up diapers and wipes and even a bath lift and shower chair. But we were miserably ill prepared for the emotional aspect of our mother’s return. We were each experiencing a sort of PTSD.
I kept waiting for my own emotional meltdown. I busied myself by spending time with Kookaburra.
The therapists warned us against installing a stair lift to get our mom from the first floor to the second floor. They said stair lifts promote laziness. Instead they suggested bumping up the stairs. That first night–it took us two hours to bump our mom up those fourteen steps. We were all exhausted.
My sisters and I divided our time with our mother– giving each other breaks to avoid burnout. I chose the night shift. I crazily thought this would be easy. That first night was easy. Our mom slept like a baby.