Insights of Caregiving


Taking Care of My Mum

Written by:  Cixin

My mum wakes daily at 8.15am.  She has a habit of locking her room, for which I need to unlock every morning.  Any sudden noises from the opening of the door or the turning of the door knob will give her a fright and leave her very unhappy.

My mum sleeps late, at about 2am every night, sometimes even staying up till 3 or 4am in the morning. Since our bedroom is right next to hers, we can hear the sounds from her room when she is awake at night.  I try not to wake her up early the next day so that she can have sufficient sleep.  However, every morning when she wakes, her first words are complaints from her episodes of discomfort last night, ‘I suffered whole night … aches and pains.’
My mum is so weak and frail, simple tasks are demanding to her.  She had a fall 3 years back while making her way to the bathroom in the middle of the night.  Ever since then, she sustained a fractured foot and has been dependent on a commode.
In the mornings, I have always encouraged her to find her own balance and pace in getting out of bed... I will then assist her to the commode and make her bed.  Following that, I will prepare a basin of warm water and towel for her to wash her face.  Getting the right temperature is not easy since she is especially particular about it and will be dissatisfied if the temperature is not to her liking.
After which, I will get her a mug of water to rinse her mouth… then a glass of warm water to drink.  She likes to drink hot water which she claims can help remove feelings of bloatedness in her abdomen.
My mum’s favourite choice of breakfast is ‘man jian kueh’ (peanut pancake).  Every morning, my husband will make sure he prepares one for her.  She takes milk too.  I will get ready many scoops of milk powder in her favourite mug… mum will scold if the milk powder is too little.  Poor mum, she has a lot of medicines to take... the milk becomes tasteless after many refills with water, which is the reason why she demands that many scoops of milk powder.  Mum is concern with the medical expenses which poses as a financial burden.  She often reminds us, ‘希望自己好,更希望别人好’ Mum never asked for more than a body healthy enough for her to be independent and not be a chore to the people around her.  She wants us to have a good life…
My brother is a taxi driver and takes care of her daily lunch.  I am fortunate to have him around; he is very kind-hearted.  Should he go for holidays, he will make sure that I am coping well.
Mum has been a vegetarian for more than ten years, thus, her choice of food is rather limited.  An inappropriate diet will upset her stomach or even causes her skin to itch… We have to ensure that there is no fried food, chili, ginger, pepper, or any food that is difficult to chew in her diet.  Nevertheless, we try to provide her with a variety of choices… Sometimes we cannot be certain if the meal we prepared is to her liking.  When that happens, we leave it to trial and error.  It makes me happy that she can take the food we prepared and likes it.  Since I cannot cook, my poor mum has to make do with hawker food for all her meals.
My mum clears her bowels daily.  If she can’t, she gets angry and throws tantrums.  My brother and I will take turns to clear the waste in the commode.  When I am not around, mum will give a call to my brother every time she empties her bowel.  We have got her a phone with key pads large enough for her to see easily.
I assist my mum in showering once a week.  The process is very tiring and sometimes she becomes breathless.  I have to watch her very closely.
Mum likes her hair short. I bring her to the hairdresser every four months.  We will walk hand in hand to the salon because she dislikes being seen in a wheelchair.  Despite the salon being only a 5 minutes’ walk away from our home, it takes us half an hour to reach because she rests at many intervals to catch her breath.  Nevertheless, I feel proud when we hold hands and she certainly feels the same.
In the evening, I will get her a basin of warm water to clean herself.  I will then help her in washing her feet and changing into clean clothing.  My mum sleeps very late and I will stay up to keep her company till 1 or 2 am…
I am blessed to have the most beautiful mum in the world! Mum, if I have made you angry or sad, I beg for your forgiveness.  May you be well and happy with both wisdom and the blessings of the Triple Gems.


Back to Table of Contents