The Science of Caring for Older Sentient Beings
Or: Addiction and the Need for Sleep
The Gracie Stories, part 14
I am watching carefully through these weeks and these stories the adaptations I have to make to care for Gracie the noble beast as she is going through her transitions to the end of the arc of this life; a kind of scientific journal marking my discoveries. I have the greatest respect for pediatricians, patricians [typing error too delicious to delete] neo-natal medicos and veterinarians who do not get verbal responses from their cared-for.
A lot of what I know about my children when they were little or my animals — nobody knows better than me. This I am sure of.
Yesterday morning Gracie got stuck in her palace, couldn’t quite get herself up on her legs. I popped my head in, willing to help her, she looked at me for a moment and in her eyes I read this: give me a moment. So I did and she got up and out and made a nice poo poo right in the middle of the steps down to the grass. She made it outside what the heck.
Gracie is still eating well but she is weakening. She doesn’t even attempt the stairs ascending and needs help on the stairs descending. It takes a moment after she awakes to get her bearings, I think both physically and cognitively, though I may be extrapolating here.
Still, my science is sound I think, as well as my meta-science. This morning I am fixing for her another palace downstairs to hang out in so she doesn’t have to make the stairs up to the second floor where we sleep, it will be better for me too as I don’t sleep when she doesn’t sleep. Gracie, you’re keeping me up all night long.
Every time she re-negotiates her Turkish cell I wake up. She makes a circle in her cell goes back to sleep and I’m up another two hours. And it’s hard, hard for me to go back to sleep. It’s like being in the sleep clinic every night.
I notice also that she doesn’t hold her doodi [Fr.] so well anymore. I have studied that as well, so I guide Gracie out the house right away and this morning I heard myself say: come on girl, don’t let any sh** fall out your ass. This the technical language I have adapted for my home purposes.
The interruption in sleep also stokes my addictions. I disguise the problem by referring to it like sleep-walking, but it’s not like sleep-walking it’s like addiction. I buy stuff on Ebay.
When my daughters cleaned out my shoe shelves they saw I have six pairs of the same black shoe. Why Daddy? I like them. For a long time it was shoes, then pens. Now it’s hats. Bought two last night. Panamas, I’m supposed to be fooled that they were made in Ecuador but I don’t care. That’s exactly the nature of addiction: you want it, you want it now, you don’t care, you lose your restraint.
The hats will arrive, I’ll wear them and swear off Ebay. I need to sleep.