So today, my mother-in-law has
"I'm getting out of this bed!"
"You're staying in this bed," the nurse replies calmly.
"I am getting out of this bed!" insists my mother-in-law. "I'm going to sit in a chair like a normal person."
"You're going to stay in the bed until we get you a chair alarm," replies the nurse, unruffled.
"I don't need an alarm to sit in a chair!"
"We need an alarm so we know if you try to get out of the chair without help," says the nurse, wise to my mother-in-law's tendency toward high jinx and shenanigans.
Now, repeat this interchange ad nauseum over the course of the next five hours....
At last, the chair alarm arrives and, with great ceremony, my mother-in-law is installed in the longed-for chair.
She is happy.
For about 14 seconds.
"I don't like the way this room is arranged," she tells me. "Move that walker over here."
I was not born yesterday.
"No," I say.
"It doesn't look right over there," continues my mother-in-law as if I hadn't spoken. (The folded walker is currently tucked neatly between the table and the wall, out of the way, and out of reach.) "Put it right here," she instructs, indicating a placement inches to her right, which totally blocks the bathroom door, leaves the walker in danger of being knocked over by anyone who should happen to enter the room, and puts it squarely within her reach.
"No!" I say firmly.
"I'm not going to use it," she bargains.
"Not while I'm here," I agree.
She is quiet for a moment. Then,
"Move that walker over here!"
"Not gonna happen," I say apologetically. "I know you too well. If I put the walker over here, you'll be hoofing it down the hallway with your hospital gown a-flappin', sprinting for the elevator at the first opportunity."
She chuckles at the idea.
"I promise, I won't," she says, but she can't keep a straight face or look me in the eye.
One minute passes.
"I'm tired," she announces. "I want to get back in bed." She rings for the nurse before I can intercept the call button.
"What do you need?" asks the nurse.
"I'm getting back in bed," says my mother-in-law.
The nurse just barely manages not to roll her eyes. "Mrs. Hill," she says, "you spent all morning wanting to sit in that chair. You've barely been out of bed 10 minutes. We really need you to sit up for an hour."
"An hour?" my mother-in-law is aghast. "What is this, a torture chamber? An hour!"
"An hour," says the nurse, and turns on her heel.
"I can't do it," my mother-in-law tells me.
"Yes, you can," I assure her.
"I can't," she says stubbornly.
"We could play cards," I say.
"I hate cards," she grumbles.
"Then tell me amusing anecdotes from your childhood," I suggest.
The corner of her mouth turns up. "Amusing anecdotes?" she says. "I didn't have an amusing childhood."
"Okay," I say, ever agreeable, "then tell me depressing anecdotes."
Instead, she elects to push herself to a standing position.
Bleep bleep bleep bleep bleep! The chair alarm goes nuts!
The nurse comes running.
My mother-in-law sits back down.
"Mrs. Hill!" admonishes the nurse, oozing disapproval. "You are to stay in that chair!"
After she leaves I look at my mother-in-law. "Stand-up comedian," I say with a grin.
And she laughs! She may not be in the best shape, but she totally got that!
But I'm afraid I've encouraged her. Now it's only a matter of time before she tries it again!