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Crew for Doris (Doris Little): “If You Go Down to the Woods Today…”


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    Jo Campion

    The following story is from a group down under in Melbourne, Australia, where the CREW for DORIS is underway. (Photo Board) Doris Little has been diagnosed with ALS and now has great difficulty speaking and cannot walk. Tim–her husband, her CREW, as well as professional carers are her support system. In spite of her challenges, Doris retains her incredible sense of humour.

    Jo Campion has told us about a very funny afternoon she spent with Doris recently, which involves a new carer, Doris’s foot, and a teddy bear.

    If You Go Down to the Woods Today…

    Doris has a favourite bear that has become a blanket holder-upper, to support Doris’ doona [Duvet cover] and help her have a good night’s sleep. Recently, when Tim was heading to the ski slopes for his annual snow trip with mates, Jo moved in to stay with Doris. Before leaving, Tim very conscientiously went over all the things that Jo might need to know. As a new carer was also starting that evening, he made sure that Jo demonstrated her ability to use the sling, double checked how to strap the wheel chair in the car, studied the list of phone numbers, went through the litany of drugs, and did a general walk through the house. Then feeling very happy and confident to go away for a few days, Tim collected his ski gear and headed off.

    But … he had forgotten one important thing; the teddy bear that Doris sleeps with!
    On the first night the new carer and Jo prepared to put Doris to bed. Doris started pointing towards the teddy bear. Jo, of course thought that Doris was a little old to be sleeping with a teddy, but thought “what ever floats your boat”! Doris started to laugh hysterically, which doesn’t help the situation.

    The new carer was by now looking at both Doris and Jo like they were mad, but after a lot of laughter and gesturing Jo worked out the bear was to go under Doris’ foot, not for her to sleep with!

    Of course the bear needs to be placed in a very specific way to cradle Doris foot correctly. Because Doris is always lying down when Tim places the bear, she couldn’t tell Jo how the bear needed to be placed because she has never seen it done!!!!

    So, if you are ever with Doris when she is being settled into bed, Jo has kindly provided a step-by-step picture guide (below) to the placement of the bear under her right foot.

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