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Thu Sep 12, 2019, 01:42 PM

Looking for some assistance with being a care-giver

This will not be a long term issue, but my husband just came home from the hospital after back surgery. I'm massively apprehensive about this and not entirely sure how I will manage. I just rented a walker for him, but his mobility is fragile. I'm not sure how to deal with bathroom issues and sleeping. He tends to need to use the toilet in the middle of the night, so I don't know how to deal with that either. Fortunately, while he was in the hospital I got two good nights of sleep. Figure I won't have another one of those for a while.

I'm just so worried about his falling and how to cope with all of this. We are lucky that this will be a short term problem, but today has me freaked out!

Anybody on DU dealt with this kind of thing?

Thank you friends.

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Reply Looking for some assistance with being a care-giver (Original post)
leftieNanner Sep 12 OP
Lindsay Sep 12 #1
leftieNanner Sep 12 #2
wcmagumba Sep 12 #3
leftieNanner Sep 12 #11
Mike 03 Sep 12 #4
leftieNanner Sep 12 #12
Phoenix61 Sep 12 #5
leftieNanner Sep 12 #13
luvs2sing Sep 12 #6
leftieNanner Sep 12 #14
appalachiablue Sep 12 #7
Leghorn21 Sep 12 #8
leftieNanner Sep 12 #15
Cousin Dupree Sep 12 #9
leftieNanner Sep 12 #10
flotsam Sep 12 #16
tanyev Sep 12 #17
leftieNanner Sep 12 #18
lettucebe Sep 12 #19
leftieNanner Sep 12 #20

Response to leftieNanner (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2019, 01:47 PM

1. My sister was providing hospice care

for her husband. When he fell on his way to the bathroom, he couldn't get up by himself and she wasn't strong enough to help him on her own. So she called 911, and emergency medical personnel came and got him upright. They're trained to help in those situations.

Best wishes to you both for his recovery.

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Response to Lindsay (Reply #1)

Thu Sep 12, 2019, 01:51 PM

2. Thanks Lindsay

I'll keep this in mind. I'm sure after he's been home for a full day, I'll get the hang of it.

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Response to leftieNanner (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2019, 01:53 PM

3. For my mom...

I got one of those fold up potty seats with arm rests and wheels, just kept it by the bed (you get used to it) and it was a short transfer from the bed to the seat. Hang in there, things will get better...

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Response to wcmagumba (Reply #3)

Thu Sep 12, 2019, 02:36 PM

11. We brought home a urinal bottle from the hospital

Thanks magumba!

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Response to leftieNanner (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2019, 01:59 PM

4. A situation like this happened with my father.

It was towards the end of his ordeal with Multiple Myeloma. He fell or collapsed in the bathroom and my mother couldn't really do anything by herself. She called 911 and they sent an ambulance and took him to the hospital and handled the situation really well.

Not sleeping IS an issue when we are caring for someone who is recovering from a surgery or ill. In situations where I've been unable to sleep due to looking after someone very ill, the worst thing is to think, "I've got to sleep" because that makes it much harder to sleep. I tried to nap when I could but I just told myself, "Right now the rules are different and I'm on call all the time" and reminded myself how many other people have been in this exact same situation. Something just pulls you through. My mother lived in a situation like this for three and a half years and somehow got through. There's also the love we feel for these people and maybe the feeling of paying them back for all the good they've done for us, which can make it easier.

Good luck with your situation.

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Response to Mike 03 (Reply #4)

Thu Sep 12, 2019, 02:37 PM

12. I'm not a napper, as a rule

But I will do my best to get sleep when I can.

Thanks.

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Response to leftieNanner (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2019, 02:00 PM

5. Mattress pads, just in case.

Will save both of you a ton of frustration. Take home the hospital pee container. No reason to go all the way to the bathroom if he doesnít have to. Male Depends, also just in case. Clear out all throw rugs. Two tennis balls for the walker legs. If eligible for home rehab, they should be able to give you some ideas. You can by the foaming body cleanser at Amazon. Makes good chair shampoo. Get hair damp, foam and scrub then use damp wash rag to rinse.

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Response to Phoenix61 (Reply #5)

Thu Sep 12, 2019, 02:40 PM

13. I wish I had thought of that earlier

I actually have a waterproof mattress pad on a different bed in the house. Unfortunately, we just transferred him into our bed. It was a challenge!


I will look into the body cleanser because he can't bathe for several more days.

Thanks.

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Response to leftieNanner (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2019, 02:04 PM

6. Oh, yes! Six years ago..

my husband developed pneumonia and sepsis while having chemo. Got him through that, but three weeks later, while he was still frail, he fractured a hip and had hip replacement surgery. I was doing pretty much everything for him, including dressing him, for a several months. Hereís what helped us in addition to a walker:

Gait belt. His physical therapist taught me to use this to help him up and down stairs. We live in a two-story house, and he wanted to sleep in his own bed. We practiced while he was still in the hospital, so I knew the routine by the time he was home. We also did laps around the hospital floor with me steadying him with the belt to help him gain strength.

A raised toilet seat and a shower chair also helped tremendously.

You could get a portable toilet, but since this isnít long term, Iíd recommend one of those bottle urinals like they have at the hospital. My husband used one of those if he needed to go during the night and emptied and washed it in the morning.

BTW, I got all this stuff at Walgreenís. The cashier took pity on my frazzled state and had everyone looking for every coupon or discount they could give me plus helped me put everything in the car.

Patience. This isnít really fun, but itís doable and rewarding when you see little improvements like graduating from a walker to crutches, then to one crutch, and finally to walking our big crazy dog again (this took five months because of his weakened state).

Take care of yourself while youíre taking care of him. I started getting massages because I was doing so much heavy physical work during that time. If you have a support system that can help with meals, that is a real blessing.

Hang in there. You can do this!

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Response to luvs2sing (Reply #6)

Thu Sep 12, 2019, 02:41 PM

14. Thank you so much for your support

This is one more reason to love DU!

I don't want to trouble our daughters about my concerns - they don't live near us. So getting help here is much appreciated.

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Response to leftieNanner (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2019, 02:09 PM

7. Definitely check out the lightweight portapotty and also a small

yet sturdy stool for the shower. The stools are aluminum, plastic and very easy to lift and move. Many regular pharmacies or medical/health supply stores carry these items, even Target/Walmart. Perhaps get a bedpan too, just in case.

We did this for our mom as well as having an occasional home health aide when we weren't available. And you know to remove electric cords, clutter and throw rugs in his area that could be a hazard and always have adequate illumination from a nightlight or two turned on. ~ All the best to you and your husband.

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Response to leftieNanner (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2019, 02:12 PM

8. Sweetie, there are mens' pee bottles, but also, a bedside toilet will save many steps!!

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Response to Leghorn21 (Reply #8)

Thu Sep 12, 2019, 02:42 PM

15. I brought the pee bottle home from the hospital

And he used it just a little bit ago.

Thanks for the support.

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Response to leftieNanner (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2019, 02:25 PM

9. I don't know what kind of insurance he has, but Im surprised he isn't getting Physical Therapy

at home. Call the Social Worker at the hospital that he was discharged from and ask if they can arrange a home visit by a therapist. They can help you with all of these concerns you have.

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Response to Cousin Dupree (Reply #9)

Thu Sep 12, 2019, 02:35 PM

10. We are on medicare

And he will not start his Physical Therapy for a month. Thanks for the suggestion.

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Response to leftieNanner (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2019, 02:57 PM

16. This may or may not apply

Ambulance runs are either free (volunteer EMS service) or expensive (Paid services) so if your hometown has paid services you might check with the local police department or fire department-explain your fear of a fall and possible need for the service of one or two healthy helpers-there might be some help there.

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Response to leftieNanner (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2019, 04:23 PM

17. Have you thought about hiring a home health service even for a couple hours

here and there to give you a break? Or a senior companion service that could help by doing grocery shopping and other errands for you? Might be worth it for the first few weeks.

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Response to tanyev (Reply #17)

Thu Sep 12, 2019, 05:14 PM

18. Good idea

Thanks.

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Response to leftieNanner (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2019, 05:47 PM

19. Here's how I handled it with my dad

I was his caregiver for the last nine months of his life. He was an avid fisherman and long before he became ill he'd already been using the same solution he used on his fishing boat -- a plastic bowl (or bucket). Gross, I know, but that's what he did, and he was already used to using that instead of going all the way to the bathroom. It worked great. I just had to empty it. This doesn't work for other things though, so you might want to get a portable potty.

I also was the caregiver for my mother until she became immobile. I bought a portable potty for her room -- she needed assistance getting in and out, so I also had a monitor that sounded when she stepped out of bed. It works a treat.

You will be fine. It is pretty normal for all of us to need assistance sooner or later. Just remind yourself it is temporary and try to be patient. He's probably not thrilled either.

Edit to add: My son is a fire fighter. He told me if my mom ever fell to not wait and call 911. The firefighters provide emergency services as part of their job and are happy to come help. Just calmly explain someone has fallen and you need help getting them back up. That way they don't call for an ambulance and there is no cost. Don't ever try to lift him yourself (I'm assuming he's larger than you, but in any case, just don't try, it's really easy to hurt yourself).

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Response to lettucebe (Reply #19)

Thu Sep 12, 2019, 06:50 PM

20. Great ideas!

He is moving around a little bit and I have him convinced that any time he gets up, he needs to go to the bathroom. Saves on emergencies!

Thank you.

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