CAREGIVING: Friday was a busy day. It was Whitney’s first day back from her Arizona baseball vacation. Her father’s team played in a senior baseball tournament. Apparently, the coach left one pitcher in too long (11 walks) and they missed getting into the playoffs by one run. But, she had a lot of fun.
As she was leaving Britney arrived to take over so I could do some work around the house. Whitney showed Britney how she gets Kathy ready for the hoyer lift and the wheelchair. Whitney takes the nylon sling and a bed pad (to keep the wheelchair dry) and lines it -up on top of Kathy. Then she rolls the two layers up together so they stay lined up on Kathy’s body. If we don’t have it evenly lined up Kathy gets pulled up at awkward angles — leaning to one side or leaning too far back or forward. I’m sure it is uncomfortable or scary or both.
Britney changed Kathy about 1:30 or so and we used the hoyer to get her into her chair. Mary Kate, the visiting nurse arrived at about two as Britney was leaving. She checked Kathy out and changed the dressing around the feeding tube. The skin around the tube has looked a little red and irritated. She has me diluting the hydrogen peroxide that I use 1/1 with water. She thinks the peroxide could be the problem. Then we are putting a light film of zinc barrier cream (like Balmex or Desitin) around it to protect it from moisture. It is looking much better. We started a list of questions for her new doctor. Our first appointment is this Wednesday. We want to make it as productive as possible. It will be a major production getting Kathy down the stairs into the ambulance and we don’t want to say, “I wish I had asked that while I was there.” We made a list of supplies too. If the doctor “prescribes” them, it will be easier to get the insurance to cover it. It sounds like the VNA will be gradually cutting back their visits. It’s the way they work and keeps medical costs down.
After Mary Kate left, Irene the physical therapist arrived. As I have mentioned I usually have the help of an aide getting her out of bed. Placing her back into her bed by myself is more difficult and I wanted her to go over it with me. She showed me a whole different way to do it. I will have to do new photos, but instead of pushing the wheelchair between the legs of the hoyer lift, we are pushing the lift with Kathy to the side of the chair. It ends up being a little easier to get her in and out of the chair. Without photos, I know, you don’t have a clue what I’m talking about. The other thing that happened the week before is that I figured out one of the casters on the lift was coming loose and about to fall off. I made a feeble attempt to try to tighten it up. I gave up and called the vendor, Agawam Medical and a tech came out a few hours later. He had a replacement lift in his van – in case he was unable to fix ours. After he got the wheel back on, I asked him why their patient lifts don’t have brakes. I feel it is dangerous. He said that some manufacturers have brakes. Invacare, the brand they carry, is philosophically opposed to brakes on their lifts. Their reasoning is that if the lift started rolling and only one brake worked the lift and patient would tip over. I said “well, in this topsy-turvy house, brakes would help.”
So, in the meanwhile I dug out my vise-grips and a little hand clamp to keep the runaway hoyer in its place.