Best Value for Hospital Bed

What My Parents Taught Me In the Hospital Bed

A Surprisingly Simple Way To Support A Suffering KidMy parents have both lived a moment so dreadful you would not wish it on your worst enemy. They have received the, "We do not know if your daughter is going to make it" call not once, but twice.After receiving the news the morning of the second accident, my mom immediately called the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) to check on my condition. When she was told I was in critical condition and was looped into the extent of my injuries, my dad, brother, and her booked the next available flight to Omaha on the following morning.Once they arrived, the gravity of the situation became all too real. The doctors took them outside to paint the reality of the ominous situation, that it was likely I would not live. I think about how I would react, how I would respond, if I received the same call about one of my daughters and, quite honestly, it shakes me. It makes me feel a bit sick. I feel overcome with fear of how I may react and it's a thought that I can not ever dwell on for long.This is an excerpt from Caring Bridge three days after the accident:"We continued to stay with her, switch out who got to hold her hand like it was a great prize and she continued to open and close her right eye a few times. We also saw what looked to be like Ashley moving her mouth. In the days after the accident there was a lot of blood around the mouth, and a lot of tubes, so this was the first time we could actually see Ashley moving her lips. We have seen her move every part of her body now. It was an extremely encouraging morning for all of us…It was the first we would seen her react to our voices and faces since the day, those were the easiest smiles we would had in days."To be brought to a point where your 22-year-old daughter moving and reacting to your voices is a prize?I. just. can not .My mom recently shared her perspective on that day. "I remember the weeks of of uncertainty about your life or recovery and the stress that living with this uncertainty brought. We only slept about 3 hours per night for 3 weeks straight. We were exhausted.I remember the sound of the alarms on the monitors that you were hooked up to. The worst two alarms were the ICP monitor and the ventilator. I never want to hear them again…EVER."It's unshakably overwhelming for me to read this. The pain that my family was feeling is incomprehensible and something that I pray none of you will ever have to experience. How do you handle this type of grief and support a suffering child?Just be normal.While recognizing this sounds elementary, for me it was exactly what I needed. The most common remarks I've gotten about how my parents handled that dire month in Omaha revolve around this premise. Despite the emotional toll the circumstances put on them, they fought to support me in the one way I needed most at the time, consistency.A Dad of ChillIt takes a lot to get my dad worked up about anything. We watched a lot of football and movies together on the weekends growing up. On Sundays we watched the Eagles, Dolphins, and Cowboys (we were clearly a house divided) and when my brother started at Clemson our viewing days shifted to Saturdays. When we found out my alma mater, Nebraska, was playing Clemson in the 2009 Gator Bowl we booked the tickets immediately.We sadly had to forego our tickets and they watched from the hospital that year, but they watched in nonetheless. Both parents, my brother, fiancé and a few friends gathered in a waiting room, drank beer, and watched the Gator Bowl because that is what we do.My dad joked around with visitors about what they would be called if they were grandparents someday, "Rock" and "Goddess". 😳 Glad I had say over that when it actually came to be. When they were kicked out of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) over dinner, they watched Rocky marathons in their hospital suite while they ate the generously delivered meals and tried to laugh.To fight being consumed by the fear and worries associated with my recovery, they took short times away to do what they do. They lived.A Mom of PrayerWhen I was in high school, one of the things I remember most about my mom is that she always, without fail, found time to slip away and to spend time in Scripture. Seeing her fight to carve out time with her study Bible is one I will never forget.After we got cleaned up from dinner, she slipped away to her bedroomWhen we were traveling for soccer tournaments, she slipped away to the hotel room.Even to this day when she comes from Tennessee to visit, she slips away to the guest room. There's something beautiful to the consistency of it; to its faithfulness.When we were in the ICU, my mom still found time to slip away."If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. " -John 8:31-32I often wonder how much her faithfulness to remaining in His word contributed to the grace with which she responded to those heart-wrenching moments; how much it gave her the truth, the freedom to cope.Why Normalcy Was My Best MedicineThanks be to God, I made it through the first three most critical days as they monitored my Intracranial Pressure (ICP), found the right mixture of medications to treat the pain and allow me to sleep as I fought various infections.After I made it through that period and began to "come to", so to speak, I was scared of all that I had lost, of what I may never get back. My parent's consistency gave me the much needed normal I longed for when everything in my life felt upside down.I am 100 percent sure they were not feeling internally chill, how could anyone in their right mind?My mom mentioned how the doctors tried to prepare them for my recovery and see it as a marathon rather than a sprint. It was just that. They were away from their normal world — work, home, dog, etc. — for three entire months. She continued, "When I think back, it was such a crazy, stressful time for us, however we would not have wanted it any other way. We needed to be with you. Nothing was more important to us at the time. While it did not feel like we were providing much of anything for you at the time, we would not have been able to function apart from you. "What I saw, though, was not crazy or stressed. What they portrayed to me was a steady calm that helped me avoid burrowing deeper into my fear, my anxiety about an unknown future.Their normalcy gave me strength to take the next step. On FearSome of us are there right now, living in fear of taking the next step out of our suffering, helping our children step out of theirs. Others are living in the fear of what type of suffering the future may bring for ourselves or children. I often feel this way when I think about receiving a similar call. Fear of the 'What If' is never healthy. We are not responsible to respond to things that have not yet happened. We have only to respond to the moment; it is there that the grace is provided. It is in the moment that we are given the people, encouragement, and strength that we need. My mom sent me an encouraging text that made me tear up recently at Panera; my apologies to everyone that had to witness.More than nine years after the accident, her text read: "I watched this video and it made me think of you. So thankful for how God has carried you through everything and is continuing to use you. "Consistency. Normalcy. There was no greater gift in my valley. Every situation and every child is different. If your child is suffering (physically, socially, spiritually, etc) right now, maybe they need empathy, space, silence, or laughter laid on extra thick.Trust that you know how to love and support them best; not countless online 'How-To' recommendations, WebMD, or well-intentioned friends, but you. I am incredibly thankful that my parents knew just what I needed to press on.How have you seen parents support their children in the exact way they need? What type of support have your parents given you to help you weather the storm?Would appreciate claps, comments, or shares!Want more?Follow me on Twitter or Instagram.Visit www.mountainsunmoved.comRead my other posts on Medium

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Psychological Burden on Caring for Dementia at Home Can Be Huge
By all accounts, Dorothy Housden has an ideal situation for someone living with dementia.She's in a bright and spacious ground floor suite in a house with her son Bill and his wife Mila Coutinho living above. Dorothy's bedroom has a high enough ceiling to hold a sleek lift above her hospital bed, which is covered with one of her gorgeous black and patterned hand made quilts.Although the doorways are a tight squeeze, Bill or Mila can push Dorothy's wheelchair out to the ground-floor deck in the backyard. If it's sunny and warm, Dorothy, 86, can sit beneath the grape vines watching for chickadees.Dorothy's new digs are a recent change. She used to be upstairs but when her ability to walk deteriorated, the stairs became a barrier."I almost went over backwards twice with her, taking her up and down the stairs," Bill said. "It was obviously too dangerous." Bill figured that as Dorothy's dementia progressed and her mental capacities declined, learning how to operate a stairlift would be too difficult for her. Once a champion quilt maker, Dorothy can still knit, but stopped making her colourful quilts about 18 months ago.Making the suite comfortable for Dorothy wasn't cheap. Altogether, it cost about $35,000 to buy the lift, hospital bed and wheelchair and make other changes.Bill considers it money well spent."I always promised Mom that she could die at home in her own bed," he said. "I'd do anything for my mom. There's nothing I won't do for her. She's the only mom I've got." As for Dorothy, she loves where she lives."I love being with my family more than anything," she said.Bill and Mila are part of a huge but relatively unacknowledged part of the health care system in B.C. They're two of an estimated one million people who for family, friends and neighbours living with dementia and other diseases. In B.C. alone, it is estimated that replacing what they do with paid caregivers would cost up to $3.5 billion a year.Not all the home caregiving is as extensive as what Bill and Mila provide. Home care can range from relatively simple tasks such as buying groceries for a friend or driving Mom or Dad to a doctor's appointment to much more time-consuming and intimate help such as bathing or full-time, live-in care.But while volunteer home care saves the public dollars and cents and keeps people at home and out of the province's 293 residential care facilities, there's still a cost to home caregiving, said Isobel Mackenzie, B.C.'s seniors advocate.The psychological burden of caring for someone with dementia at home can be immense, she said.by the showed that the number of caregivers experiencing stress has grown in the past few years by two percentage points to 31 per cent.Caring for a loved one with dementia increases the risk of caregiver distress by 25 per cent. If you add behaviour problems and psychological challenges to the dementia mix, the risk of caregiver distress rises to 75 per cent, according to the "We don't like to talk about it but the repetitiveness of living with someone with dementia can be extremely exhausting," Mackenzie said."It's the psychological burden. Different people handle it differently. Some people are very philosophical about it, some people are very traumatized and some are very angry about it - they're angry at their loved one for becoming like that. It's a whole cornucopia of responses." Lycia Rodrigues is from , the province's go-to association for people caring for loved ones at home.Rodrigues said many caregivers feel isolated."Many caregivers call us because they're providing care alone," said Rodrigues, caregiver support and engagement lead."They don't have a lot of information in terms of benefits they can have as caregivers or community support close to where they live." In many cases, she said, caregivers don't chose their new role. They fall into it simply because it's expected that's what a wife, daughter or other family member will do. But because most family members don't have the training to nurse someone at home, they aren't prepared to care for someone with dementia. Of caregivers who used the services in 2017-18 of , 84 per cent were women."One of the challenges we have here is to help caregivers to identify themselves as caregivers," Rodrigues said."They say, 'Oh I'm a daughter, I'm doing what a daughter is supposed to do.' They don't see themselves as caregivers. They can take a long time to ask for support." That can mean the stress continues to build until it takes a toll on the caregiver's health."I have caregivers who say: 'I'm fine, I'm fine.' But they're not. At the end they're the ones who get sick and burn out. We have cases of people having heart attacks and strokes. These are the ones who develop chronic illness after providing care for a long time." The main way for home caregivers to get help is by calling the toll-free Trained staff can help caregivers with everything from navigating the health care system and finding a support group in their area to connecting with one-on-one caregiver coaching and being notified of the next caregiving webinar.A wife, for example, may be in a situation where the care she's providing for her husband is becoming too much to handle. She could be facing a major life decision about whether to transfer a loved one to residential care. She may be feeling guilt or anger or both."Sometimes they say, 'This is the first time I have someone to talk to about what is happening because nobody understands.'" Rodrigues said."When I answer calls, I provide a lot of emotional support." Additional respite help is on the way for home caregivers. On Monday, the provincial government announced it was going to spend $75 million during the next three years on areas such as providing more respite beds and on expanding adult day programs to include evenings and weekends.Between 2016 and 2017, the saw a 36 per cent increase in calls from unpaid caregivers. During that time, caregiver situations have grown more complex.Callers now are more likely to be in situations where they're caring for someone with dementia and diabetes, for example, or Alzheimer's and depression and Parkinson's.Caregivers are reporting the added stress of not having enough money to care for the person they love.Dorothy Housden fits the profile of someone living with dementia and other health issues. Dorothy, who worked as a registered nurse in the maternity ward of Surrey Memorial Hospital until retiring, has dementia but doctors aren't sure what type. She may have a bit of Parkinson's as well as a heart condition known as atrial fibrillation.During a visit by Postmedia, she was alert, smiling and able to respond to some questions. But her son Bill said that as the day progresses, her behaviour can change dramatically.By later in the afternoon she can start shaking so violently, she looks like she's having a seizure. As a way to help, Mila came up with the idea of showing Dorothy videos of babies on YouTube. It calmed her right down.At a meal, her food has to be cut into small pieces but she eats so quickly, there's a danger she may choke. She can become very possessive of her pills and say things like: 'I'm afraid I'm going to be alone at the table all night.'" Bill, 57, and Mila, 51, reassure her that she's not going to be alone but, as Bill says, "It's tough to watch." Bill, a former mechanic, is able to care for his mother because he's disabled himself and retired from work because of a degenerative disc in his back. He and Mila have been sharing caregiving but that's about to change. Mila has found a full-time job. Soon, he'll be taking care of his mom by himself."I may have to ask for some help," he said.Bill doesn't know exactly where to turn. He has a caseworker with Fraser Health, but so far he hasn't used subsidized home care because he's not convinced the amount of help they would receive is worth the $37 an hour they would have to pay.He said it doesn't make sense for him to pay a homecare worker to do tasks such as changing the bed when he can do that himself. But he would welcome help with perineal care. When someone is living with dementia and develops incontinence, the perineal area has to washed daily to prevent infection.He thinks hiring and paying for a nurse privately may be a better way to spend their money.As a break from caregiving, the couple have used twice - most recently for five days at Fort Langley Seniors when Bill was away in Atlanta. They paid the publicly subsidized rate of $37.10 a day; otherwise it would have cost $200 a day. (They can use a maximum 30 respite days a year.) "They took good care of her. She loved it." But Bill sees a problem ahead with Dorothy's adult day program run by in Guildford. Every Tuesday, Dorothy is picked up by 9 a.m. and returned by mid-afternoon. While Bill and Mila get a break, Dorothy meets other seniors, does chair exercises, and has lunch. Bill and Mila pay $9.25 a day for the subsidized program, which would otherwise cost $90 a day. They pay the subsidized rate of $5.70 for a return HandyDart trip (the actual cost is ).The big service the day program provides is showering Dorothy. Neither Bill nor Mila can wash her properly in their cramped basement bathroom.You can hear the stress in Bill's voice when he says: "It's getting to the point where they can't handle her. I don't know how long we're going to be able to do that." Dorothy enjoys the day program so much, Bill would like her to go twice a week. But because there's such a demand for spaces, one day a week is all that's available for her."I think there needs to be more funding for it," he said."The interaction is good for her. Sitting and knitting and sitting in front of the TV all day is pretty tough I think." 31: percentage of home caregivers experiencing distress which includes feeling angry or depressed 36: percentage increase in the number of calls to the Caregiver Support line during past year from 425 to 577 44: number of home caregiver support groups across the province 91: percentage of home caregivers who are family members, with adult children, a spouse, and other family members ranking 1,2,3 216: percentage increase in the number of one-on-one family caregiving coaching sessions between 2016 and 2017 1,000,000: estimated number of people in B.C. providing unpaid home care to people with dementia and other illnesses 3,500,000,000: estimated value in dollars in B.C. of unpaid care provided by volunteer home caregivers.-Sources:and The toll-free . It's open five days a week, 8:30 am to 4 pm.It's designed for anyone taking care of a family member or friend in a home setting. Experienced staff can help callers with finding resources and navigating the health care system.The Caregiver Support Line is operated by , which has a website with information that includes how to get help, resources that are available, and where to find support groups.
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