Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Home Care

Before a family takes on the responsibility of home care, know what you are getting into and see if anyone has the stomach or training for it. It isn't for the weak hearted or weak stomached. Those who are on homecare due to cancer or some other insidious disease that slowly robs life from them take lots of care and due diligence.

Here is my moms daily schedule when I was with her for two weeks:
Up at 0600, change her diapers and padding, wash and clean her up.
Mom would then read or catnap until 0800.
0800 medications and there were so many, we hid them in yogurt so she could swallow them easier. Set up her evening medications and following day medications.
0830 she would have breakfast.
0930, remove her teeth, have her brush her permanent teeth while her false teeth were soaking. Wash her face, moisturize her face, wash her head and hair, clean her glasses and give her a fresh gown and return her false teeth.
0930-noon I would do dishes, my step-dad would do some laundry, vacuum, he would work outside and mom and I would visit, the kids would rub and massage her feet, legs and arms.
During this time if we were lucky, mom would let us know ahead of time she had to use the bathroom and we could give her a femal urinal. Sometimes that worked and many times it didn't.
Lunch at noon and then mom would nap and I would go for a walk with grands.
Change her if she had a bowel movement.
Clean her teeth if she removed them.
Raise her head up, raise her feet up, pull her up higher in bed (do you have a family member with a strong back? Mine isn't, so my step-dad did the pulling!)
Watch to make sure she wasn't needing more oxygen or her pain levels were okay.
When she came home she had a horrible cough, they gave her Robitussin DM and she began spitting up some pretty serious you have the stomach for it?
She was on a pain patch and if that didn't work, we had several options for treating break through pain.
If she became gray or had lack of air, we had to sit her up higher, raise her oxygen levels, give her an anti-anxiety medication...someone needs to be able to be there all day and night!
Then there was dinner, more clean up and more medications.

It wasn't all work, but I want everyone to know, taking care of someone in the end days, is work and while you can love them with all your heart, it is not only physical work, but seeing your parent wasting away is very mentally trying and I did not sleep well, so much going through my mind all the time.

I love my mom very much, but I never thought one day, I would be changing her diapers as she changed mine so many years ago. While I didn't mind, I know she hated every minute of it.


Anonymous said...

I just want you to know that I have been where you are now. You and your kids will cherish this time with your mom when she is no longer with you. I know I wouldnt change that time for anything ! Hospice is wonderful let them do their job. They will help tons!

Take some time to do small things for your dad. Take lots of pictures and spend time just talking to your mom. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Hugs.

West Michigan Quilter said...

God bless you. My prayers are with you and your loved one.

Sherry said...

I know things haven't been the best for you lately Jean, but it's a good thing your doing. It's sad that we go in reverse as we age, but it's just a part of life. I'm sure your mom appreciates everything your doing.

Hugs and well wishes to all of you!