The Hospital Bed

1/15/10 from Greg

Summing up what I’m hearing, and adding my own observations and opinions, here’s what I’ve got.

Mama’s comfort, safety, and long term (whatever that turns out to be) are our primary concerns. How we get there is a problem because she is not much help. It is hard to understand what she wants, which may change in 5 minutes anyway, and what she indicates she wants, (and how we interpret that) may compromise her immediate safety and her near term comfort.

For instance, sitting all day may be what she thinks she wants to do. However, it may cause later discomfort to the lesions on her bottom, swelling of the legs and feet, and difficulty standing straight. It also stresses the muscles at the top of her hips, making them painful.

Stretching out and lying down is helpful. It is difficult to get her to lie down unless someone is right with her. She seems to need the sound of the TV or music to help her get to sleep. She seems to prefer being in the kitchen, although being in the living room with the Christmas lights worked well at times, and she slept a number of nights on the couch in there.

Lately she’s shown a willingness to lie on the couch in the kitchen. While she might not want to have anything to do with a hospital bed, it was prescribed by her primary care physician as well as recommended by the health care company we’ve engaged. Someone thinks it’s a good idea to have her get used to it.

Putting it in the living room would be the least physically disruptive of the options we’ve discussed, and I think would offer the greatest chance for her to get used to it. Of course a TV would have to be run into the living room, but that’s not a great problem. There would be a sofa for a caregiver to sit on, nap on, and sleep on, while with her. Mama could sit on the sofa, or a chair, or be in the bed, as appropriate.

As has been made clear, she doesn’t want to sleep in her bed in her room. I don’t know why. Do you? Do we have more confidence that she will accept another bed in her bedroom any better? Changing the bedroom to accommodate a TV that she could see from her bed, a chair for a caregiver as well as the bed itself would be a larger undertaking than putting it in the living room for a starter.

She resisted the walker, and we allowed her to do without it. She now has more trouble getting into and out of a car. Her physical therapist has her walking with the walker.

Regardless of where it ends up, it will have to land somewhere on Monday. This weekend the Christmas tree and ornaments will come down, and we’ll move some furniture around in the living room to accommodate the bed. If we need to move it later, I’ll be happy to join the crew who will undertake this task.

To the best of my knowledge, Jeremy is the only one who has said anything to her about it, and of course she doesn’t like the idea. Mike is staying tonight. Mike, you want to have some conversation with her about it? I can continue with the idea on Saturday. She will either get pissed or start to accept it. We, of course, can respond in a number of appropriate or inappropriate ways.

I await your wisdom.

Jocelyn Harrison to Greg, Denice, ERIC, JEANNIE, jeff1tac, jharrison, jtharrison79, Judi, LOUISE, mbh482, solarbunnie1, STEVE, TONY, JEANETTE
show details 10:56 AM (2 hours ago)
Here are my thoughts from 3000 miles away. (wish I was there)

1. Living room is the best idea for all the reasons you've expressed. Especially, if she has been sleeping occasionally on the sofa in there. Being in kitchen/ living room gives her the comfort that she has more control of what's going on in her home. I think she feels her bedroom is isolated. Doesn't it feel isolated to all of you?

2. Mama has been receptive to new things, events, trips to doctors, etc when I've repeatedly told her what to expect, and how it's a good thing. Example - "Mom, you're having surgery tomorrow to take the pin out of your leg. That's going to make it less painful." It would be a good idea for Mike to mention the arrival of the bed repeatedly tonight. And, anyone else who sees her before the bed comes.