Sunday, December 28, 2008

caregiving: incontinence trumps

Incontinence may be intellectualized by doctors but from a caregiver’s perspective incontinence trumps.

With progression of Patti’s Multiple Sclerosis she is totally incontinent both for bladder and bowels. Add into the mix a wheel chair, a non-ambulatory patient with cognitive impairment and you have more than a challenge.

I think it is safe to assume that most people have changed a diaper on an infant. An adult’s diaper is the same concept just on a grander scale.

Incontinence also means whenever. Anything and everything else planned has to accommodate the need to change Depends and usually clothing.

Yes, all manufacturers promote their product does not leak. If your faith is based in US advertising, then bless you. However, I will say after a decade of caregiving for incontinence that Kimberly Clark DEPEND® brand leaks less.

Picking Patti up on Saturday for her parent’s holiday party my nose told me something was not right. Patti claimed that she had just been changed and just wanted a cigarette. I wasn’t buying.

Preparing to change her myself I found myself shortly assisted by 5 aides and a lift. I think operating rooms have less people.

Later driving back she experienced more bowel incontinence. Changing alone was not going to be adequate, a shower was needed.

Timing was bad as aides were all busy getting other residents to bed so I charged forward.

First, dead lifting Patti from wheelchair into bed so I could get her clothing and Depend off, then dead lifting her into a shower chair to roll into the shower.

Soiled clothing and bed linen I quickly tossed in hamper Depends and wipes in trash.

Observing me, the LPN put meds on hold and pitched in finding me extra wash cloths and towels, rounding up fresh linens, and making the bed.

After shower I dead lifted Patti back into bed, whipped on new Depend, nightgown, and rolled her regular wheelchair into the shower as it too needed a cleaning.

All's well that ends well, as Patti was falling into sleep as I turned out the light and sloshed out in soaking wet shoes.

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer
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musings: Patrick Ponders ...


  1. It is so hard to do alone, when we have the GI or someone with C difficile we can be changing linens and cleaning up patients every 10 minutes. I totally understand this post, LOL

  2. you are such a good caregiver Patrick; I can't see a lot of men doing this including the men in my life; you know this already, but you are living out the very essence of what marriage should be; being devoted to each other no matter what the circumstance or situation

    I hope 2009 is a good year for you


  3. I am so oh so very proud of you and your love! It is very hard and demanding. With disabilities there are those things that definitely do "trump" a many occurrences!

  4. Blessed are those who take care of the sick and the invalid night and day, and keep their loved ones clean and dry! Well, I know Jesus didn't say it that way, but surely he was talking about you, and all those other faithful Caregivers who maintain the quality of life for their family member. bea

  5. I'm glad Patti is in a place where they care about getting her changed. (My father's need for a bladder incontinence change, meant ignoring him, even when I asked. I could not life him, but when I had supplies and was there and/or the one caring for him, Dad and I would work together to get him moved about, and cleaned. Seems Patti isn't really able to move herself about, although hopefully is lighter than my heavy father had been. And, of course you'll do what's needed for her, I can tell that's your approach which is great even if yes, it can be a lot. That you love her. Hang in there.

  6. Maintaining dignity is one of the most important aspects that a caregiver deals with. For example, a daughter who is a family caregiver may remember her father as a large, robust individual and if he's become incontinent, they want to provide care in a sensitive manner which maintains his dignity.

    The ladies at The CareGiver Partnership are incontinence care experts. They offer over 500 different products and samples of over 100. Call 800-985-1353 or visit

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