Should I stay abed or loll about in the easy chair?
It’s Sunday morning and I’ve already got Mom squared away for a couple of hours.
I usually get her out of bed at noon so she is in the wheelchair only ten hours or less – to prevent pressure sores, “bed sores” or decubitis. Bed sores are the bane of any caregiver; it requires constant vigil to make sure a pressure spot doesn’t stay red, blister or worse: to break the skin and go deep.
I've learned the hard way. I stole Mom from the nursing home because of a decubitis on her bottom the size of a salad plate that looked like leftover cherry pie at Thanksgiving and smelled worse. I say stole: it was with full permission of my dad and sister to bring her home because we felt we were paying $7,500 a month for minimal care; the staff was wonderful but the management just wanted our parents to sign their house over.
The decubitis was the least of my complaints, really, about their care.
Her multiple sclerosis prevents her from feeling the pain but the body works to heal just the same; for being 85 and having smoked for 66 years, she has lovely, incredible skin that is barely wrinkled. It heals beautifully with proper treatment, but I have learned it is much less work for me if I don’t let a pressure point develop. Sheepskin is wonderful, so is Desitin, as is the low-flow air mattress that actually leaks oxygen to her skin at a slow rate through the material.
Air is good for skin; moisture is imperative, as well as movement, hygiene, hydration, and nutrition; the treatment is those five items in a protocol.
I even developed my own wound gel to hold moisture and manage granulation – it is fascinating to watch the tissues rebuild themselves. I manage all this under doctor’s orders. I’ve been trained and supervised by certified wound nurses (amazing people, by the way).
But, back to me, should I stay lazy this morning?
The last thing a caregiver remembers to do is take care of him- or herself. How about I clean bird cages, clean the refrigerator, finish laundry, mop the floor, answer the mail, go for a ride, or best idea of all, read a book?