A Care Giver’s Journey Continues…
By Julie Klutinoty
From a caregiving perspective, a ‘total lift’ scenario exists when the person being cared for needs assistance in standing/balancing and transferring from chair to bed and more. After using a walker for two years, mom’s ability to stand and transfer was diminishing. She was requiring more and more assistance for daily activities and 8 months prior to her Brain Cancer diagnosis (in January), she was no longer able to stand and balance at all.
There are proper lifting and transferring techniques taught to health care providers. However, when it was time to change Mom or tuck her into bed, we devised our own routine. There was help available if we wanted it, but there was something close and family-like that egged Mom and me into taking matters into our own hands.
Thanks to my years of strength training in the gym and the pilates studio, I found I was able to lift and transfer mom with ease. I studied form and mindfully set out to accomplish the task. I was warned and learned, first hand, it was repetitive lifting and lifting while fatigued that really takes a toll on the caregiver… physically and emotionally.
I am so grateful for those ‘transfer’ experiences with Mom. As she could no longer feel her legs or feet, we would find ourselves tangled up in one another while transferring her from chair to bed or bed to chair. As Mom had lost the ability to speak, she would just start to grunt and look at me while slowly slithering toward the floor. As our eyes would meet and Mom’s eyes started bulging, we would burst out in tears then start laughing at the ridiculous predicament we had gotten ourselves in.
Mom had two seizures. After the first one, she stayed in bed and was barely responsive the next day. Our Hospice Nurse said that was normal behavior and it would be the next 24 to 48 hours that are telling with regard to the actual effects of the seizure. At that point, I found Mom’s condition and day to day status completely unpredictable. Hospice became more and more involved with mom’s weekly and daily care.
Under Hospice Care, mom had become part of a team. Her Hospice ‘team’ was stealth like. They would swoop in when supplies were needed and show up with short notice to remedy the myriad of issues we would encounter.
All in all, once mom signed up for Hospice Care, it felt like we were part of a very big family.