Tag Archives: adult diapers

The diaper follies

You have to find humor where you can in the nursing home. Mom used to haul adult diapers on the Greyhound bus as she went to visit Dad at the nursing home. Finally, she allowed me to just order them online. It was not as easy as one might think. Certain styles worked better for Dad, and of course, finding his size was difficult because he kept losing weight. Also, Dad started going through more and more diapers each day. With his dementia, he would sometimes try to rip them off.

Mom now finds herself wearing diapers. Hopefully, it’s temporary. Today, she was wearing a dress and the staff changed her diaper before her physical therapy session. She said it felt a little loose. While she was trying to master the walker during her therapy session, the diaper slipped off and fell right on the floor.

Mom had a better attitude about it than I probably would have had. She said they all had a good laugh about it.

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Losing pieces of dignity

My mom had a pretty good day. She started rehab and took a few steps, so that was important. I remember how difficult it was for Dad to get up out of the hospital bed after he had been bedridden for a week. He never walked on his own again.

Mom had her catheter taken out today, which is also a good sign. However, instead of putting a diaper on her, they just put a pad on her. Before the surgery, she was able (with assistance) to move from the bed to the chair-toilet at her bedside. Now, post-surgery, she is too weak to do that. She ended up wetting herself a couple of times today.

Finally, they wised up and put a diaper on her. I never thought I would say I was happy to have my parents wearing diapers, but in this case, it’s the lesser of two evils. Mom still remembers wrestling with Dad to get his diapers on him when he still lived at home but was already suffering from mid-stage dementia.

Mom is a model patient, so no fighting from her.

Still, it’s scary and amazing how quickly one can lose control over their basic bodily functions. For Mom, a diaper is more dignified than not wearing one and wetting herself. It’s these small but important details that are sometimes overlooked when caring for the elderly.

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How family relationships come full circle

After a 2-week long hospital stay in November 2010, and with my dad rapidly declining due to his dementia, he was deemed by medical staff to be too fragile to come back home, so he was placed in an assisted living facility. The cost of those facilities is staggering, and many people find themselves being blindsided by all of the bills associated with such care, and how much Medicare does not cover. I know we were.

What was even more surprising was what that $4000 per month fee didn’t cover. We were charged for transit to and from doctor’s appointments. We were charged for hair cuts and manicures/pedicures. We had to pay for the adult diapers and Ensure drinks separately. At home, my dad had only needed to wear a diaper at night, because he was still ambulatory and could still attend to his own toileting needs (usually.) But once he was at the assisted living facility, he was in diapers full-time. It seemed more and more often, we would get that call from the facility, “Patrick is almost of out diapers.” At one point, I called and asked just how many they were going through a day. “Oh, at least a dozen or more.” I thought I was going to have to take a second job just to cover the costs.

At first my mom was trying to handle buying the diapers and taking them to the care center herself, but that was too much of a burden so I offered to research online and find the best deal, then have them shipped directly to the facility. It’s both humbling and depressing to spend many nights on the couch, surfing Amazon.com looking for great deals on diapers for your 78-year-old father. Briefs or pull-ups? I learn the pros and cons of the various brands: Depends, Attends, Abena, Molicare, TENA, etc. I spent hours reading the sometimes sad, sometimes humorous accounts of adults with incontinence problems and their personal reviews of these products.

My mom had another take on this task that I did for my dad. “When you were a baby and your father would come home from work late at night, and I would tell him you’d run out of Pampers, he would say, ‘Well, Joy has to have her diapers’ and would get right back in the car to pick some up. He never complained.”

When I went back home just after my father passed away, I was greeted in the spare bedroom by stacks and stacks of adult diapers that were left over from one of the orders I had placed. In a plastic grocery bag atop the tower of diapers were unused medications that had been prescribed to my dad. These things, a few clothes and one lone studio portrait of me as a chubby-cheeked two-year-old were all of the belongings my dad had with him at the end of his life. It’s a sobering thought for our materialism-driven society.

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