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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Not Enough Time in a Day

Every time we go to Rehab, the therapists always ask if we are doing our "at home exercises", or if we are practicing this or that skill. And of course, I smile and say "yes!" But....

Somedays there's just not enough time to do everything we are expected to do. I mean, he has two sets of leg exercises, one done in bed and the other sitting up in his wheelchair, and we do 30 reps each and this alone can take about two hours. Then, there's the arm exercises with a full range of motion plus stretching and the mirror therapy. And don't forget the tongue exercises for swallowing. And the speech exercises: "Da Da, Ka Ka" and so on, and also practice saying the days of the week, the months of the year and counting to twenty. And, please, do this several times a day. In addition to all of that, he's to practice putting on and taking of a t-shirt, and don't forget to practice reading and writing. And maybe you can get him to draw with his left hand, Diane? And of course we should do the flash cards and practice naming objects. And also name the body parts, you know, fingers, toes, hands. And I'm supposed to get him to play a game or two that directs his attention to the right side: these games involve picking up objects and placing them to the far right. And play some other game, cards or scrabble, it's good for his brain. And add to that a bed bath and three bolus tube feedings and three times a day crush and dissolve his medications and syringe them in the feeding tube. And get him out of bed with the slide board and into the wheelchair and push him outside for a change of air and view. And be sure to massage his right arm and shoulder and put lotion on his legs. And wash his hair, involving a trip to the kitchen sink and a pretty big mess afterwards. Don't forget laundry and changing the sheets. Oh, change those diapers too, several times. And make him something to practice eating with, that involves cooking and dishes. And 7:00 p.m. the nightly 12 hour enteral feeding on the pump needs to be started. Right now, I'm looking out the window and the lawn needs to be mowed, weeds need to be pulled and there are dead palm fronds hanging from the trees, so someone should get out there with a ladder and cut them down, and really, I should water the garden and don't forget to vacuum and dust the house and pay those bills, feed the cats, walk the dog, hassle with the insurance company and call in those prescription refills and then, somehow, get to the pharmacy to pick them up..... Then I'm told, you should really get him out of the house, to the mall or the beach, make him feel "normal" again. And don't forget, to take some time for yourself, Diane, so you don't burn out. Ga!

Lord almighty, how does anyone do it all? I begin to feel guilty because I can't do it all. I begin to feel I'm not really cut out for this caregiver role. And it will be all my fault if he doesn't recover because I just can't seem to find enough time in a day to do everything we are supposed to do in order for him to get better.

I guess I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed this morning.


oc1dean said...

But Diane thats the whole point of asking if you're doing the home exercises. If you don't then the therapist is resolved of responsibility. They also only know of one way to recover and that is massed practice, they haven't been taught anything else, like maybe 5 minutes a day for 6 months, rather than 2 hours a day for 4 weeks. I personally am on the - everything I do is therapy, I just have to do it every day. There is no ending timeline to recovery. As long as the survivor doesn't give up there is the possibility of recovery. Therapists do not follow their patients long enough to determine what works and what doesn't.

Jenn said...

Congratulations on all that you DO accomplish! Atsa over-sized yacht load of schtuff, woman! And I KNOW you're doing the best you can. When you're feeling guilty and thinking you aren't doing enough, please reflect all the good you have done thus far.

Helen M said...

LaCrosse WI just had a tornado. It went through my neighborhood. I helped to move limbs and sections of tree to the curb for over 2 hours on Monday night. And I think I was overworked. HA! I cannot imagine doing everything you do and still having the strength to keep going. You are an inspiration to me and a wonderful helpmate for Bob. Keep up the good work.

Diane said...

Helen, I am glad to hear you survived the tornado! My folks were very near where it touched down--it scared the dickens out of them! Thank goodness there were no casualties.

Dean, thanks for that comment! I will remember "everything is therapy". This may become my new mantra. I feel less guilty now!

and Jenn, thank you! xxooxx

oc1dean said...

Diane, here is a post on 24 hour-a-day therapy. 16 hours a day is common and one on sleeping and stroke therapy.
Hang in there, it does get better