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Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Crazed Caregiver & The Collapsing Bed

So, the other night I was awakened from a deep sleep by the sound of Bob calling, "Help! Help! Help!"

I bolted straight out of bed. Flew to his bedside.

And when I get there, out-of-breath and heart pounding, I ask, "What's wrong?" Because, honestly, nothing looks wrong.

Bob says, quite calmly, "Just a minute."


It takes me a minute to realize that he's adjusting the bed pad that's under him. And another second to realize that he wants me to boost him up in bed. This, when he hasn't even slipped down that far--maybe an inch. And a split second to look at the clock and realize it's 2 freaking a.m. and he WOKE ME UP FOR THIS?!

And though I hate to admit it, at that moment, after sizing up the situation, I snap.

I mean, I really lose my temper here. Because a long time ago, I thought I had made it clear to Bob that he is not to wake me up in the middle of the night unless it's an emergency, which means a bona fide emergency, such as the house is on fire. Or he's wet the bed.... Because, honest to God, I need my sleep. Without a decent night's sleep, I am pretty worthless.

So now, I say to Bob--well perhaps "say" is not the right word here, more like "scream" to Bob, that THIS IS NOT AN EMERGENCY!!, and I TOLD YOU NEVER NEVER EVER WAKE ME UP UNLESS IT'S AN EMERGENCY!, and WHO DO I LOOK LIKE? A FREAKING PAID NIGHT SHIFT NURSE????!!!! and so on.  I tell you, it was not a pretty sight.

And to punctuate this angry little diatribe, I grab hold of the side rail of the hospital bed and give it a good shake.

And the whole darn bed collapses!

Right to the floor.


I can't believe it. I just broke the damn hospital bed. This is an expensive piece of semi-electric medical equipment. Which is a rental. And now, what am I going to do?

Well, the first thing I do is ask Bob if he's OK. He is a bit shaken, but OK. Then, I decide to leave the bed there, sort of partially collapsed on the floor, because I am exhausted and I will deal with it in the morning. I do check it to make sure it's not going move or anything, and it seems solid, so I crawl back to bed.

In the morning, I somehow manage to transfer Bob from collapsed bed into the wheelchair. No easy feat. Then, I strip the bed, haul off the extremely heavy gel mattress overlay, remove the not-so-heavy but awkward mattress and assess the damage underneath.

I can see where the right bed rail has pulled from the footboard. The good news is that I haven't really broken it, as I can see where the rail hooks to the footboard and I just have to re-attach it. To get the rail and footboard back together, I will have to lift the metal rail (which is quite heavy as it's attached to the electric motor) a good foot off the floor and, at the same time, pull the footboard toward it so I can hook the two together.

This is really a two person job. But there is only one person here who can do it: me. After a few attempts, I finally, finally manage to hoist that heavy rail, while simultaneously pulling the footboard toward it, line up the hooks, make the connection and just as it snaps into place--- I hear a clatter and find the crankshaft has fallen out.

Now the crankshaft runs from the footboard to the headboard, underneath the bed. This is the mechanism which raises the bed up and down. And it's somehow pulled loose and is lying under the bed.

After all that work, I have to take the footboard and side rail back apart, and crawl under the bed to, first, insert the crankshaft into the headboard then insert the other end into the footboard, and start all over with getting that blasted side rail attached to the footboard, all the while trying not to dislodge the crankshaft.

After two hours of screwing around, I finally manage to get the bed back together, get the mattress and overlay back on, and praise the lord! everything works....

I tell you, I learned my lesson, which is never, never shake that darn bed rail.

I think Bob learned a lesson too. I don't think he'll be waking me up, in the middle of the night, for a boost anytime soon. ha!

To end this post on a good note, this rather frazzled caregiver did have a couple of well deserved, relaxing days this past weekend when my sister came to visit and we even managed to spend some time at the beach...


Anonymous said...

OMG....This so sounds like something that would happen to me..Diane I am sorry you got woken-up, I to am no good with out my sleep...Glad you got to the beach with sister!!!!

Vickie said...

Bob is a lucky person to have you. Handling a stroke injury is stressful to say the least. My son had a stroke in 1994. Believe me, there is hope but with a stroke it takes lots of time and patience. Feel free to email anytime. Luckily, I was a Neuro Nurse with Health South when my son had a stroke.
Hope, Health, and Happiness,