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Friday, March 6, 2015

Bath Time Stories

So! Last Saturday, we used the bath lift for the first time!

And I was able to smoothly get Bob into the tub ...

And then had to call The Fire Department to get him out.

I kid you not.

What happened was that Bob sort of slid in that tub, sort just sunk down (and down and down) until the water was clean up to his nose and I, of course, pulled the plug so he wouldn't drown.

I must admit, I was not prepared for this to happen. We had done a "dry run" with the medical tech who installed the lift, but the key word here was "dry" -- no water in the tub.  My main concern with the water was a) would his condom cath stay on? b) would his pain patches float away? and c) would his peg tube be ok?? I had not even considered the fact that the wet tub surface might be too slippery for him...

Anyway, in the process sliding down, Bob also slid sideways and ended up in a sort of fetal position:  butt caught against the side of the tub, weak (paralyzed) side underneath him. And he couldn't get himself upright.  And I couldn't get him upright. And the lift is designed to slip on while in a seated position, not in a fetal position.

Believe me, I tried to get him upright. Tried to get him back into the lift. I tried and tried and had tears in my eyes and got so very frustrated that I found myself stupidly and inexplicitly calling out "Mommy!"  This from a 54 year woman whose mom is 1400 miles away -- jeepers.

So I finally broke down and called 911 and they sent two very nice firefighters to our house. Poor Bob, bare butt in the air, stuck in that tub, was quite embarrassed.  It took all three of us: one firefighter at Bob's feet, one at his shoulders, and me manning the lift device to get him out of that tub.

By the by, the firefighters thought the lift was "pretty neat". They had never seen one like it.

Anyway, we got him out and no one was hurt. Though immediately afterwards, Bob had a bowel movement (without the usual assistance of a laxative) and I figured either that whirlpool was soooo relaxing or --- the whole episode literally scared the shit out of him.

And jeepers, the thing is not working if one has to have The Fire Department on speed dial every time Bob takes a bath!

So this past week, I had some bath modification made. The first was to add another grab bar on the tub in the location where Bob had been grabbing, trying to right himself. Then to add some no-slip treads to the bottom of the tub. And third, I had the tech guy who sold us the lift stop by and release the spring tension on the arm supports as that was getting in my way when I was trying to get the lift under Bob's paralyzed arm.

And even after all of that, it was with some trepidation that we decided to give it another try this very morning. I mean, it was scary...

But I decided to do it today because the contractor has guys working outside (translate that to: help if I need it) and so we did...

Once in the tub, Bob decided he didn't want to get completely out of the lift this time, I think he was too scared to "go it alone" -- so I only unstrapped his legs.

And we did it! In and out, smooth as silk. No fire department required!

Here's a pic of one happy, relaxed, clean Bob:

Bob's "first" successful bath post-stroke!

Oh, and condom cath stayed put, patches did not float away and peg tube seems A-OK.


Anonymous said...

Aaaah, the always eventful life of a caregiver. "Murphy" seems to show up when least wanted. So happy Bob was able to enjoy a tub bath instead of a bed "bath".

Hugs & prayers,


Rebecca Dutton said...


Lauda said...

Your story always amazes me and I am so happy when there is a really great success story!!

Anonymous said...

So, Dianne, if you take him completely out of the lift how do you get him back into it? Do you have to get in the tub to strap him back in? This sounds like an awful lot of work - although Bob probably loves it :) Trudy

Diane said...

Hi Trudy, yes if I take him completely out of the lift, I have to climb into the tub to strap it back on, at least on the right side. It would be easier if he had some kind of movement in that right arm, but so far he doesn't...He is able to get into the left side of the lift by himself, perhaps with more practice he will be able to help more with the right side...

And yes, I get wet!

Jenn said...

Quick thinkin' - draining the tub! Good work Holmes!