Below are the instructions I have left for my son as he has graciously offered to watch Strokeman for the weekend so that I can get away. My destination of choice? My son and daughter in law who live in another state, and a quick visit with Strokeman’s brother and sister in law. Can’t wait, can’t wait!
7:30 A.M. Usually around this time Sherman will want to get up and go to the bathroom. Help him get his house shoes on and give him his cane. Stay within earshot to help him back in the bed. The main issue with getting him back in the bed is making sure his shirt isn’t twisted and that his pillows are comfortable. I pull on the right side of his shirt at the bottom, and then on the right sleeve. Sometimes his boxers get twisted as well. Make sure the leg hole on his right leg is loose enough for him to be able to move it aside for the urinal. Once he is back to bed I ask him if he is ready for breakfast and what he wants.
8:00-11:00 Some time within this window he needs to eat breakfast in order to keep his morning pills and evening pills from being too close together. On rare occasions he will sleep late and I will have to wake him and remind him he has to get up and take his pills. I have filled his pill dispenser up so that you should only have to dump the appropriate dose in his little metal cup, but in the event that they get messed up, his morning pills are: 2 Total Probiotics, 1 Happy Camper, 1 Diltiazem, 1 digoxin. He also needs a vitamin packet. Just open the packet and lean it up against the metal cup. If you put them all in the cup together he tends to drop them or not take them all. If he asks for tea, make him a Keurig chamomile and put two ice cubes in it. If he asks for coffee, make him a decaf and put enough half and half in it to cool it down. He will also need a glass of water with about 1/4 cup of the kombucha tea in it. (had to cross out that part about kombucha tea, he’s already given up on that).
He needs to walk to the table, and then you can push the wheelchair up behind him. I usually read a Psalm to him (or half if it is long), and a paragraph or two from the Horatius Bonar book. When he is done he may ask you to push him to the bedroom if he is afraid of not making it to the bathroom in time. In this case I push him until he is even with the amoire and then let him walk the rest of the way to the bathroom. Then take the wheelchair back to the table to get it out of the way. If he doesn’t ask, let him walk back to the bed.
1:00-3:00 He will want lunch during this time. Probably a pot pie. He only wants the innards and the very top of the crust. For lunch he gets a Happy Camper and a L-Glutamine (these are not in the pill box). He will also want a monkey bar, Cliff bar, or other dessert.
6:00 – 9:00 Depending on when he ate breakfast, he will need supper. If he was late getting his morning pills, you need to wait to give him his supper pills. Usually he won’t want much for supper. He often just eats a fruit salad, his fiber wafer, and his pills. If you need to know, his supper pills are: 1 Happy Camper, 2 magnesium, 1Diltiazem, 1 Lisinopril, 2 Warfarin if it is Friday or Sunday, 1 Warfarin if it is Saturday or Monday.
For supper, I usually read to him out of the Lloyd Jones biography (good luck with those Welsh names!)
9:00-11:00 He gets a melatonin (by the bed) and his prescription eye drops (by the bed).
11:00 PM-7:30AM He will be able to take care of the urinal himself, but chances are good that he will need you to empty them before the night is out. You need to be where you can hear him so that he can call you for help.
Urinal: dump pee into the toilet, put soap and water in the urinal and slosh it around and dump that in the toilet as well. Use one of his rags to wipe out as much moisture as you can.
Toilet: Make sure he has a rag in there on the handle and that there are plenty of wipes.
Rags: he uses these to keep from dripping urine on himself when he pees. You will probably have to wash a batch every morning.
You may leave him at home by himself for 2-3 hours. Before you go, make sure he has a non-skid sock on his left foot, that his cane and right shoe are positioned, that his urinals are empty, and that he has plenty of rags in the drawer by the bed. Make sure his phone is charged and where he can reach it. Make sure there are plenty of wipes in the bathroom. Allow time for him to go to the bathroom before you leave. Keep your phone with you at all times.
Offer to change his boxers and teeshirt every day. He will probably refuse, but if he agrees, do your best to keep his privates covered. For his shirt, you need to put the left sleeve over his hand and put the shoulder seam up above his elbow. Then hold the shirt so that he can get his right hand in and pull it over his head. You will have to pull it down in the back. Also offer to get him to the sink to brush his teeth.
He will probably not allow you to shower him, but if something happens to make him have to let you, here is my procedure for that:
Back the wheelchair up against the closet door, lock the brakes and turn the front wheels so that they are under the chair. Put a towel in the seat of the chair. Turn the water on to barely warm. He will walk to the chair where you will help him get his clothes off and put on his water socks (located in the bottom of the towel rack). He will walk into the shower using his cane and the bars. Your main job is to squeeze shower gel onto his hand or rag – he does most of the washing himself. You will need to offer to wash his back with the rag and some soap. He can’t reach there and it needs to be exfoliated. Also you need to wash his right under arm and make sure he rinses good under both arms. Position his cane outside the shower on the right side so that he can use it to get out. Be close by to make sure he doesn’t lose his balance while he is getting out. Dry off his back side and arms as much as you can while he is standing, and give him a towel to dry off his front. Dry off under his arms and apply the coconut oil deodorant that is on his sink. Put on a shirt. Dry his legs and take his water socks off and dry his feet. Put his boxers on up to his knees and then put his house shoes on. Make sure his left foot is all the way back to the chair before he stands up. Let him pull his boxers up. He will then walk toward his sink, and you can get the wheelchair and push it up behind him so that he can sit down. He will brush his teeth by himself, and will use a Qtip to clean the wax out of his ears. He will also want to blow his hair and beard dry.
If you want to take him somewhere, you need to take my car, and drive like an old lady: No quick starts or stops, slow way down to turn. If the car is parked in the heat, leave him inside and go turn on the air before bringing him out to it. If you don’t do these things you might find yourself cleaning up vomit. If you go to Hannah’s, take the portable toilet seat elevator and a urinal. If you go to a movie, make sure you take a urinal, rag, and wipes in the backpack. You can take him to the gym to swim if he wants. I think there is a fee for you to be a guest, but I will pay it, whatever it is. If he wants a ppv movie, order it by text and have it put on the bill (I think you have to give them my phone #). If he wants pizza or other order out food, get the credit card out of his wallet, or just pay for it and text me and I will transfer the money into your account.
Thank you so much for doing this for me! It is a wonderful gift to be able to leave and know he will be well taken care of. Please feel free to call or text with any questions.