What do I do Now?

Following the get-together last Saturday with my family, Christmas was fast upon us two days later.  Christmas Eve we always have our children come over for our family time.  Since the baby was still recovering from his cold, my daughter brought him to our house before heading in for the Christmas Eve church service.  I planned to watch him, cook dinner and be ready for everyone to come back around 6 or 6:30 for dinner.  However, shortly after they left, Lynn started running a fever.
While fevers can be a source of discomfort and can make anyone feel bad, for an MS patient, they can be devastating. Between 4 and 6 p.m. his temperature rose to 103 degrees.  Along with the aches and malaise brought on by the fever, his spasticity became so severe he was asking me to stretch out his arms every few minutes.  Meanwhile the baby needed to eat and I had dinner to cook. I fed the baby but other than that, just rotated him from play site to play site.  Then he began to get sleepy and wanted attention.  I had put potatoes on to cook, and was literally running from kitchen to bedroom every five minutes as I bounced the baby rhythmically trying to “rock” him to sleep in my arms (it didn’t work). 
I called Lynn’s son, Eric, and told him, “Dad had a fever and I needed help; come early,” but by the time he got the message and could get ready to come, it was already six. When Eric and his wife walked in, I was so relieved. I handed Erin the baby, told Eric to stay with Lynn (I had finally gotten the temperature to start coming down) and I took off for the kitchen. Fortunately the other kids were late and didn’t get here till almost seven.  By then all had settled, and dinner was ready.  Whew!!!
Lynn was not able to join us because he felt too bad but everyone would go visit him periodically to keep him company and then let him rest.  It was disappointing that he could not join in the festivities, but, all in all, Christmas Eve was fun and certainly memorable.
The next day, Lynn was very tired from the aftermath of the fever but was able to participate in a late lunch with his family.  His sister came over in the morning and fixed the meal and it was delicious.  She left us some food for dinner and after everyone left (and Lynn had a nap) we rounded out the evening with a movie.  Later we had leftovers (his were made just for him according to his diet) and we went to bed around 2:00 a.m.
At 3:30 a.m., I woke up terribly sick.  My stomach was grumbling and I knew I better rush to the bathroom before I had an accident.  As I rushed past Lynn, he said, “I need to pee.”  I replied, “too bad, I’m going to be sick.  Hold it!” and rushed on to the bathroom where I proceeded to have both vomiting and diarrhea. Several people in the community had GI bugs so I was not sure what was going on.  I thought it might be food poisoning because the stuffed mushrooms with cream cheese had set out for several hours and I finished them off for dinner, but what if it was a virus?  I didn’t want to expose Lynn.  I could not imagine managing him through hours of diarrhea and vomiting, plus something like that could be a major set-back for him or even require hospitalization.  But he needed to pee so I needed to figure out how to care for him and reduce his exposure to me.
The entire time I was being sick, I had in the back of my mind, he needed to pee.  I figured if I could get a foley inserted he would be okay for a while till I could get someone to come take care of him.  So after I would vomit, I would have that period of peace between events.  I shuffled off and got the foley insertion supplies and laid them out.  Then went  back to the bathroom.  When all was calm again, I came and put in the foley and then went back to the bathroom.  Knowing he had a foley, I figured he should be okay for a few hours.  I grabbed my cell phone on one of my trips out of the bathroom and sent a text to his son, “I’m sick.  I need you now! Come take care of Dad.”  It was in the middle of the night so he did not get the message for several hours but came as soon as he could afterwards. By then the worst was over and I was sleeping the needed sleep of recovery.  Eric stayed most of the day until I felt strong enough to eat and take over Lynn’s care.
I had wondered before what I would do if I got sick like that.  Now I know.  I just keep going and work around the illness.  I thought about calling the rescue squad to put in a foley but I have heard they won’t do that.  They would take him to the emergency department and have it put in there.  Can you imagine?  I’m sick, they load him into an ambulance and take him in to get a foley.  He’s then stuck in the emergency department somewhere totally ticked off and worried about me and I have to figure out where he is and how to get him!  That would be a mess, wouldn’t it?  But then again, if you can’t pee, it does eventually become an emergency.
You may recall I have a daughter who is a nurse and you might be thinking, “why doesn’t she call her?”  Unfortunately, my daughter has a phobia of being around vomiting.  This is a true phobia and she becomes dysfunctional in such a situation.  She would be no good.  She could handle just about anything else calmly and professionally but knowing I was vomiting would make her avoid my house as if we had the black plague.  Her phobia is beyond her control and something we have dealt with since she was six so I know better than to try that route unless there is no other option, and even then, I’m not sure she could handle it.
Anyway, I figured out my own solution and managed to take care of Lynn while I was sick. I’m sure what I had was food poisoning not a GI bug because by the next day I was fine.  So all ended well.  Lynn’s fever did not return.  My cold is slowly getting better and tonight is New Year‘s Eve.  I’ve started taking down my Christmas decorations and hopefully will make a big dent in them tomorrow.   
I hope 2013 will be a good year full of family and love and hope.  I know if challenges come, as I’m sure they will, we are not alone.  Our Lord is with us and the angels he has given us (a family, friends, and acquaintance who look out for us every day serving as his hands) will met any need we may have.  We are truly blessed.
May God bless you all throughout this coming year! 
From my house to yours, Happy New Year.  

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911-Do you do catheters?

One night this week, just about bedtime, I became very nauseated and started feeling really lousy.  It had the feel of when I’m about to have an allergic reaction to something.  I have lots of food allergies and I often find out about a new one though several hours of agony and being tied to the restroom.  I thought it might be that or food poisoning.  Fortunately, it turned out to be neither but it sure gave me a scare.
I, like most people, hate to be sick.  It’s miserable but usually if I have someone to bring me things, I just stay put in the bathroom, often on the floor on a blanket, till it passes.  As I was contemplating possibly having such a night I went between dread of being sick and panic as to what was I going to do about Lynn?
There were several issues.  The most immediate was that I felt like I couldn’t stay up another minute but still had to finish feeding him, giving him his nebulizer treatment, cathing him, and getting him ready for sleep.  With each request he made, I became more and more cranky and desperate to lie down.  I finally did, lying very still, breathing shallowly, and praying I would not be sick.  Thanks, God for granting that wish….
As I lay there in dread, the other struggle was what was I going to do if I did indeed get sick?
1.  What if I needed help?  Lynn is attached to a peddler at night so he can peddle when his legs get stiff. He could pull out of it but he also doesn’t usually hear me if I yell from the bathroom and he can’t get his wheelchair through the door to bring me anything.  Solution:  Take a phone into the bathroom with me.  Plan:  Get a phone for the bathroom permanently.
2.  He needs to be cathed several times a night.  He cannot urinate on his own. If I was too sick to move, who could cath him?  That’s where my mind went to 9-1-1.  I figure if a rescue squad could put in a catheter in an emergency, not being able to empty one’s bladder can lead to one, so the solution is to call 911 to get them to come put in a foley.  Did you know that if a person cannot empty their bladder that after a while they will go into shock?  The urine backs up to the kidney and then on toward overloading the heart and lungs.  It doesn’t happen immediately but it can cause a lot of pain and the shock comes long before the other parts. So I think 911 is a good option.
3.  If I’m sick for hours, I sure am not going to feel like taking care of him the next day. Lord, give me strength!  I know I would try to push through though.  I would certainly have to call for help I expect but there are so many things family and friends just don’t know how to do and I still don’t have an arrangement yet for intermittent nursing help.  Got to get back into looking for that again.
Just so much more to consider when someone is so dependent on you for everything they need.  I also know that emotionally Lynn would be devastated if I was very sick.  He gets so afraid if I seem to be sick or hurt.  He worries about me but he’s also very afraid of what would happen to him.  He says all the time that he would give up and die if I was no longer around to help him.  Talk about pressure…
Anyway, I dodged the bullet.  Whatever was wrong finally went away.  I felt yucky the next day but functional so it was a false alarm, thank God.  So once again we were blessed to avoid another crisis and managed through what we had.  Aren’t we fortunate to have such a caring God to take care of us that way? 
Yes, we are….

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