Monday, January 29, 2007

The Hospital Bed

I had avoided the hospital bed for as long as I could but it was now time to put aside my notions and order the dreaded bed. Over the last few years, there have been countless conversations by Dear Son’s physicians, therapists and well meaning people who tell me I should get a "hospital" bed for Dear Son. I always resist and tell them that it’s not necessary. I mean, we have spent a lot of time in the hospital over the last fifteen years and the absolute last thing I want in my home is a "hospital" bed.

The image of the oversized, ugly hospital bed looms in my head and I can’t quite allow it’s image. It’s the horrible foam mattress with the waterproof rubber exterior that somehow gets to me. It’s the hole in the center of the mattress so you can’t roll over. It’s the side rails that squeak with the hinges that never seem to work right. It’s the foam pads they place on them for seizure precautions that get stuck in the rails. It’s all of these things and more. I know because I slept on a few of them when I stayed with Dear Son. When I wasn’t sleeping on one of them, I was sleeping on a sofa that turned into a bed. Sounds more comfortable than it was, since it was more like a plywood panel padded with vinyl. My back would hurt so bad when I slept on them, that I could hardly walk the next day.

But Dear Son’s current bed was no longer working for him. The bed didn’t sit high enough for the Hoyer Lift to fit under it. I tried different casters to raise the bed but it didn’t work since the frame kept buckling. I tried three different frames however none of them worked. I tried lifting weights to stay strong to continue lifting Dear Son. But in the end, it was pointless. I needed to use the Hoyer Lift for lifting and no amount of weight lifting was going to help me lift his 150 plus pound body indefinitely. After all, he is still growing, getting heavier and taller by the minute.

I went on-line and found a beautiful bed. It was even a demo which made it less expensive. I was hoping that I might be able to get it approved by the insurance and it wouldn’t look so bad. But it was not going to happen. So I went to our current durable medical equipment vendor to see the bed that our insurance most likely would approve. It was a “long” twin bed, with a metal headboard and footboard, not nearly as bulky as I imagined. I asked for split rails, instead of a full rail to make it easier and safer for Dear Son. The vendor assured me the mattress was “very firm”. He told me to try it out. I layed on the mattress. It was better than the old ones in the hospital but it was still very uncomfortable, or should I say, horrible.

The bed will be here in a few days. I have decided I will try and make the bed as nice as possible. I am going to try to use Dear Son’s current mattress, which shouldn’t be a problem, as long as I don’t raise and lower the head or foot of the bed. I don’t need either of those right now, I just need to be able to raise and lower it to make dressing and changing easier for me. And I need to be able to get the Hoyer Lift under the bed.

I am going out to get some new sheets and bedding for his new bed. I am thinking about ways to upholster the headboard and footboard to make it look less institutional. I think I have that resolved. I am going to make it look as much like a teenager’s room as I can, trying to get Dear Son excited about this latest transition.

It’s not much fun when you bedroom begins to look like a hospital room. I already have the IV pole, the feeding pump, the diapers, changing pads, wipes, etc. I suppose adding the hospital bed won’t really matter. The only thing left is having the nurse come in the middle of the night to give his meds. I have avoided that up to now choosing instead to forgo some sleep for my privacy.

But what will I tell Dear Son? That is the question. Your home is not a hospital. Your home is the one place that you have that you can come home to and everything is exactly as you like it. You “create” a home. It’s not a hotel, it’s not a hospital, it’s a home. It’s where you come when you get “out” of the hospital. It’s the place where you look forward to sleeping in your “own” bed. But when your “own” bed is a hospital bed, what is there to look forward to? What will I tell Dear Son the next time we are in the hospital? How nice it will be to sleep in his own “hospital” bed?


HeatherK said...

I can just hear how hard it is to take this step even though you know it's what needs to be done right now. I've heard/seen of people replacing the IV pole with an artificial "tree" that had a hook to hold the bag...not sure what they did with the pump. I love that you honor who he is and how he feels through all of these decisions big and small.

Kath said...

Going back to your California Dreamin; post...which was quite lovely...why don't you spray paint his bed candy apple red? Or midnite blue? Make it a hot rod that he would love. Get some racing decals or hot rod posters to elaborate on the theme.

I can tell he loves the little thoughtful details you provide and decorating in such a way will always make 'his' hospital bed different from the ones at the hospital.

Just a thought, of course!

Connie said...

I remember my mother saying on more than one occasion: "A house is not a home - home is what you make it."

I have no doubt that with your warmth and compassion, Dear Son's "hospital" bed will eventually be to him "his" bed.

Chris and Vic (CAK) said...

Dream Mom, I have a hospital bed in the handicap-accessible suite that I added on for my mom, now in a nursing home. I keep the bed . . .
I have a mattress topper on it, to make it more like a pillow-top; and this week in the Kohl's Dept Store flyer, there is a memory foam topper on sale for $99 for the twin size. (Comfort needs addressed?)
I have a fun-fur bedspread and Texas Star quilt design pillow shams, in red and gray to match the goofy fun-fur.
This will be Vic's space some day . . . It will evolve to be his, with changes in decor suitable to him/his tastes. It doesn't all happen at once--it evolves.
My mother, in her nursing home, shares a room with a woman with Batten disease--neurodegenerative. This is generally a pediatric disease, and this woman is thought to be the oldest survivor at age 43. Her half of the room is done up like a teen-ager's, with bold and "loud" colors, with remnants of Dora the Explorer, with stuffed animals, etc. But of course, there is this adapted wheelchair that takes up 1/3 of the room, and gym mats on the floor in case of a fall. Hospitals and nursing homes aren't allowed to use beds with bedrails any more, so they place mattresses or gym mats by the side of the beds, in case a resident rolls out of bed. In my mom's case, her mattress is on the floor.
The room is a hodge-podge, but my mom has adjusted--as has her roommate--as will you and your son. Each half of the room has the stamp of the style of the woman in the bed.

jennifer said...

I too can feel your reluctance in this post, and how difficult this step is to take. But I would offer this: it's that very reluctance that will make his bed at home feel like home; your care, and concern, and effort, and love will make it so.

I don't think it's the equipment, per se, that makes a hospital feel like a hospital; it's the lack of heart. In you, Dear Son has all the heart he needs.

(But I also really like the idea of a candy apple red racecar bed...maybe both? Heart and cool paint?)

Jo said...

Another stab in a mother's heart, of grief, loss and all that. And yet, even with the tears, there you are, finding ways to make it okay, for you, for your boy. That is a real mom.

neonataldoc said...

It will still be his home - the smells, the sounds, the sights will be home. Plus, you'll be there.

Anonymous said...

I too have a hospital bed at home, and have made it my own with blankets, pillows, and foam eggcrate mattress. My bed is FAR more comfortable to me than any bed in a hospital I have every slept in, and beside, its at home! In my house the hospital bed has always been called 'The Big Bed' because it was higher than any other one, but it's been a fantastic choice for me, because it means I sleep so much better. It's nice when needed to be able to adjust it, and to have it permanently set at a bit of downwards slant to help with reflux, if thats a problem. And, for sheets, usually twin extra long sheets are a great fit, and much cheaper than the 'hospital bed' sets. Also they're often available in nicer colours/patterns.

Enjoy the new big bed!


Ruth said...

I totally relate to what you're saying. I had to get a hospital bed and was devastated - but it's the only way I can manage. I also need a trapeze over my hospital bed. I was sitting there feeling miserable when one of my friends stuck a tennis ball on the end of the trapeze pole - and another hung a small stuffed monkey (we make alot of assistive monkey jokes around here!) It all helped, but what really "sold" me on it was the increased ease of day to day manageability with it. Wish you luck and hope it's as big a help to you and Dear Son as it's been to me.

Dream Mom said...

Wow, thanks for all of the nice comments and suggestions! T.C.-You made my day! I appreciate you telling me how comfortable your hospital bed it-that was a big concern for me since I wanted Dear Son to be comfortable in his new bed and I wasn't sure it would offer enough support. It's also great to hear you sleep a lot better. NND-Nice comment. I haven't thought of it like that. Ruth-That's great to hear. LOL on the assistive monkey! I am to the point where I really need it get easier for me to do things like dress him and lift him so having the adjustable bed should make those things easier since I can raise the bed for dressing and can get the Hoyer Lift under it for lifting. Good tips!

Kelly said...

I'm telling you DM, it's all in the SMELL. And his room won't SMELL like a hospital, no matter how much "stuff" you have to keep in there.

Just remember that. If they took the smell out of the hospital, everyone would feel more comfortable. At home, all you have is the smells you know, and everything takes over that scent. That's why we like home.

When my daughter was in a hospital bed (the really ugly kind), we decked that thing out without even covering the head and foot boards. It didn't look like a hospital bed anymore because of all the personal stuff on it.

AND it didn't smell like a hospital in there. That's the real kicker :)

beds and mattresses UK said...

Apart from being small, i find that hospital beds are generally quite comfortable. They all come with memory foam mattresses don't they?

beds and mattresses UK said...

following on from that, what about that green tissue paper you always seem to get as bed linen on the hospital mattresses

claude said...

I own a Memory Foam Mattress and it’s wonderful! Best bed ever! I have a lot of sleeping problems and it solves all but my girlfriend’s snoring! I think the government should pay for everyone to have Memory Foam Mattresses!

Eshopper said...

I have to agree, a memory foam mattress gives me my best night sleep.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Blog Archive