Thursday, June 28, 2007

This is Not Your Father's Hospital Bed

You may recall several months ago, when I wrote this post regarding my feelings about getting Dear Son's new hospital bed. I was worried that it would look institutional and not feel like home. I thought I'd share with you the changes I made.


He received his hospital bed a while back. The bed had metal and plastic universal end pieces which meant the headboard and footboard were the same height. While perfectly functional, it looked odd with the headboard so short. I wanted to make the bed look more inviting, like a teenager's bed might be and more modern so I made a few changes.

Here is the before picture. Note the dreary color of the headboard and footboard and the low height. Very boring.



I took the bed apart and painted the headboard and footboard black. I decided to create a faux headboard to create some height to the actual headboard. This was a tad difficult since I could not remove the headboard on the hospital bed since it was functional. I decided to create something to sit behind the actual headboard that visually would look like the same headboard.

My initial idea was to create a mosaic glass tile headboard in shades of yellow to match the spread. The goal was the one inch glass tiles would mimic the pattern in the spread. I soon learned that not only is it difficult to find glass tiles, but there was a minimum quantity to order. The most difficult part was that yellow was the hardest of all colors to make so the selection was quite limited. I never found what I was looking for so I went to Plan B.

Plan B involved creating a faux headboard out of bamboo. I spray painted the bamboo a gloss black to match the newly painted headboard and footboard and had Dear Son's Dad attach it to the wall. This creates more height to the headboard visually and allows the bed to remain fully functional.



Here is a picture of the entire bed where you see both the headboard and the footboard.


After I finished the headboard, I labeled the items in his nightstand.


I still have a few more things to do; reline his nightstand, swap out the knobs from pewter to shiny silver ones to match the side rails, but other than that, it's done. I wanted it to reflect Dear Son so the picture above his bed is one I took at the Arboretum last fall. Dear Son loves the outdoors and we love to walk there. At least now, it feels more like a room and less like a hospital bed.


What was most surprising was Dear Son's reaction when I put him to bed. He couldn't stop looking at the headboard and smiling. He got up at 4:15 a.m. the next day and was staring at it. Any time he wakes up and needs his diaper changed, he looks at it and smiles. That's the best part of any makeover. Even Dear Son can see that.

15 comments:

Becca said...

That looks absolutely great. Good job, Dream Mom! I'm not at all surprised that Dear Son likes it - I'd be thrilled to bits, too.

I do have to wonder though...

He does not sound at all like a typical intellectually impaired young person. Seriously. I know that his communication is very impaired, especially because he doesn't use his hands, but has he ever had an augmentative communication assessment to see if there'd be some technological solution for him? Volunteering with 1voice, a charity for families with kids who need technology to speak, I met children who operate their switches with not just hands but elbow, knee, foot, head, eyegaze, and even vocal cord (she would try to vocalise and the vibration activated the switch).

I cannot help but wonder and hope and dream that Dear Son might find something like that that worked for him.

Dream Mom said...

Thanks, Becca. He's had several augmentative communication evaluations over the years (we started at the Rehabiliation Institute of Chicago and also had other ones performed elsewhere)that started when he was quite young. He uses switches at school that he operates mostly with his head at this point (he has no use of his hands or arms). Many years ago, he was also able to use his left foot to operate switches. He's also had speech therapy many years ago outside the school system to assist with communication issues.

At home, he uses eye gaze (he stares and gives you these flirty eyes and a smile) and his left foot to communicate his needs; at school a combination of methods-eye gaze and switches.

His receptive language far exceeds his expressive language as you have probably guessed. I used to spend a great deal of time when he was very small reading and interacting with him, talking to him all the time and then teasing and trying to teach him why things were funny to help develop his sense of humor.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful touch to his bed - it looks really wonderful. I've said it many times, but I never get tired of hearing about your wonderful relationship with your beautiful boy. You are such a loving mom.

Jamie from Oregon

hlkennedy said...

I love it!! You and Dear Son both have great taste!

zoe said...

you are so cool dream mom!! you did a great job, but it does not surprise me-you do a great job thinking outside the box--always! I remember the very creative halloween costumes for dear son. I have been reading your blog almost since the very begining and what has always impressed me the most is that even in your darkest hour you seek out the positive. always looking for ways to enhance and enrich dear son's life. You give him opportunities to use the abilities he does have and I love how you talk to him and explain things to him. You are the very best mom to the very best son!! hope dear son is feeling better these days.

Lois Grebowski said...

AWESOME idea and execution...

Stacey said...

You did a great job!

Angela said...

Fantastic! You really created something beautiful -- I love the creativity!

I am so glad Dear Son is pleased too. He's got great taste!

jdkelly said...

That looks great I love it! Nice and sleek and very grown up.

Dreaming again said...

Beautiful! So very creative! I'm useless in the decorating department!

You should see my beautiful new house ...all white walls with nothing hanging on them!

Nada ...zip. I'm useless.

They are talking about sending my husband home with an air mattress, one that is used to prevent bed sores ... however, I don't know what that means entirely, will that require a twin hospital bed? Which means, what happens to our queen bed in our room, as well as the fact that we are a couple ..and well, ya know, we sleep (as in slumber) side by side ...

To them, they mention these things so casually, and they never stop to condsider the major changes they may mean to the family that's absorbing the changes.

At least though, after 5+ weeks, they are talking about coming home. And ordering equipment. Bipap, oxygen tank, walker, wheelchair, air mattress (bed?) shower chair, more things than I can count ....

Dream Mom said...

Dreaming Again-That's great that he's coming home. As for equipment, it can be overwhelming and a lot! Be sure to ask a lot of questions and talk to them about your concerns. It has been my experience that some PTs will suggest things without understanding how people really live. I've had them suggest things that are expensive that they deem necessary and I'll nix it if we'll never use it or it takes up too much space. The bed is a big deal-don't be shy about talking to them about your concerns.

If you have any other equipment questions, send me an e-mail and I'd be glad to help.

Kathryn said...

Dream Mom - you are a dream mom! What a great bed and what a great thing to do for Dear Son to ensure he feels at home and to de-emphasize the medical aspect of his life.

It's just so touching how you love him and care for him and how you are so in tune with his taste and let that dictate how you would do the bed versus your own taste. That is truly selfless and such a giving thing to do. I can see how your love informed your creativity and resourcefulness. Beautiful.

It makes me see that just because we have a lot of "medical" stuff at home for Ellie, I don't have to have things feeling like a hospital.

I am sure your heart bursts everytime Dear Son looks at it and smiles. What a great way for him to show you he likes it and appreciates your efforts.

Anonymous said...

Dreaming Again wrote:

"however, I don't know what that means entirely, will that require a twin hospital bed? Which means, what happens to our queen bed in our room, as well as the fact that we are a couple ..and well, ya know, we sleep (as in slumber) side by side ..."

I haven't slept,in more ways than one, with DH in a long time due to his disability. Currently one of our kids prefers not to sleep in his bed so DH uses it. I am seriously thinking about getting twin beds ala Ozzie and Harriet or any one of those 50s-60s sitcoms. But do you know how hard it is to find grown up twin beds? At least then we'd be in the same room. Sigh, you wait all your life to legitimately sleep with someone and then you end up in twin beds.

Dream Mom said...

Wow, thanks for all of the nice comments!

Kath said...

Very creative and beautiful!

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