Showing posts matching the search for hoyer

Cancer Diary: Thank You, Hoyer Lift

  The Hoyer lift made life work for us when Carl came home on hospice. I had been told about it by a friend after Carl had fallen several times and needed help getting up from more than one neighbor working together. Had I known a little earlier, I could have saved the neighbors some effort and Carl some dignity. Actually, once Carl went on hospice, the hospice company provided us with the lift. (Their aides would not have been able to lift Carl without it.) Having it at home meant that we could move Carl from bedroom to living room and back so that he could spend his days with his family out where they were and where he preferred to be. The Hoyer lift, as see in the picture is a tall pole with a moving base and patient sling for lifting patients who cannot stand. There are at least four  kinds of Hoyer lifts : power lift (highly recommended for large patients with small caregivers) manual (less expensive and works find for average-sized patients and average-sized caregivers) ceiling

Cancer Diary: Late-Stage Cancer Diagnosis: Fast-Tracking Decision-Making on a Roller Coaster

  Earlier, I wrote about the two paths that erupted in front us when faced with a late-stage cancer diagnosis: to focus on living or to focus on dying. There are so many problems and so much confusion when told after a fall or a blood test or something else that seems otherwise innocuous that your loved one has advanced stage 4 cancer.  The worst thing about a late-stage diagnosis is time, or the lack thereof. Not just the time left for a cancer victim to live, but the time available to make decisions.  The first decision--to treat or go on hospice --is a significant one, and there is often no time to really think in through. From my own experience with more than one relative diagnosed with more than one kind of cancer at an advanced stage, there is an automatic, nearly instinctive choice made, not a reasoned one. Got insurance? Treat the cancer. Don't have insurance? Don't treat the cancer. Those are clearly not the most logical or even medically best or viable criteria, but

Cancer Diary: The Horrible Hospice from Hell

I have put off talking about this topic on Cancer Diary for a while because the memory is so painful. However, it did happen, and therefore it probably happens more often than one would think or hope. When it became time for Carl to go on hospice, we chose home hospice and looked forward to him being back home from the hospital with his family and having the support of professionals in our own.  Alas, that did not happen. Whatever could go wrong did go wrong -- and it would appear that with this particular hospice, it might have been regular practice rather than something going wrong. The easiest way to share is probably just to provide a list of everything that went wrong. (Any one of these might go wrong with any hospice, something caregivers should be prepared for. All of them going wrong is simply incompetence, uncaring, and abuse on the part of the hospice.) [In this list, Hospice C is the first hospice we worked with, the bad one, and Hospice B is the second one, the good one. Ho

Cancer Diary: Gripper Sox

  Carl , who died from cancer August 16, 2021 would love to see me wearing my non-slid slipper sox . He was constantly slipping as he tried to walk with his walker, unbalanced from hypercalcemia. He found these sox online; they are stronger than the typical non-slid sox (click the link above to get to the sales site), warm, form-fitting, and comfortable.  I was always slipping when I tried to pull him up from his chair after he became too weak to stand on his own. I was barely strong enough to lift his 275-pound body with some help from him, and having sox skid me along the floor because his weight was more than my bicep strength created a dangerous situation. So, he ordered me several pairs, which came just as he was dying. I never got to wear them. He was in a Hoyer lift for transportation at that time. After he died, though the need for super-floor-sticking no longer existed, I cleaned his drawer and gave his sox (too big for me) to my son and daughter, whom they fit. Out of curiosi

Cancer Diary: Focus on Living? Focus on Dying? An (Almost) Unwinnable Scenario and Two Different Paths Chosen

  In March, Carl was diagnosed with advanced stage 4 (metastatic) cancer of unknown primary. In August, he died.  When we got the diagnosis, we had to choose a detour from our normal life. There was no way to move straight ahead with life as usual because, you see, there was this big obstacle, called cancer, straight ahead. So, the question was to detour to the left and choose a treatment option, hope, and focus on the living or detour to the right and let nature takes its course, choose to accept the situation at face value, letting nature take its course, and focus on the dying. To fight or to surrender? There was no logical superiority of either path, not knowing what lay behind the cancer tree and how long was the path for it  continued out of sight. We decided not through reasoning but through conditioned reaction to fight. That is what we had done all our adult lives, as we successfully navigated life for four children, two with rare birth defects, and three grandchildren, two wi

Cancer Diary: The Importance of Ambiance

  When Carl came home from the hospital and was put on in-home hospice, we, the members of his family (my daughter had come from the East Coast with her family and my son had come from Sacramento), did our best to learn all about his medical needs. The kids had come home because it was clear the end was near, and we wanted to make sure that his time at home was as pleasant as possible, surrounded by family. We learned about the various medications he had been taking and would be taking. He was not able to communicate well by then, but he had quite an arsenal of regular pills that he took every day, and once he stopped being able to sort them out himself, we had to figure out which he needed when. He was also given new drugs -- morphine, which he used only a little of, and an anti-anxiety drug, which he never needed. With the morphine, instructions were unclear, and we guessed at amounts. Checking in with the hospice nurse, we learned that we were giving a 300-pound man the dosage that