Saturday, September 21, 2013

Problem Solving

We had our monthly caregiver meeting the day before I left for California.  It was a good meeting and we addressed the issue of the missing Krok when I came for a surprise visit last week. (You can read about this at: 
Krok wasn’t singled out but the situation was discussed as a group and how important it is that Bob never be left alone – how if there was a fire or an earthquake or he fell ill that someone had to be there at all times to assist him.
Ketut Sama, the head of the team, had spoken to Krok privately. But in the group Sama told everyone, “We have to care for Bob from our hearts first. It’s a job second”.
Sama has been with Bob for four years and has seen the toll of the disease. He and Gusti, our newest caregiver, have also cared for others that, while mentally intact, were physically totally dependent on carers, including having to be toileted. These two are no strangers to poo – one of the hardest parts of being a caregiver.
One challenge here in Bali is what to do with the mountain of used adult diapers that seems to accumulate faster than we can deal with them. With some research we finally found a landfill that will take them for only a $1 per visit. What a relief! 
The total incontinence has been a trial in other ways as well - the daunting job of keeping Bob clean, having to deal with his smelly excrement, and showering a man who can no longer stand on his own. Fortunately the team takes these challenges on and finds solutions.
Since the tiny shower area in Bob’s cottage is too small to accommodate Bob on a chair and a caregvier to bathe him, they hooked a hose up to the shower and threaded it out the window and into the garden. Tropical warm Bali is rarely chilly but if it is they go to plan B and use a warm damp washcloth inside the house to wash him.
At the caregiver meeting Wayan Asa showed me a video he’d taken of Bob being showered. They'd seated him on the portable commode chair with the receptacle removed. They rinsed Bob off with warm water through the hose, soaped him up, and through the hole in the chair they were able to get to all the messy private parts.
In the video Bob raised himself up as best he could to help the boys shower him. He obviously likes this new arrangement and wants to help. By raising himself his bottom parts are easily cleaned. And all this in the garden – what more could a nudist ask for?
But watching this video brought tears to my eyes, tears for my husband being this debilitated and also tears at the tender care Wayan was giving Bob.  It really touched me that they came up with this plan all on their own – they are good problem solvers and I feel so lucky and grateful to have them.

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