It's been a little over a week since Gary had another fall. It's about the sixth time since we moved here two years ago. He doesn't get injured in the falls because I'm always there to break the fall, but can't always lift his dead weight to avoid it when he starts going down. This last time, he waited until right after his caregiver left to inform me he needed to use the toilet. She had let him sit and watch t.v. for several hours while she did some dusting and cleaning floors and then did his leg massage, so he hadn't napped and was very tired. I knew it would be a difficult transfer to his wheelchair to get him in to the bathroom, but tried to talk him through it. His brain was in the "OFF" position and he wasn't getting it - so instead of pushing up and over, he pushed up and straight forward going head first toward the floor. The full force of his weight was too much for me to get him back down in the chair and I ended up lowering him to the floor. Once he is on the floor, he is like a fish out of water, especially when he's tired and the brain is in the "OFF" position. There was no getting him back up on my own.
I spent a good half hour trying to move him back toward his recliner chair so I could at least sit him up and let him lean against it - he pushed back too hard and moved the chair out of the way, so that wasn't working. He still had to go to the bathroom and we had already wasted time trying to make him comfortable until I could get help. I tried to call a neighbor who was home but they weren't answering the phone - probably both sleeping since they work evening and graveyard shifts. I called the non-emergency number for the fire department and while they have been very responsive in the past, this time they were out on an emergency call and had another lift assist after that. We could have waited as much as an hour or more for help from them. I put us on the wait list but continued to try to find a neighbor to help out. An hour and a half wait could have resulted in one big mess to clean up if he had to wait that long to use the toilet. I finally texted another neighbor and asked if anyone was available to help me get Gary up off the floor. She responded immediately "I'm on my way." Between the two of us we used the gait belt and tried to move him closer to the television stand (something sturdy that he could grab hold of), but he was determined to do it his way and kept trying to raise up and on to his power chair. Nothing I was saying was registering in his brain - it was Gary's way, or no way at that point and we finally got his butt on the chair where he could use the arm of the chair to push up the rest of the way, but not without straining a muscle in his lower left side (good side). I thanked the neighbor for helping and immediately got him into the bathroom and with the assistance of the grab bar on to the commode in the shower area. I didn't feel the strain in my own back until later when I tried to put him to bed for the night and he could do absolutely nothing to help so I got the full brunt of his weight getting him from his power chair and on to the bed. I gave him some Aleve for his pain, but was afraid if I took anything for my own pain I wouldn't wake up if he yelled at night when he had to urinate. Vicious cycle !!
In the past week, his back has been healing with help from the Aleve and using the shower massage on it when I shower him and the massage cushion when he's on his recliner. Mine, however, hasn't improved a whole lot and now I'm faced with either trying to find a place to put him while it heals or possibly long-term care for him as I'm getting too old and out of shape to do all the lifting without his help. Today we are headed to Chandler to check out a Memory Care facility and see what they have to offer and if they will "break the bank" in order to get the care he needs. Not looking forward to it, and already feeling like I've failed him - even after 15 years of caregiving for him on my own. I know I shouldn't feel that way, but I think it's a natural reaction. Will blog again when I know more......