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Thread: dad with SCI recently home from rehab- question re home aides

  1. #1

    dad with SCI recently home from rehab- question re home aides


    My 67-year old dad is an incomplete T-9 following back surgery in Jan 09. He spent 3 months in rehab and came home last week. Although he has some sensation in his rectum and his bladder, he has no control over the function at this point. He has aides come to his house for hours each morning and night to help him deal with bathroom issues. My question is what can we expect for the long term? Assuming he doesn't gain back any bowel or bladder function, will he always have to have the nurses at night and in the morning? I am worried he is never going to be able to have a social life again if he is out of commission for 2 hours every night starting at 9 pm. Is there anyone else out there who started out with home aides at first but then was able to adapt to deal with bathroom issues on his or her own later one? Thanks for your help. This is a really great site that has helped me a lot over the past few months.

  2. #2
    Maybe he can get on a mourning every other day bowel routine? Its a good sign that he has the sensation you speak of, he may very well get some return. You should talk to the doc and pt's about getting him into an intensive exercise program, this will better his chances of recovery. Think about a FES bike, maybe there is someplace close by that he can work with a PT and do FES training?
    "Life is about how you
    respond to not only the
    challenges you're dealt but
    the challenges you seek...If
    you have no goals, no
    mountains to climb, your
    soul dies".~Liz Fordred

  3. #3
    Thanks, Curt. I was more wondering whether he will always need the nurses of if he will eventually be able to do the bowel routine on his own. He has actually tried an FES bike already, but he has not set up an exercise program yet as he just arrived home from rehab on Friday. Hopefully, he will get on some sort of routine in the next few weeks. I am glad to hear that you think the sensations he has are a good sign- that's what I was hoping. Thanks again for responding.

  4. #4
    Assuming your dad does not get any return. At his level of injury he will eventually be able to do bowel program on his own. My son is C6/7, he learned to do BP on his own but it is very hard for him because he doesn't have hand functions. Right now his PCA does BP for him every morning. For Bladder, my son can self-cath. as long as I set up the supplies for him.
    Good luck

  5. #5
    Thanks Timo. Good luck to you and your son as well!

  6. #6
    Your dad's injury is complicated by age. I am 64 and T10 for 39 years. I am independent in eveything from driving to shopping to house cleaning, etc. I agree with Curt that your dad's eventual level of independence will be tied to getting into excellent physical condition. I lift weights daily, push 1 or 2 miles on nice days or bike (handcycle). There is a lot of difference psychologically to having acquired a disability as a young man - at age 64 the adjustment is much harder but quality of life and independence will require determination to get fit. If he does this he can be independent regarding all toileting issues without assistance. In regard to bathroom issues, it takes time especially the bowel program - I had numerous accidents for about a year but finally established a working routine and worked for 30 years thereafter without ever having an accident at work.

  7. #7
    Just curious where your dad went for rehab and why he was not taught to do his own bowel care? If reaching is the problem, there is equipment (suppository inserters, digital stimulators, and cleaning devices) that can be used.

    It is likely that your father will need to do some type of bowel program from now on (barring a cure), but is is possible for most at his level of injury to be independent in this. Is he not doing his own catheterizations either?? He definitely should be independent in this.

    Just as a tip, he will have a quicker bowel program if he does it within 30 minutes after a meal, and does it on the commode or toilet, not in bed. Many people prefer to do morning bowel care so they don't have to mess with it in the evening and can have a social life. If he does not yet have a copy of this booklet, download it and print it for him:

    Can you get your dad on our forums? 67 is not too old to learn to use a computer if he does not already know how. My mother started at 72 and is now 81.


  8. #8
    Hi Hurley and welcome to the forum. Sorry to hear about your Dad. Sounds somewhat like myself. My T12 injury was back in July 2006 at the age of 67 then. I'm an incomplete and have the same issues as your dad. Lucky to be married and have a most helpful wife.

    By far I'm not as knowledgeable as most on this forum. But here is a test that can be done to see if the bladder and bowels are getting the signal from the brain. Unfortunately I failed the test. Bowel movements are a pain on a daily basis, so I scheduled every third day, works well for me. Catheter average is five times a day, sometimes more. Assuming the worst, unless your dad is physical capable of cleaning himself, he will need assistance sometimes in that respect. I do occasionally have issues that I can't take of. Bathing may be another factor. I have a shower (wife is there just in case) with a padded seat and grab bar. Only slipped slipped once and landed on my butt, ouch! No exercise for several weeks.

    Your dad should have had enough occupational therapy along with physical therapy in rehab. So getting himself around should not be an issue, (transferring in and out of bed, on and off the potty from his wheelchair). Providing he is physically able.

    Did he work? Will he continue to work? I do (semi retired) without any problems. Is he going to drive? Piece of cake, I use hand controls and have a ramp van.

    So there is no reason he can't have a social Life!!! I still get things done, just a little slower than I used to.

    Keep exercising to rebuild the functional muscles. I use a total gym, treadmill and walker at least five times a week.

    Keep the faith, things can get better and will. Good luck to your dad.

    Last edited by Dale; 05-01-2009 at 12:52 PM.

  9. #9
    Thanks to everyone for the helpful posts. SCI nurse, my dad is pretty good on a computer so I will suggest that he get on the forums. I don't know why the rehab center didn't teach him how to be more independent with regard to bathroom stuff, but I suspect it has something to do with his abs not being strong enough yet? Dale, how do you manage to go 3 days without a bowel routine, if you dont mind my asking? I think my dad will continue to work although he is semi-retired as well. We are trying to figure out how to get him driving but it is going to require reconfiguring a car because he is too tall for most cars on the market- that is a whole different issue though. It seems like all these little hurdles really add up in the beginning, which is why it so helpful to hear from people who have moved past it all into a more regular routine. Thanks again!

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Denver, Colorado
    Hi Hurley:

    My hubby was injured in 2005 and is a T-11 complete. He was 62 years old at the time of the injury. He has always done his own bowel and bladder stuff. Your dad can still be taught to be more independent. Don does his BP every other day and this seems to work well.
    It's really tough but it will get better... consider a van for your dad. Don is about 6'3" and his honda van seems to work well.
    It's great that your dad will continue to work...



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