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Thread: MS..How do you get in/out of bed?

  1. #1
    Senior Member willingtocope's Avatar
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    MS..How do you get in/out of bed?

    I'm sure this affects a lot of folks with SCI and related problems, but since I've got MS (they tell me), I thought I'd start here.

    My legs are spastic. I can "shuffle" along with a walker, but stairs or even two inch thresholds are out of the question. I simply can't voluntarily bend my knees. So, is there some trick to getting in and out of bed without help?

    I've worked out a routine...but it wears me out. I've got a "stripper" pole along side the bed.

    To get in, I lean against it, and hook my cane under my right foot. I lift my right foot off the floor with the cane, and lever my right knee onto the bed...I have to be sure to get the knee at least 8-10 inches onto the bed, or I'll slip off (last time I missed, the parametics picked me up off the floor). I then have to move the cane back onto the floor out of the way, and I then I do a sort of organized flop onto the bed which swings my stiff left leg onto the bed. If I've done it right, both feet are on the bed, and I can rest a minute until I can scoot over and then under the covers. If I've flopped wrong, I have to struggle to move my stiff legs until my feet are on the mattress.

    To get out, I have to rotate myself to get my legs pointed off the edge of the bed. First problem is to get my feet out from under the covers. Usually, my left toes get stuck, and I have to fight to get them free. Then, I have to crab shuffle my legs sideways until I swing my legs around. Positioning is everything. I have to keep at least 6 inches of my calves on the bed...if my knees extend off the bed, my legs won't bend and I wind up sliding to the floor (another visit from the parametics). I use the spindles on the headboard to help me rotate, and then to help lift my upper body to the point where I can grab the pole, and pull myself into a sitting position. If everything has worked right, my legs droop down and my feet hit the floor right up against the bed. I can then use the pole and my cane to stand up.

    Needless to say...both of these routines tire me out.

    Any one have an easier method?

  2. #2
    It sounds like you need a few sessions with an experienced physical therapist who can help you find and master a safer way to transfer. You are also at risk for osteoporosis with your MS, and sooner or later are likely to break a bone (or worse) in one of these falls. You may do better with a slide board transfer or "scoot" technique.

    Also, if your spasticity is interfering with safety like this, you should discuss spasticity control medication adjustment with your neurologist or physiatrist.

    As my mother's PPMS progressed, she went from doing a standing pivot transfer on her own, to one with assistance, then a "quad" pivot, and now uses a mechanical lift (usually a ceiling track lift) exclusively.

    (KLD)

  3. #3
    Senior Member willingtocope's Avatar
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    Taking Klonupin & Zanaflex already. Baclofen didn't help at all. We're 75 miles away from an MS specialist, so meds are basically handled by me finding something on the internet and asking my small town PCP if we could give it a try.

    I need to do this from/to a standing position, so sliders are out. Sit on the edge and pivot might get me in, but I'm concerned that my legs will or won't bend at the wrong time. Wife has problems of her own (which she could probably fix IF SHE'D JUST GO SEE A DOCTOR), so she's not much help.

    I realize I'm a lot better off than most folks and I'm just looking for ways to keep on keeping on. I'm 66, but still working...primarily for the insurance. I use a wheelchair at work, and with the help of the state vocational rehab, bought a wheel chair van 6 months ago.

    Our house is another matter. When we bought it 4 years ago...I had no symptoms. (Do you suddenly develop SPMS at 64?) The voc rehab folks would once again help with making it wheelchair accessible, but that would take extensive remodeling. So, can't get the wheel chair in the bedroom.

    There is a good private rehab clinic in town...I guess I should give them a call.

  4. #4
    I think calling the rehab clinic would be the best way to go. There might be some adjustments to the height/firmness of your bed that would make getting in and out of it easier, and an experienced PT or OT would know about those things (in addition to being able to evaluate your physical capacity).

    Good luck with this, I know what a problem it is. As KLD days, with progression of MS we need to tweak and update our "workarounds" - so it would be good to have a local PT/OT who can work with your specific situation (someone familiar with your trajectory, so to speak).

  5. #5

    Maybe one of these?

    Here's a few things I found. I realize this is a pretty old thread, and don't know if they'd be helpful - but thought I'd post anyway.

    http://www.mtsmedicalsupply.com/pages/HCPSRS.cfm A bedrail/transfer bar that can go at a 90 degree angle to the bed to help provide support.

    http://www.mtsmedicalsupply.com/pages/security_pole.cfm Similar to what you have now, but with swiveling grab bars on several levels that might work better for pulling yourself up from bed.

    http://www.mtsmedicalsupply.com/pages/6040.cfm Basically this is a rope with a loop at the end to use in moving your legs on/off the bed. You could probably make one almost as good at home - then again, it's not very expensive.

    http://www.mtsmedicalsupply.com/pages/980.cfm This is a low friction pad that goes on the bed and makes it easier to spin around when getting in/out of bed.

    http://www.mtsmedicalsupply.com/page...et-support.cfm This is a blanket support to hold the blankets up, off your feet. That way, you might be able to get your feet out easier.

    I'm sure similar products are made by other companies. These are just the ones that sprang to mind from your post.
    Last edited by PhoenixFiresky; 04-26-2011 at 08:29 PM. Reason: Add an item

  6. #6
    Senior Member willingtocope's Avatar
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    PhoenixFiresky: Thanks for the links. I've looked at all those things, except for maybe the slippery pad, and not sure they would help. I'm built kind of strange, and have problems getting leverage to move my legs around. I'll check out the site to se if there are other possibilities....

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