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Old 12-19-2014, 10:06 PM
 
163 posts, read 111,348 times
Reputation: 536

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First off thanks for reading this, this seems like a great place to discuss an issue. Last week my girlfriend of a little over 1 1/2 years was involved in a horrible car accident. I won't go into details, but suffice to say it is going to take a long recovery and physical therapy. Until then she is going to be in bed most of the time and will need help with everything from bathing to dressing to helping her with hygiene issues. Now, I really love her and have zero issue with it and I have talked with her and she is okay with it as well and her family is on the other side of the country and she doesn't really get along with them anyway.

What I would like is some advice from the women here on some ways/tips on how best to take care of her with everything, especially where hygiene issues are concerned. Same with bathing her/getting her dressed, anything really I should note? Also, when she is finally able to go out for awhile she'll be in a wheel chair and if she needs to use the restroom what should I do? Ask a woman to see if the women's bathroom is clear and "guard it"? Or just see if the men's is clear? Ideally, if there were a family restroom it would be ideal but not all places have that, obviously.

This is a real tough time for her and I feel absolutely devastated for her, but I will do whatever it takes to help nurse her back to health! Thanks for any advice!
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Old 12-20-2014, 01:01 AM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
11,173 posts, read 20,521,276 times
Reputation: 26481
To get the house ready for a wheelchair, pick up any clutter and take up area rugs and throw rugs. Be prepared for the wheelchair to scrape up the walls, it just happens, and it can be repaired later.

Some of her care is going to depend on how mobile she will be. If she will be able to get out of bed and get to the bathroom on her own, that will be a lot easier. Otherwise, she may need someone to come in and help her while you're at work. If she can get out of bed but can't go far or fast, a bedside commode would be helpful. If she can't get out of bed, then having some bottles of water and snacks within reach will be a good thing.

She will need a chair for the shower, assuming she can shower (if she has several casts that might be difficult). You can buy the shower chair at Walmart, I bought one last year and it was about $30. You should also get a handheld shower attachment.

About the bathroom when you're out in public, at first limit trips to places with family bathrooms or one-seaters, to make it easier. If you have to take her in a bathroom, asking someone to check if the women's is empty sounds like a better idea, because everything in the women's bathroom takes place in stalls.

If she's not at all mobile and can't shower, you can buy disposable cleaning wipes, like baby wipes but usually larger squares. You can find those at Walmart too, in the aisle with walkers and other accessibility stuff.

It's hard to really know what she's likely to need without knowing what kind of injuries she's dealing with.
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Old 12-20-2014, 01:14 AM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic
25,095 posts, read 23,986,585 times
Reputation: 31007
I don't know where to start. As far as bathrooms go, I'd probably try the ladies room first. After all, we've had to take boys in there. Just go with whatever works. I've taken my elderly mother into the men's bathroom because the line was shorter. Just knock loudly and announce your arrival.

Menstruation might be a guessing game. Some women have a light flow, other women a heavy flow, and still others vary from month to month. A couple of times (weeks) when I was quite ill, I wore a Depend undergarment because I knew I couldn't get up during the night.

Indulge her food cravings (whenever possible) because it's one of the few things that will make an impact. When you can't get out of the house--food, literature, music, movies can make a world of difference.
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Old 12-20-2014, 01:22 AM
 
35,108 posts, read 40,315,638 times
Reputation: 62061
Quote:
Originally Posted by WorkingMan86 View Post
First off thanks for reading this, this seems like a great place to discuss an issue. Last week my girlfriend of a little over 1 1/2 years was involved in a horrible car accident. I won't go into details, but suffice to say it is going to take a long recovery and physical therapy. Until then she is going to be in bed most of the time and will need help with everything from bathing to dressing to helping her with hygiene issues. Now, I really love her and have zero issue with it and I have talked with her and she is okay with it as well and her family is on the other side of the country and she doesn't really get along with them anyway.

What I would like is some advice from the women here on some ways/tips on how best to take care of her with everything, especially where hygiene issues are concerned. Same with bathing her/getting her dressed, anything really I should note? Also, when she is finally able to go out for awhile she'll be in a wheel chair and if she needs to use the restroom what should I do? Ask a woman to see if the women's bathroom is clear and "guard it"? Or just see if the men's is clear? Ideally, if there were a family restroom it would be ideal but not all places have that, obviously.

This is a real tough time for her and I feel absolutely devastated for her, but I will do whatever it takes to help nurse her back to health! Thanks for any advice!
Is she going to be at home or is she going to a rehab facility until she is mobile?
If she is going to be at home I am going to guess that you will have to leave to go to work at someone so I suggest a home health nurse for the times you are gone.
As far as menstration goes it may a while before she starts again simply from the trauma to her body from the accident.
In public after she is mobile and in the wheel chair she will probably be able to take herself into the handicapped stall of the restroom but that one is a wait and see.

Our best wishes to you both for her continued recovery
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Old 12-20-2014, 02:21 AM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
11,173 posts, read 20,521,276 times
Reputation: 26481
About her period, just ask how she usually deals with it. If she uses pads and she'll be laying on her back in bed get the overnight pads because they're longer. If she's on the pill, she might ask her doctor about adjusting her pill so she doesn't have a period until she's more mobile. If you will need to change tampons while she's in bed, you can buy disposable bed pads or just put a towel under her while you change it, that would usually only be an issue on a heavy flow day.
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Old 12-20-2014, 07:20 AM
 
163 posts, read 111,348 times
Reputation: 536
Thanks for the advice so far, it's really great. She will be coming home from the hospital in two days so I am going to try to make our apartment more accessible for her. She is pretty much unmobile all around right now so she'll be in bed the majority of the time unless I have to help her get to the toilet or shower or what have you. Fortunately I work from home and only need to go into the office sparingly and I have talked to my boss and he said he'll help around this. Both her legs and left arm are seriously messed up and she only has decent range with her right but even that's not 100%. I actually was considering something like depends but wasn't sure if asking her to wear adult diapers would be considered too humiliating for her, I do want to help her retain her dignity after all. I do know she usually uses tampons but obviously pads would be easier and she is one that has bad side effects from BC and won't take any. When she is finally able while helping her get dressed with certain things like t shirts, skirts, panties is very easy and straightforward what should I know in regards to putting her bra on? Is it just line up and make sure their in and clasp or more to it? Thanks again for all the advice!
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Old 12-20-2014, 08:55 AM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
19,832 posts, read 56,088,639 times
Reputation: 19030
You got the bra thing! Easy to do. Show her the replies here so she can see what other women suggest. I suggest a waterproof mattress cover in case of accidents. She doesn't have to know it's there. Get one of the softer ones. You might have one already. Water bottles or Gatorade or whate very she likes, on a nightstand she can reach. Good luck.
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Old 12-20-2014, 12:33 PM
 
Location: Missouri
6,047 posts, read 21,669,443 times
Reputation: 5053
If you haven't already, please consult with the therapy/rehab team working with her, particularly her occupational therapist. They can provide you with hands-on training and answer all of your questions.
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Old 12-20-2014, 12:59 PM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic
25,095 posts, read 23,986,585 times
Reputation: 31007
Quote:
Originally Posted by WorkingMan86 View Post
Thanks for the advice so far, it's really great. She will be coming home from the hospital in two days so I am going to try to make our apartment more accessible for her. She is pretty much unmobile all around right now so she'll be in bed the majority of the time unless I have to help her get to the toilet or shower or what have you. Fortunately I work from home and only need to go into the office sparingly and I have talked to my boss and he said he'll help around this. Both her legs and left arm are seriously messed up and she only has decent range with her right but even that's not 100%. I actually was considering something like depends but wasn't sure if asking her to wear adult diapers would be considered too humiliating for her, I do want to help her retain her dignity after all. I do know she usually uses tampons but obviously pads would be easier and she is one that has bad side effects from BC and won't take any. When she is finally able while helping her get dressed with certain things like t shirts, skirts, panties is very easy and straightforward what should I know in regards to putting her bra on? Is it just line up and make sure their in and clasp or more to it? Thanks again for all the advice!
When I was fourteen years old, I nearly died as the result of an accident. Really, no one thought I would live. I realized that when my parents flew my brother home from Africa where he was working at the time.

Fourteen years old and never been kissed? I was embarrassed for about two seconds. After that, everything was just relief from discomfort. I have no idea how many people saw me naked or had to clean up all of the fluids I was discharging. They were angels of mercy to me and I'd thank all of them now if I could. I still remember the woman who would come to my room daily and wash my face, brush my hair, put me in a clean gown. Thank you for considering her dignity.
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Old 12-20-2014, 01:59 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
11,173 posts, read 20,521,276 times
Reputation: 26481
Don't even worry about a bra until she's feeling a lot better, unless it's especially important to her. In a wheelchair no one can really tell if you're wearing a bra, so she can just do what's comfortable to her.

A waterproof pad for the bed is a good thing, I use them on all of our mattresses even if no one is likely to have accidents, just because it's so much cleaner to have a cover for the mattress that can go in the washing machine. Also get a pack of disposable pads, if you have a Sam's membership they have a pack of 120 pads size 24"x36" for $24.

Diapers are more for people who can't control when they're going or aren't aware that they're going. As long as she knows she needs to go, a bedpan would be an option, or the bedside commode...you can get disposable bags to put in the bucket to make cleanup easier. Once she's able to get to the bathroom, you can take the bucket out and use the chair portion over the toilet for a raised seat and extra support (has the bars on the side that you can hold onto). I think diapers might raise the risk of a UTI. Also if she had surgery, she should watch for UTI symptoms. She might not feel any pain from it because of her pain meds, but fever or night sweats can be a UTI symptom.

If you end up cleaning her after bathroom use, always wipe from the front to the back...this is more of an issue for women than it is for men. Women need to avoid germs from the back half going toward the front.

You should measure the wheelchair and the bathroom doorways, or if possible, take the wheelchair home, sit in it and make sure you are able to maneuver it through all of the doorways so there are no surprises. When I broke my leg and was in a wheelchair, the wheelchair didn't fit through my bathroom doorway at all, which made things complicated. It was an old apartment and newer ones are usually built to be more accessible though.

Things your girlfriend will want on a table beside the bed: a lamp she can reach to turn on, you can get a switch on a cord that the lamp plugs into, to make it easier to reach if necessary. Her phone charger, with the cord taped to the tabletop so it can't fall off. A hairbrush. Chapstick. Small bottles of water for swallowing pills. Her medications. A book to read, although she shouldn't worry if she can't really focus on it like usual.

She's likely to feel more cold and shaky than she usually would, if she's broken her legs. I don't know why that happens, but it does. So having an assortment of warm snuggly blankets is good, even if she's the type who doesn't usually get cold.
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