My Dad’s A Goldfish – The OT visits

While the Goldfish had his post-breakfast post-shower nap I’d planned to try to get some writing done. Instead I had to wash his bedroom floor and the bathroom floor, both of which were swimming – and change his bedding.
By then, it was time to wake him for lunch. He had worked up quite an appetite during his ‘busy’ morning and ate a chicken sandwich, yoghurt and was still eating grapes and orange segments when the Occupational Therapist (OT) arrived. I’d made the appointment because the Goldfish was finding it increasingly difficult to lower himself onto the loo seat – and get back up again. There’s a grab rail already in place but it is no longer enough and I was hoping something could be done to raise the height of the toilet seat.
Of course, nothing can be provided until an assessment has been done. I have to say we have been very lucky in that whenever we have asked for help, we’ve received it pretty quickly – well, apart from finding someone to sleep over some nights.
The Goldfish is always happy to have visitors and, although he couldn’t really follow what she was saying he chuckled away at appropriate moments. He was slightly confused when she asked him to walk to the bathroom and sit on the loo, insisting that he didn’t “need to go.”
The OT had obviously decided to do a pretty full assessment so, apart from the toilet seat problem, she had the Goldfish sit and stand at the kitchen table, walk to the bedroom and show her how he got into bed. She was most impressed when he demonstrated how he sits on the edge and swings his legs up. She said: “You’ve got great strength in your core muscles. Not many people your age – even younger – could swing their legs onto the bed like that. Wonderful core muscle strength.” This amused him greatly, so he did it a couple more times.
We are now to have a contraption thing – I believe it does have a proper name – which fits over the toilet seat, making it higher. This should make it easier for the Goldfish to sit down and stand up, though it will take a bit of time to get used to it.
In the evening the Goldfish was awake though a bit ‘out of it’. He fiddles with things, though never with things he is supposed to fiddle with. I bought a fidget thing designed for people with dementia to bend and twist and fiddle with but he ignores it. In fact on one occasion I noticed he had stuffed it under his jumper; I think to hide it. Tonight he fiddled with an emery board – not trying to file his nails but to peel it apart. He also had a happy time applying hand cream to his hairbrush.

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14 thoughts on “My Dad’s A Goldfish – The OT visits

  1. Funny how in amongst it all, reading this latest entry, when there’s a strength, a positive, a compliment, a booster, an observed skill, your mind grabs hold of it and wants to amplify it. ‘Wonderful core muscle strength’. How great to find that in among lubricating the hair brush, taking an emery board to bits and soaking the floors. And how interesting that even in this state of affairs, when a compliment is given, it makes the person want to do the thing again and again!

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    • Yes, he always knew when there was a compliment coming his way. Even if he didn’t totally understand what was being said I think something about the tone of voice, body language, whatever, let him know something nice was being said.

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  2. Ah, the fiddling. Mom does that with safety pins and now with her nighttime meds. She doesn’t take them, she dislodges them from the blister pack, puts them loose in the little tin cup that holds them, and hides the tin in the sugar cannister or the nut bowl. We are going to get health services to begin administering meds… I bet she’d hide that gadget too.

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    • We sometimes found tablets secreted down the side of the armchair – and he could hold them in his mouth and fool us into thinking he’d swallowed them. The best thing we ever bought was a pill crusher which turned them all into fine powder, which got mixed into ice cream, yoghurt, cream.
      As for the fidget gadget, I sometimes wonder abut the people who design these things, supposedly for people with dementia. They fidget – let’s give them something to fidget with. I think if they really studied what they fidget with they might realise that the gadget wouldn’t serve the purpose at all. I can feel a rant coming on…

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  3. Too bad you’re not nearby. I have several versions of toilet contraptions in my basement. My mother used them for the last five years of her life and I am afraid to get rid of them in case Ralph needs one of these days. As usual you write about hard issues with a graceful acceptance that makes me smile.

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    • Thanks, Lucinda. I hope people do find it informative and useful. You are right about there being so many people affected – both the people with the condition and those who care for them. God knows what’ll happen to us when it’s our turn.

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  4. I often say to my husband, Charley, when we are waiting in the hospital for the next treatment, “What do all of those people with no advocates Do?” I worry about them being alone. I think more hospitals should have advocacy programs using people who have had personal experience with patient issues.Your dad is very fortunate to have you there for him.

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    • Claremary, thanks for your comment. I feel for the people who don’t have anyone to speak up on their behalf. I notice from all the WordPress emails popping in that you have been reading quite a few of the Goldfish posts. Hope you will continue to visit. Thanks again.

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      • I had visited before, but because there were so many bloggers in 101, I could only read a few of the entries and didn’t even know about commenting at the time!. Today, I started from the beginning and just finished. I am trying to do this with all of the people who have been so good to this new blogger. But the posts from your diary were so incredibly touching that I had to go from beginning to end and then back to the beginning to tell you how I felt. I’ve had a few care-taking experiences in my life and felt some of the emotions you must have been experiencing with each new part of your journey. Thank you, Mary.

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  5. Amen to the comment about advocates. When I was working as a psychiatrist I was always puzzled by the fact that the people who seemed to get advocates to speak for them were the most vocals who could clearly express their needs, whilst those quiet ones or not well enough to make a fuss got nothing. Perhaps somebody will come up with a better system, but like with the gadget, what might appear like a good idea might not have any practical use. I hope he remains in a good mood and you remain strong. ♥

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    • Thanks for signing up for my Goldfish, blog, Olga, and for your comment. I don’t know how they can get the advocacy situation right and fear there will always be people who slip through the net.
      I should explain this is a retrospective blog. It didn’t start out that way. I began blogging when I moved in but wanted to fill in the back story and then the Goldfish died. I wasn’t sure whether or not to continue but decided to do so and tell the story of our journey.

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