My Dad’s A Goldfish – the contraption thing

What I thought we were getting

What I thought we were getting

I’m not sure of the usefulness of the contraption to make sitting down and getting up from the toilet easier for the Goldfish. It wasn’t what I expected. I thought it was going to be a loo-shaped seat type thing to sit on top of the toilet. Instead, although it does fit over the loo, it’s a large, clumsy bit of engineering with arm rests – and it doesn’t half complicate matters.

If the Goldfish only needs to pee, it’s almost impossible to get him to stand close enough to actually get the stream into the toilet bowl. This means we have to remove the contraption before he gets into position – and before we can do that, we have rather a lot manoeuvring to do. It’s not a big bathroom.
When the Goldfish decides he needs to spend a penny we process from the living room towards the bathroom. He takes the lead, pushing his walker while I follow behind. Once we reach the bathroom I have to remove the walker without making the Goldfish lose his balance. Sometimes, he doesn’t want to let go. I persuade him to hang on to the handrail beside the loo, while pushing the walker out of the way behind us. At the same time I have to remove the contraption from over the toilet so he can get up close. The only place to put it is in the shower area. This juggling is a bit awkward and timing is of the essence. If the Goldfish is in a good mood it’s do-able but if he decides he does not require the presence of his daughter while he answers a call of nature then it all becomes more problematic – and never ends well.

Freestanding_Toilet_Frame_with_Raised_Seat

This is actually a more refined model than the one we gotnds well.

If all goes to plan, when he has finished, the reverse procedure is no less complicated as I have to have the walker in place for the Goldfish to grab when I’ve manoeuvred him around to face the exit.

If it’s going to be a sit-down performance then we leave the contraption in place and once I’ve removed the walker, there’s the added complication of persuading him to turn round – which necessitates a risky bit of change of hands on the rail. Once that’s been accomplished and he can lower himself onto the seat fairly easily – once I’ve pulled down his trousers and underpants – I then retreat and leave him in peace and privacy until the job is done. However, I do have to listen very carefully and have learned to interpret the various sounds from the behind the bathroom door – so I can get in there to wipe. The Goldfish is good at pulling himself upright again – those core muscles which so impressed the OT.

A major problem which sometimes happens is when he is sitting down to move his bowels and decides he needs to pee at the same time. I’d never thought about such an occurrence before and questioned the DH as to how often this occurs when he is sitting on the loo – he gave me a pained look and declined to answer. Those of a delicate nature should look away now. There’s absolutely no way the Goldfish can direct the stream of urine into the toilet bowl. Perhaps once upon a time he could but his brain can no longer process the how-to so he just goes for it.
We invested in a plastic urine bottle but timing and correct positioning is vital – and we get it wrong more often than we succeed in getting it right. Frequent changes of socks and shoes are required and mopping of the floor. Sometimes the Goldfish laughs at the disaster; sometimes he doesn’t.

Once we are all sorted, zipped up and the Goldfish has a good grip of the walker (or has decided it would be more fun to sit on the seat and be pushed back to the living room) dignity has been restored all round.
“Ready for a cup of coffee?” I ask
“Nice.”
“Or a wee dram?”
His eyes light up. “Even nicer.”

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12 thoughts on “My Dad’s A Goldfish – the contraption thing

  1. Oh Mary, know the feeling only too well. It’s these wee things that drive us to distraction!! Did it for my Mum often enough to often wonder why bathrooms weren’t built like proper rooms.
    On another tangent completely, have just had another spell on a zimmer myself and the toilet was a nightmare for me too. Ours is very narrow and even though I have grab rails on the wall trying to spin round was like an Olympic event. I do not envy anyone in that predicament!

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    • Sorry to hear you’ve been having a bad time, Ruth – but love the image of you spinning round in the loo. Definitely could be an Olympic event. No one seems to have thought this through have they? I mean, you approach the loo but to be able to use it you have to turn round, which is bloody difficult when you are hanging on to a zimmer or walker for balance. Hope you are getting on better.

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  2. Oh, Mary. This is the part that makes me lose sleep. Hoping to have mom in a home before the worst of the bathroom stuff happens. So far it’s just cleaning off the toilet seat when she doesn’t clean her mess up. Which is rare, thank pete for small mercies. You must have a cast-iron constitution.

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    • It really is surprising what you can stomach if you have to. But your mum’s a long way from how the Goldfish was and you may be able to get carers in to help. Though how you get the parent to perform when there are carers on hand I don’t know. The Goldfish always seemed to wait until either I or Wee-sis was there.

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  3. I remember the toilet contraption well! My grandmother-in-law’s didn’t have the arm rests though like yours did. It was just raised a bit, like in the first image, to make it easier to load her on the seat. 🙂 And I laughed about you hanging outside the door and listening! I did the same thing! LOL! She wanted me OUT but not too far away. 🙂 Plus, she had this obsession that she wasn’t able to move her bowels, and I knew for a fact that she had been, since I was cleaning her up after… I don’t know what was up with that! She’d tell her Dr it had been weeks! -When of course that wasn’t the truth. I don’t know if your Dad would fixate over bathroom issues or not, but that was pretty annoying.
    I will say though that I give you a lot of credit helping your father in the bathroom. My grandmother in law of course was a woman, so it made it LESS awkward. You were a good daughter, Mary!

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    • Yes, it would have been less awkward with a woman! Dad did get constipated, mainly caused by the meds he had to take, and that was hugely problematic sometimes. I can’t remember if I blogged about it some time ago. It was before the stepmonster moved out. She’d stopped giving him laxatives because when they went to work he didn’t always make it to the loo on time so she let him get totally bunged up, which left him in agony, increased the level of confusion and could have led to worse problems.

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  4. “Ready for a cup of coffee?” I ask
    “Nice.”
    “Or a wee dram?”
    His eyes light up. “Even nicer.”

    Yes, nice, granted, but sooner or later these liquid lovely things have to come back out and it all starts again!!! Honestly someone should do a PhD or substantial research into the TOILET issues of the elderly or infirm. Contraptions and their use, pads and pants of all kinds, frequency of urination and defecation, maintenance of dignity. Not to mention the psychological business of it all. Isn’t it such a MAJOR part of growing older for so many people? Those are fortunate who can still walk, and still have faculties that enable them to know when they need, get to a receptacle, perform appropriately clean themselves and get out of the toilet again. In her last days, my mother stopped drinking as much because toileting was such an issue. Not good. Brilliant that coffees and wee drams could continue to the last. x

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    • I know, Janette. At the same time there is the fight to ensure they don’t become dehydrated by not drinking enough, which sets up a whole new lot of problems. People probably have done PhDs on such topics but what is written in the academic world rarely impinges on those on the ground working with elderly people. Bodily functions do indeed play a major part in the ageing process. When everything is working as it should we tend not to think about it – which is why it is such a shock to suddenly have to deal with it.
      As for the dram – even quite near the end dad could tell if he had been given a decent malt or was being fobbed off with a cheap suprmarket blend. Extraordinary.

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  5. Julie, for some reason I can’t reply to a comment more than once on this WordPress system so I hope you’ll see this. It was just to say well done on getting your mum to accept someone coming in to give her the meds. A definite win and a big step forward. Maybe in time she will be okay about having help with other things.

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