Tuesday, 4 October 2016

The Shuffler Returns

The Shuffler was back today. Only this time she was at least 8 months pregnant, massively pregnant. She was very clearly not going to be able to do any heavy lifting. Her rate of motion, already nearly unmeasurable, has declined significantly with what looks like a pretty massive baby in her belly. I understand her challenge, having seen my wife in this state of pregnancy four times. I wondered to myself why the home care agency would send a woman at this stage of pregnancy to help a 260 pound man with personal care, including transfers and perineal care.

The first thing she said to me was that she could not do exercises, and we only had a half hour. I told her that all I needed was a bit of help dressing thanks to a painful broken foot. She then proceeded to bang my foot a couple of times until she realized it really was painful, and broken. Her comment about having only a half our with me had an impact on me, mostly in my bowels, the pressure to produce having the reverse effect. My toileting time was short and non-productive.

She and I do not like each other, or perhaps it is just me not liking her. I find her difficult to work with, slow to respond, and generally unwilling to help. She will see me struggling with something yet wait until I ask before helping out. I simply gave up and got dressed myself, with marginal help. By the time she responds to a request for help, my impatiences breaks through.

During my dressing process she seemed almost gleeful in telling me that she thought I "was gone", the implication being that I was supposed to be dead. She said "you told me that", meaning I had told her this disease was terminal and I had a limited life expectancy. I seem to recall her insisting that I was not going to die, that this was not a terminal illness. Now she was back and feeling righteous that she was right. I didn't feel like discussing the matter, so I focused on dressing myself with her as the solo member of the audience.

It is more me than her; I admit it. I become impatient the instant I see her. There is a substantial degree of relationship involved in having a Home Care Aide. This person sees you at your weakest, helps you in your worst moments. This person whom you hardly know sees you naked, dirty, struggling, exhausted. Two different people, both with the same level of quality in their work, can be very different in relating to you. Where one relates well, you forgive the failings. Where one relates poorly, their professional failings magnify, making things even worse.

When she left, I started to relax, I am clearly going to have to return to the toilet at some time today, making a solo excursion into undressing and dressing myself. On the other hand, that's pretty much what I did this morning.


  1. Hello Richard, Have you looked into a portable bidet? The type that just attaches to your toilet. We purchased one for my husband and it has been a godsend. Gives him independence in the washroom. You can order them online through costco.ca. Sorry about the Homecare Aide. We here in BC have the same problem of getting 'whoever' they happen to send. Thanks for the posts.

  2. I am looking at a portable bidet these days, and also a way to get my Toto to work. Plus I have a commode chair which gives me bathroom independence, mostly.