Incontinence. I hate that word.
I've known from the beginning that incontinence is part of the disease. But four years ago, it was hard to imagine that it could actually happen to my mom. I thought maybe it would skip her, or only happen in the very last weeks of her life. In fact, I prayed that when the incontinent phase did hit full swing that the end would come quick. Nobody should have to suffer like that. My dad was optimistic that maybe this phase would pass over her altogether.
Mom's incontinence started in October, but it was sporadic. She might go a few weeks without a single accident and then have accidents two or three days in a row. It's easy to say to put a diaper on her, but much harder to do. Over the past couple of months, there have been a few times that we have had to put diapers on her because on that given day she was continually wetting herself. Once she was dry for a day or two, dad would put her back in regular underwear to preserve whatever amount of dignity was left, for as long as possible.
Unfortunately, over the past two week, the incontinence has been an everyday occurrence which has resulted in Mom's use of diapers on a daily basis. It breaks my heart, yet I've known it was coming. I've expected it. I think up until a couple of weeks ago, my dad was still hoping we could bypass the constant use of diapers. Putting the diapers on mom has eliminated a lot of mess and stress of cleaning up some pretty messy accidents, but there are downsides to diapers, aside from the obvious (losing one's dignity). Today, when I bathed mom, I discovered red bumps on her bottom. I couldn't but let out a little cry when I saw them.
"Oh mom, you poor thing," I said, as she stepped into the shower.
My maternal instincts set in and I felt pained and saddened when I saw her bottom. Poor dear must be miserable! Even though we try to stay on top of things and change her when she's wet, she's still developed a rash. I didn't have any desitin on hand to treat it (I'll be making a run to the pharmacy here in a bit!), but my dad did have cornstarch in his cupboard. Linda, our caregiver, suggested we try it and I remembered how I used to use cornstarch for my babies whenever they had a bad diaper rash. After I cleaned her up, I put some cornstarch in the diaper. Tonight my dad will try desitin (or whatever the pharmacist might recommend!!) Hopefully with persistent changing and cleansing, it'll clear up quickly.
But, I'm sure this is just the beginning. I've read the horror stories of others who have been there already: diaper rashes, bed sores, frequent UTI's...I suppose it's just the next step in the disease. But it sucks all the same :/