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What to do about incontinence?

Posted by jannie (My Page) on
Mon, Jan 30, 12 at 8:56

My husband has multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosed about 15 years ago, he is now 65. Recently he developed urinary incontinence. He routinely wets the bed. We tried getting a male urine bottle so he can use that when he gets "the urge". But he regularly dribbles on the carpet and wets the bed. A real smelly situation. I moved out of our bedroom when I had kidney transplant surgery. I have asked him to please wear an adult diaper at night. He refuses "I'm not a baby". Well our room stinks. He said "So get the carpet cleaned". He does not recognize he has mental impairments as well as physical. His neurologist says he has "MS with Alzhymer's-like symptoms". He takes Aricept, a known treatment for Alzhymers. He uses a wheelchair around the house. Can no longer drive. I had to steal his car key and hide it to keep him from driving. The problem now is that horrible odor. I just can't keep on top of the cleaning. I wash the sheets and blanket at least once a week. He changes underpants every time he wets himself. How do I get a grown man to wear a diaper? I am at my wits end and have told him I will NEVER move back into the bedroom with him.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: What to do about incontinence?

Stop thinking of it as an "adult diaper." He's programed to think of diaper as a baby thing.

Look at the displays of adult underwear for the dribblers at your pharnacy or super market. Some of the ones for men look a lot like ordinary briefs, colors and patterned.

Gradually remove his regular underwear and replace it with the disposible kind. At some point, we hope it will willingly use it.

Do you ask him to help you in the clean-up? Yes, I know he probably can't, but if you ask him to help, it might get to him that there is a problem that you are having trouble handling by yourself. If he refuses, then ask him for his advice. Maybe you can get him to see that it's also YOUR problem.

Did you get the carpet cleaned? Can you just take it up? Carpets and incontinence don't go together well. Bare floors would easier for his wheelchair too.

RE: What to do about incontinence? posted the same concern and received many responses in late December. What's changed?

He has lost control. You must take control.

RE: What to do about incontinence?

Yes, just after I posted I saw my post and answers from December. Maybe I'm the one with memory trouble. Anyway, his health has gone steadily downhill since his MS diagnosis in 1998. He is now bedridden. I will try to convince him to use the pull ups, in fact I think I'll remove all his underpants and telll him "You have to wear something" and give him a nice looking Depends. And I've vowed to remain out of our bedroom and not clean his messes anymore. I'll tell him I just don't have the strength. After all, I had kidney transplant surgery January 13. My doctors would be shocked if they knew I was touching his urine and feces. I've been told I am very prone to infection now that I'm on anti--rejection medications for life! And he refuses to let me get him a home aide. Even thought we found over $14,000 in a "hidden" bank account.

RE: What to do about incontinence?

I don't see any possible resolution to what you've described other than to impose your will and hope for acceptance. Whether it can be accomplished easily or with difficulty is almost beside the point. You've described an intolerable situation. He must be compelled to cooperate in a new regimen of management.

RE: What to do about incontinence?

I hate to say this, but with your health concerns, maybe it's time to think of Nursing home care for him.

I know it's expensive, so, maybe you should look into Medicaid help for him. Some States have a speicial funding available for families such as yours. It's time to check into this as the time may come when he has to be placed in a hurry.

Remember that if you destroy your health, both of you will suffer. You MUST take care of yourself.

Addendum to previous.........

"He is now bedridden."

I missed that part. Now leaning toward agnespuffin's point of view.

RE: What to do about incontinence?

Thanks for all the help. One thing I have on the back burner is he is a Vietnam Vet. We have both a VA Hospital and VA home close by. DH has asked me several times to take him to the VA for a new wheelchair. Maybe if I can get him there I can find a way to get him into a daycare program or formal nursing home. thanks for all your answers! They have been helpful!

RE: What to do about incontinence?

Jannie, let me add my voice of concern too. You are not physically able to continue with this situation as it now exists. You've got to have the time to completely heal and get your strength back. In addition, you must live in a clean and sanitary environment in order to avoid infection and sickness.

That said, your husband's objections to pull ups, etc. really don't matter any more. There are all kinds of special mattress covers, special undergarments, etc. that you could buy. But the bottom line is that even with the best products, you'll still be stuck with a lot of cleaning and laundry. More than just normal loads. As his health deteriorates, you'll have even more to do.

You must take action now. You really need some help in the house, and you should be investigating a nursing home. And, above all, you must take care of yourself. If you wear yourself out, then there won't be anyone to manage your husband's care. If you have help at home or he's placed in a skilled nursing facility, you may not be doing the care yourself, but you will be overseeing it. However, if you become ill or weakened, he'll be at the mercy of strangers. Maybe knowing that will help him realize he needs to cooperate with you.

RE: What to do about incontinence?

Oh, jannie don't risk your life by going into his bedroom without mask & gloves.

VA Hospitals offer a couple of weeks of Respite Care, which I was told by VA Social Worker, can be used all at once or a week at a time. Call Social Worker at the VA hospital -they will help. Aslo, every County has a VA Service Officer with office at County Courthouse -very helpful if your DH's condition is service connected. Most are only there one day a week & you can find out which by calling. BTW, did you get e-mail I sent earlier about a brand of adult pull up diapers I found mentioned on this forum?? They really work! Not only do they hold the urine, but there is NO odor plus they contain antibacterial to keep skin irritation @ zero. I also buy disposable bedpads by same mfg. that do the same as above. Pullups are a couple of cents more than Depends - with free shipping, they're cheaper by far than changing sheets 2-3 times a day & wearing myself & the washer out doing 40-60 towels a week and going crazy trying to keep the house from smelling like a 10 day old uncovered diaper pail. You might want to ask his Dr. about TEXAS CATHETERS. LMK if you want more info.

RE: What to do about incontinence?

Jannie, who took care of your husband while you were hospitalized? Could they help again? Making arrangements for a nursing home may take a while, and you need help now.

Although you say your husband is bedridden, you also mention that he changes his own underpants when they are wet and that he gets around in a wheelchair. You also hint at bowel incontinence. Who cleans him up after accidents? With your medical condition, you should not be dealing with these kinds of situations. And if he's exhibiting the stubbornness of dementia, he will never become cooperative.

Adult day care may give you a few hours of respite, but you'll still be taking care of him all by yourself the rest of the day and night. (I know when we had caregivers come to our house to help me with my mother's care, she invariably had a hideous accident about an hour after they left. One time I spent almost six hours cleaning her up, the carpeting, the bedding, her clothing, and wiping down the entire guest bathroom. It didn't take me long to realize that I couldn't keep it up.) My point is that you probably need to accept the inevitability of a nursing home and start planning ahead.

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