Sunday, May 25, 2014

Caregiver Aids #18: The Hydrant

Hi, all! I see it's been 9 months since my last post. All is well here in the land of Cranky and Skip, except for the inexorable robbing of functionality that comes along with progressive MS. Skip's hands are weakening, slowly but surely, and she is no longer able to hold up and drink from a 12-oz water bottle topped with a sports cap. She's been using that method of drinking water for years and years. I found on a product called the hydrant:

As you can see, it's a large bottle you fill with water. At the end of the hose, there's a mouthpiece with a small cut in it. The cut opens when you bite down on the mouthpiece but otherwise stays closed. For Skip, we clip the hose to the front of her shirt. Then all she has to do is grab the hose and get it into her mouth to get a drink.

In my opinion, they're expensive for what they're made of -- about $25 on Allegro Medical and a bit more on Amazon -- but they're the only product of their type I've found. Replacement hoses are available for about $7 or $8, which is good, because we rinse the hose every day but don't want to wash it with soap as we'll never get it completely rinsed out.

Skip was resistant to it at first as she hates change and hated how it demonstrated growing weakness in her hands. Now she is totally comfortable with it and uses it both in bed, hanging from a rail, and in her chair, hanging from the back, similar to the second picture, above.


Muffie said...

Glad to see you back on the blogosphere! That water bottle looks as if it could be adaptable from other bottles. As long as you have the mouth clip and tubing, couldn't any bottle suffice? Planning any Red Sox games this year?

Cranky said...

Hi Muffie! The hook is also an important element of the hydrant. It allows us to hang the bottle over the back of Skip's wheelchair and the railing of her hospital bed. If we didn't need that feature, I'd completely agree with you.

We did go to opening day this year because we wanted to see the ring ceremony. Ironically, the traffic was so horrific getting there, we missed the entire ceremony and actually heard the call "Play Ball!" as we were wheeling up to our seats. We may go to another game in September.

Hope all is well with you.

Webster said...

Nice to read you again. I was just thinking (er, coveting) of your nice spacious condo. It pops into my mind quite frequently, actually.

The bottle looks like a great way to keep drinking. Just fill with desired beverage!

Hi to Skip!

Cranky said...

Webster - thanks for your comment. So funny coveting our condo. If you'd had to live through last winter here you wouldn't have coveted the cold or the utility bills!

crafty said...

Happy to see you're back, Crankster.

Cranky said...

Oh Crafty One - thanks! Glad to be back. May even start posting life updates ...

lightning36 said...

A post? My heart nearly skipped a beat.

btw -- I send you a message on facebook. Oh -- and I thought of you as the Cubbies were sweeping the Red Sox. : o )

Cranky said...

Light- yes, quite a hiatus there. Needless to say, the Sox are attempting to go "first to worst" this year after going "worst to first" last year.

I'll shoot you a response on FB in a moment.

Webster said...

Cranky, could you give some tips on how you transfer Skip. I am at that state where my husband has to transfer me, and I can no longer bear any of my weight, all 190# of me. He's not been working out for more than a year, and has gotten weaker as well, so lifting me is hard on him. Anything you can offer would be appreciated. Our house is too small for a hoyer lift, by the way. Much too small.

Cranky said...

Webster - when Skip could no longer stand and pivot to transfer, a PT told her about using a transfer board. We'd never heard of them. You place the board between the wheelchair and chair/bed/etc. Anchor it firmly under your butt and start scooting across it. The boards can be fairly inexpensive -- $35 or so when we bought them for Skip so probably a bit more now.

If a portable hoyer won't fit in your home, there are lifts that can be mounted on your wall or ceiling and take up very little room. I know surehands has that style, am not sure of who else offers them.

I hope this helps.

Robert Askey said...

My wife of nearly 22 years died from M.S. in 2009 after suffering from the condition for almost a quarter of a century. I was her primary care-giver.

There is still no cure for the disease and not really much in the way of effective treatment but the research through the M.S. Society continues. The problem with research is that it requires funding.

So that's what I'm doing. I am walking up the entire west coast of Scotland (approximately 500 miles) to raise money for M.S. research in the hope that someone else would have better chances than my wife did.

Please take the time to share my story. Thanks.