My first adult diaper change

After three relatively busy days of the long holiday weekend, I had decided that today, Sunday, would be a day of leisure, for the most part. I saved most of the laundry for today. And I wanted to take advantage of a day off to visit Mom. I have tended to think that visiting her in the morning is best. She seems to have a little more energy than she does after lunch. And I have had better luck lately finding her alone rather than with Mr. R if I show up in the morning.

Sure enough, she was sitting alone in the lobby when I arrived at about 11:25 a.m. Another resident was pushing a chair around and a woman was sound asleep on the couch. Mom sat in a distant chair by herself. I pulled up another chair and sat down, facing her. She smiled at me and started talking a little bit. I noticed something bunched up under her pants. I felt around a little bit and realized it was Mom’s diaper, pulled down almost to her left knee. I tried not to fret too much about it. We sat quietly, sometimes bobbing our heads to the jazz music playing on the sound system. I tried to hold Mom’s right hand but she kept it held in a clenched position for some reason. Her skin was cold to the touch but she didn’t complain about being cold. As we sat, Mom would stare off from time to time. At one point, she closed her eyes and I thought she might fall asleep. Her eyes opened suddenly and she said, “That was fun for her.” I thought to myself that she was saying that this visit was fun for her. I’ll never know for sure what she’s talking about so I tend to decide what I want to be going through her mind.

We sat together for about 25 minutes, and it was almost time for lunch. I encouraged Mom to stand up with me and walk to the program area so she could get lunch. She walked sort of awkwardly, what with her diaper hanging down her leg. A nurse greeted us in the hall. I told her Mom was losing her pants and she encouraged me to find someone to change her. I said I was going to try to take care of it if that was OK. “Sure, if you want to,” she said. “Look in the closet for her diapers.” Up until about now, I have always called Mom’s undergarments disposable underwear. I’m not sure why – I suppose I don’t like to think of her wearing diapers. And I certainly helped her change out of plenty of pairs of disposable underwear when she was still in assisted living, but also still able to use the toilet by herself most of the time. Now, though, Mom wears diapers that are attached just like baby diapers rather than pull-up disposable pants.

I coaxed Mom into her room. Knowing that she sometimes objects to being changed, I didn’t want to startle her by just yanking down her pants. I told her what I was going to do, and she seemed agreeable. I pulled down her pants and did yank on the diaper until it came off. It was heavy and wet. But I noticed that Mom’s pants were not wet, miraculously. I wondered if she had pulled on it to get the wetness away from her skin, poor thing. She stood with her pants around her ankles and I got a new diaper out of the closet and put it through her legs. And then I took about two minutes examining the sticky connectors because they weren’t, in fact, sticky. I pulled at them, trying to separate two pieces of plastic, convinced that I would have to do that to make the diapers stay on. Mom sat on her bed – and pulled the diaper out from under her – while I went into the bathroom and looked at the diaper in the trash to see how it had worked. It turns out the material on the connectors wasn’t sticky like adhesive, but effectively held when taped against the diaper material in the front. I stood Mom up and arranged it as well as I could and connected the back to the front as snugly as I could. And then I hiked up her pants and checked again that her pants were dry. She looked bunchy in the butt area but I didn’t want to risk making things worse by trying to reattach the diaper again. And then I washed my hands.

We went out to the program area and I encouraged Mom to sit in a chair at a table so she could eat her lunch. I put her bib on. The two ladies at the same table have been at the Alz center since Mom has, and one of them is not looking very good. Her head drooped severely and she seemed to slightly convulse from time to time. She was in a wheelchair after having spent most of the last two years using a walker. I had heard she has been having a rough time but haven’t seen her up close in awhile. I said hi to her but wasn’t sure that it registered.

I got Mom’s tray, poured her milk and cut up her pot roast. It was a Bonnie kind of meal – beef, small boiled potatoes and mixed vegetables. Instead of ice cream, she had a cup of vanilla pudding. Mom speared a potato with her fork and it dropped into her lap. While she picked it up and ate it, I used the fork to cut up her potatoes, too. She took a few bites before turning to dessert, sipping on her pudding cup. Seeing that she was nicely focused on her food, I decided to leave. I noticed as I walked away that she had started picking up her food with her hands. But she was eating, so it didn’t matter.

9 comments so far

  1. Gloria Mueller on

    I just read a few of your latest blogs. Thank you for putting your thoughts, concerns and true feelings in words. I’ve seen some downward turns at the care center too. Your mom was very peaceful and comfortable when I was there last Monday for a church sing-a-long and message. I don’t like this disease at all, and want it to disappear. Thanks for writing about the meeting you went to in D.C. Take care of yourself because the care you give your mom is outstanding and I love you for it.

  2. momsbrain on

    Oh, Gloria, thank you so much. I have such ups and downs and wonder if readers don’t care much for the downs. Despite the diaper situation, it was a good visit, actually, because Mom was in such a pleasant mood. I’m glad to hear you saw her having a good day when you were there, too. I don’t like the disease, either, that’s for sure.

  3. Megan on

    I can relate to adult diaper changes right now. I was dreading the day I’d need to wipe Mom’s butt, mainly because I thought she’d be mortified, but amazingly, when the time came, we both dealt with it just fine and it’s kind of matter of fact now.

    I loved this that you wrote:

    “I’ll never know for sure what she’s talking about so I tend to decide what I want to be going through her mind.”
    :-) I think this is how we keep our heads above water.

    Take care,
    Megan

  4. momsbrain on

    Hi, Megan-I have been lucky in the diaper department for the most part. But I volunteered to take care of it on this day because I thought I should just…do that. And not disturb the aides right before lunch, when they were trying to get everyone ready. It’s a loving act to help a parent with the toilet, no doubt about it. Hope you and your Mom are doing OK.

  5. jennifer jayhawk on

    Very real post.

    I just never pictured myself buying adult diapers for my Mom (which I have multiple times). I definitely never pictured myself, my brother and a home health care nurse teaching us how to do my Mom’s “irrigation” as we all crammed into a very small bathroom. It is definitely a loving act!

  6. Charlie on

    My name is not important, my mission is however key to enjoying senior life. I was told by my doctor way back in the early 1960’s that to laugh each day keeps you young and healthy. He believed that laughter was a important as staying fit, eating right and a good job in life all put together. I was younger then but decided to file that information away for future reflection.
    By nature I am a happy go lucky soul but sometimes life will beat you down. It is all too easy to get caught up in the daily grind, financial woes, family stress and job issues. In my mid fifties, I did just that, I had a couple major family issues and a major job issue all weighing on me. I lost sight of real life, the everyday joy of living and set out to work myself out of all my problems.
    My parents had reached their late golden years and were becoming a handful, my brother had issues he was confronting and my private business was barely breaking even. My response was to work harder and harder and spend less time at home, while out searching for money. When I was home, I had so many family problems to deal with; I forgot that very important lesson back in the early sixties. Laugh, enjoy life and live, it will do more for your soul than any other medicine man can invent.
    I suppose it was inevitable, one day I was selling a new customer, someone who did not know me from Adam. She watched me for awhile and finally commented, “You don’t look well, are you alright?” I of course smiled and assured her I was fine and finished the sale.
    Back on my way to the next stop, I was happy that I had just added a new customer with good future potential and was still on track to see my other customers. Not fifty miles down the road; I started having overheating problems with my truck. When I got to the next town I found a mechanical shop and he diagnosed it as a water pump and informed me I would be spending the night. After dinner, I called my wife and during our conversation I began to get a rhythmic stabbing in my left shoulder. I tried to ignore it but soon it was overwhelming. I called home again and advised my wife I was going to go over to a walk in clinic and have it checked out.
    Well the long story shortened was I was on the verge of a massive coronary, most likely fatal by all medical predictions.
    Major wake up call, I was lucky and only need a stent to fix the blockage and was advised to change my ways.
    Over the next few months I did a lot of soul searching and realized that I was taking on life’s stress in bucket loads. The first thing I had to do was to dump some stress. How do you do that?
    For me it turned out to be a simple decision. Start living my life again, enjoying the ups and downs and forget about trying to control everything. Because it can not be done, life lives you, and you do not live it. The best you can do is roll with the punches and seek out the positive side of every crisis.
    I reintroduced laughter and silliness’ into my life, I began to let things slide, like water off a ducks back and each day I felt a big weight become smaller. The bottom line was dying now or let life beat me up and enjoy the ride. I chose the ride
    I got through the entire crisis, somehow and my parents are in heaven, my brother is well, my business was a casualty but I still have a loving family and my health.
    Each day I make sure to search out the humor in life, the ironies and most of all the solution to that days furrowed brow.
    In this blog I would like to share my personal perspective on how I live life, so as to be around a good number of years yet.

    Today’s, story is rather personal but what the heck, I have already let you past the protective barrier of my privacy, so why stop now. I hope in some small way that my realizations can benefit some of you.
    A couple years ago I was working hard at my warehouse and had a big sneeze. Not an earth shattering sneeze but an unexpected loud nose clearing sneeze. Much to my surprise, I had an accident in my pants. I was both shocked that my body did not perform as normal and stunned that such a thing could happen to me. Mr. Football hero, hard, strong laborer and macho man had a mess in his pants from an ordinary sneeze.
    Now this was of course written off as a fluke, it can’t happen to me. Then it began to happen in other capacities as well. Straining to lift a box, swinging an axe to split wood and so forth. Well this was not acceptable; I am much too young to have any such problems. Well my doctor disagreed and assured me I was lucky to be problem free this long.
    Now when I left his office my inclination was to go into denial mode and go on ignoring the problem. Having a sense of humor I began to make jokes around folks my own age, about how dangerous it is to sneeze at my age. These comments all elicited laughter and understanding. I got the sense that I was not alone and we older boomers were sharing the same experiences. So I began to expand or refine my humor to include other potential senior problems,(do I really need to name them?) and found even more comradery in the grey community. I never had to spell out anything but the agreement and recognition on all their faces told me I was not suffering alone. Once again my doctor back in the 60’s was right, laughter is the greatest health drug there is.
    I have since gone on a quest to deal with my occasional problem and now when I have heavy work; I not only take along clean underwear but a diaper as well.
    A quick aside, as you can tell from my bravado, I am not about to walk into a supermarket and purchase adult diapers, so I went to the internet. I found a very user friendly site that answered all my questions and needs and ordered from them. What was nice is I did not have to dig through page after page of ordering crap to make my purchase. It is all right there, click a button and punch in my visa and I am done. Try http://diaperdispatcher.com
    So I guess my point in today’s lecture is laugh at life because it sure as heck is laughing at you. Enjoy the cherished days we have here and smile it may lead to a laugh.

  7. Cassandra on

    Hi, I just stumbled onto your blog. Thanks for sharing your stories. My mom has semantic dementia, and I write a blog as well. I am not in this phase of changing diapers yet with mom…I am still changing baby diapers! I am not looking forward to that day. :( Thanks for being open enough to share, it helps!

  8. Angela on

    My daughter is 15 and a bedwetter now for 3 months.i put her into cloth diapers and rubber pants[plastic pants] for the bedwetting and her first diaper change was during the night.i got up and checked her diaper and it was soaked,so i woke her up and told her she had to be changed.i pulled the rubber pants down to her knees,unpinned the diaper and removed it then wiped her off with baby wipes.i slid another cloth diaper under her,baby powdered her and pinned it then pulled the rubber pants back up.she told me she felt like a baby laying there while i was changing her and now she has accepted the fact that she has to be changed.

  9. Herb Cronenwett on

    I hope everyone will realize that wearing diapers is not a big deal! Just consider them thicker underwear. There are so people with more severe problems that having to wear a diaper to be able to go someplace is actually minor. I understand that it can seem like the end of the world if you have to wear a diaper but IT IS NOT!! Be grateful you are mobile and hopefully otherwise healthy.


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