I received so much advice and help for the three years I was trying to help my younger brother as he and his wife cared for my elderly father from all of you. I had Dad's POA and was Co-Trustee of his Trust, but they were the caregivers and it wasn't always easy for them. I found help in here that was invaluable, and though Dad passed a year ago, I've still been popping in from time to time to maybe help others.
Now I'm here asking advice once again, this time for my older brother whos marriage has entered an altogether different stage. He's become a caregiver now to his wife. She's 69, overweight, and has been very inactive since she had knee replacements about 8 years ago. A few months ago after a lengthy battle with a sore on her foot, she ended up having one of her legs amputated below the knee. She was 2 weeks in Medical Rehab and nearly 5 weeks in a nursing home rehab. Wound care was, sadly, unsuccessful and she had to go back into the hospital where they amputated the leg further up, above the knee and was given 2 more weeks of medical rehab and 5 more weeks of nursing home rehab (at least I think that's what it was).
Barely a week after she got home, she was taken in for evaluation of her 2nd leg, where, it was tragically concluded, also had to be amputated. A week later they removed her 2nd leg, above the knee. She was 3 weeks in the hospital and was sent home just before Christmas, stating that there was no further help they could give her, that she was out of Medicare. Multiple weeks in rehab used from the 1st amputation and the followup complications and the 2nd leg surgery and rehab in the hospital, had eaten it all up.
Now my brother, who has his own issues, is dealing with his wife, who has no legs, being home. She is larger then he is, so he can't lift her. Medicare did pay for a Hoyer lift, however, thought they were trained on an electric one in rehab they were only allowed a manual lift for home, which is a struggle for my brother to use. Medicaid further turned down their request for a power wheelchair.
My brother, who is a simple guy, is not adept at using the computer to find information that might help, and my sister in law isn't in a good place right now. I'm sorry to say I'm afraid to talk to her...she and I have never been close. They live in another state and I know that she resented that Dad put me in charge of his affairs rather then my older brother. I just don't know what to say to her. I feel like such a coward. How do you say, "so sorry about your losing your legs" to someone you know isn't keen on you in the first place. Heck, how do you say it to anyone, friend or foe?
But I so want to help my brother with encouragement and any advice I can give. He isn't up to handling something like this, which is why my dad put me in charge of his affairs. Has anyone here ever deal with such a situation? Any ideas, suggestions, websites to visit? Any help at all will be greatly appreciated.
Also, The Amputee Coalition look like good places to start.
I'd offer to fight with Medicaid, just for starts. The request for a power wheelchair has to be worded just right, and has to do with in home, not outside the home independence or something. Someone will be along who knows about that.
I'd write SIL an email or note that says something supportive like, I'm so sorry for your recent medical issues and long stints in rehab, I'm sure it's good to be home, and send along a nice plant.
I really don't have good answers. Maybe just listening to your brother, be somebody he can express his worries and complaints to, would be the best help.