Bedrest

Bedrest is tough! You are probably wondering how you are going to cope. Please be aware that it may take days or weeks to adjust to this dramatic change in lifestyle.

Organization is a key to successful bedrest. Every aspect of your life these next few weeks or months needs to be thought through and written down. Most of the things you did for your household will need to be done by someone else. You will need to figure out and write down who will do each task.

Basic Survival Tactics

  • Use a note pad to list the nonessential things you would like to have done by support people. They can then check the list regularly for your requests. This will help reduce the amount of verbal requests you make for individual items, and allow your support people to meet your needs.
  • Find activities to occupy your time. List every quiet activity you do or have ever wanted to learn, such as crocheting, knitting, needle work, organizing the photo album, writing to friends, reading about baby care, parenting, or that novel you never had time to read. You will then need to make a list of everything necessary for each project so they can be bagged and placed within your reach. You will be amazed how frustrating it can be to have forgotten to have a support person get you a pair of scissors before they left when you have your heart set on needle work. Other activities you might want to include are listening to music or the radio, or doing jigsaw or crossword puzzles.
  • Structure your day and week to help make the time pass. First, separate day and night: if you are restricted to rest in bed, you might fold back the sheets and blankets to the bottom of the bed and use another coverlet if you are cold. Thus, one is a “day” bed and the other a “night” one. Open your drapes during the day to brighten your room.
  • Continue your usual activity of personal grooming and dressing. In the long run, this will help you feel more human and prepared for unexpected visitors and events.
  • Divide the day with different types of activities to help differentiate morning, afternoon and evening. This can include rotation between bed, lounge, and couch. Mealtimes also become dividers during the day.
  • Plan more entertaining activities for the weekend and Friday evenings. As long as you remain on bedrest, you can entertain. So … you may need to entertain in the bedroom; your friends won’t mind and you’ll love the company.
  • If you have trouble sleeping, structure your pre-bedtime activity to make it different from the rest of the day. You may need to eliminate daytime naps. You may also want to try some of the old-fashioned remedies, such as warm shower and warm milk.

You CAN still be a productive member of the family, you just may need to be more creative. For example, store the peanut butter under the bed so you can make sandwiches, fold laundry, make out the grocery list, etc.

General Hints

  • Have duplicate house keys made and give them to close friends and neighbors, or hide a key so that they can let themselves in as needed. Encourage others to let themselves in after they’ve called to let you know they are coming.
  • If your primary support person has the type of job where you cannot always reach him/her, e.g., sales, driver, construction, etc., consider renting a beeper so you are reassured that you can reach them at any time. The cost is around $35 to $45/month with a three-month-minimum rental period.
  • Ask a family member, friend, or neighbor — or hire a local teenager or someone from a homemaking agency — to assist with house cleaning, laundry, errands, shopping, and meal preparation. The area you rest in the majority of the time is where the largest cleaning effort is often of most benefit. Resting in a somewhat orderly environment can be more calming.
  • Develop a method to insure you take your medication as ordered. For example, place a 24-hour supply of pills in a cup.
  • Make sure you have a phone within reach at all times. You can get a longer extension cord so that you can move from one resting place to another with the phone, or buy a remote phone.
  • Keep your address book with names and phone numbers by the telephone so you can call friends when you get the urge.
  • Write to all of your friends and family and suggest they drop you a postcard. Mail can become an event to look forward to.
  • Consider putting some lights on timers so they come on automatically at dusk (so you won’t have to get up).
  • Borrow or buy a TV with a remote control. If you have a VCR or DVD, watching movies can be a fun diversion.

If needed, hospital beds, over-the-bed stands and wheelchairs are available to rent through medical supply companies.

And remember, you will need to change your rest position about every two hours – side lying is best. While you are awake, you should empty your bladder about every two hours.

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