Mayo Clinic Connect
As a caregiver I’m concerned about bringing germs home when my wife is discharged from the hospital. I regularly attend several public meetings per week where there may be from 20 to 100 people. How safe is this? Should I avoid public meetings?
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Hi @raanderson, you may have noticed I moved your post to the Caregivers group so that you can connect with other caregivers.
Are you comfortable sharing what your wife's diagnosis is?
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I have a compromised immune system due to Lymphoma treatments. My wife and I still go out publicly. We are very cognizant of where we go. In high traffic areas we keep our distance from others as best we can. We keep the hand sanitizer close by and use it often. (my wife’s motto is “wash your hands, wash your hands”) When we are at a venue where we feel more care is required like doctor or hospital appointments, as soon as we get home, we get a change of cloths, and wash our hands. In some cases, even take a shower. I feel that for care givers, it is important that you be able to do many of the things you did prior to the circumstances that brought you to the point of being a caregiver. I feel, though I am not an expert, you should be comfortable to take part in many of those meetings. I am happy to say in over a year, we have not brought an infection or bug home. (Be extra cautious in the up-coming flue season)
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@grandpabob Good points! I already have a compromised immune system, and my husband does also due to his antirejection meds from a kidney transplant. I am careful when filling up at the gas station [the state I live in has attendants who do the work, unless you are at the casinos], going shopping, etc. If I feel I need to mask up in a public area, I do, and suffer the raised eyebrows of others at times. Better safe than sorry. Your last sentence caught my eye. I was planning on becoming a volunteer for the local school for literacy, but the students [like every elementary school!] are germ petri dishes! May have to rethink that.
Liked by Becky, Volunteer Mentor
Yes, thanks. She has AL amyloidosis. She got her stem cells back Friday. When she is discharged (ca. 9/6), we will be staying in the hotel next to the hospital for two weeks. Then we will return to Tucson. I'm having our AC/heating ductwork cleaned this week to try to improve the hygienic condition of our house. I would like to hear any suggestions that may help when we come back.
@raanderson Remove your shoes when you get to the front door. Don't take them inside. Wear paper slippers if you need to. Mask up if you feel the need to, when in public. Wash your hands, often. Besides having AC/ductwork done, have you considered having someone come in to do a deep cleaning of the house [walls, ceiling, all appliances, bedding, furniture, etc] ? Let us know how she does in the next few weeks, we care here at Mayo Clinic Connect.
Hi @raanderson, such a great question (and responses from fellow members). You might also be interested in this blog post by Mayo experts:
– Hand Washing 101: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You https://connect.mayoclinic.org/page/transplant/newsfeed-post/hand-washing-2-0-what-you-dont-know-can-hurt-you/
Here are a few discussions where other members are talking about living with and caring for some with AL amyloidosis in the Blood Cancers & Disorders group (https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/blood-cancers-disorders/).
– Diagnosed with AL Amyloidosis. What can I expect? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/diagnosed-with-al-amyloidosis-would-like-to-hear-from-someone-about-what/
– Waldenstroms and amyloidosis https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/waldenstroms-and-amyloidosis/
Raanderson, I assume your wife is getting an autologous transplant. Correct? How is she doing after getting her stem cells back?
My wife got back her stem cells last Friday. Since then she has been feeling pretty poorly – lack of appetite, diarrhea, nausea.
I forgot to reply that it was an autologous transplant.
Thanks, Colleen, and to all the other helpful replies. My wife was discharged yesterday and we are now at the Residence Inn next to the hospital for the next two weeks, after which our next challenge will be living at home. I would like to ask anyone with pets how they deal with that. We have two young Australian Shepherds. They play vigorously in the back yard, where there is grass but also al lot of dirt and they can raise quite a dust cloud when they romp around the yard. I wonder what I can do to clean them up when they come inside?
Liked by Colleen Young, Connect Director, Becky, Volunteer Mentor
@raanderson I’m very happy to hear that your wife is out of the hospital and you’re both starting on the next stage of healing! I like the website links @colleenyoung put in her post, especially on handwashing. I might also suggest that you see if someone who knows your dogs, can take them for a good bath just before you get home. That way you’ll know that you’re starting with clean dogs! Also, maybe have some towels just outside the door so you can rub off most all the dust and dirt before they come in. I’ve been immunocompromised for over a year and my dog and all the neighborhood dogs haven’t bothered me. But, I know that you’ll keep all the neighbor dogs away! Best of luck on the ‘back to health’ journey!
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Thank you, Becky. I have another query: we stopped most contact with our grandchildren last winter. They are all in school and they are efficient vectors of disease. Our grandchildren all live nearby and use our swimming pool. We have a sort of utility room that they use to store towels and change clothes. My question is: since that room is connected to the rest of the house via the heating/cooling ductwork, is it safe for my wife to have the grandkids use that room? The concern is that airborne germs could travel through the ductwork.
Brush them. We had one and we brushed her everyday and she never caused dirt trouble inside. We taught her the command “wait” and told her to wait outside the door while we brushed her or wiped her feet in the case of rainy mud. And then said “free” and she would go calmly inside. They are a super intelligent breed and love to learn commands and perform. Our daughter taught her “search” and “basket” and every night before bed she would search the house for her toys and put them away in the toy basket for us. Nice!!!!!
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I can’t speak to the ducting of a heating system but I relay my thoughts on having the joys of grandchildren contact.
For me, mental health is a priority. Having contact with friends and family is important for my mental state. In regards to grand children, though they are out and about a lot and can be little germ bags (or vectors of disease), I feel they can usually be in proximity to me. The rules were and are simple, come visit with clean clothes, insure you are not sick, wash your hands when you get here. My wife and I have a very strong relationship, however we both need to interact with others to keep spirits up and those children are a great way to insure that happens.
Hope this helps.
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We also have pets. They are essential to our wellbeing. My husband has dementia and loves them. Our grandkids are grown, but we have great grandchildren. I spent time with our 3 yr old twin great granddaughters at a wedding shower on Saturday and it felt so good since I don’t see them often. For me, I need to make sure no one is sick and always wash hands after petting animals, before eating, etc. I’m 1 1/2 years post transplant.
Liked by Colleen Young, Connect Director, Ginger, Volunteer Mentor, Becky, Volunteer Mentor
@raanderson Hello, again and I’m sorry I’m a bit late. It looks like you’ve gotten some good suggestions from @sallysue and @grandpabob and @cmael ! I would emphasize the importance of grandchildren!! What has the transplant team told you? You might think of having a meeting with the grandchildren and their parents to explain your concerns. But don’t go overboard! Explain why coming over when they have a bad cold isn’t a good idea. And they should never visit with flu symptoms or a bad cough. If they feel like they can help, it will go better. The utility room shouldn’t be an issue. Just don’t leave wet towels for days at a time.
Could you get another meeting with the transplant team? Will you try the family meeting? Please let us know how it goes! We care!
P.S. Make sure your wife is involved in these meetings! And happy recovery to her!
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