Old 03-09-2009, 08:37 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Saliva & Catheter

My father was diagnosed in December, 2006 with bulbar onset ALS. In just the last two months things have really taken a turn. All of a sudden everything is getting weaker including his legs and arms. He just switched from his own bed upstairs to a hospital bed downstairs and is really struggling. He is having a terrible time with saliva. He's up half the night sitting up trying to get rid of it. He already takes amytriptilene 2x a day, 50 mg. but it doesn't seem to be doing it anymore. He also has a bladder infection that is really kicking him. I'm wondering if anyone has any tricks as to getting rid of that saliva? He is becoming incredibly miserable. Is it possible switching beds, etc has created a certain amount of anxiety and is possibly increasing his saliva? I'm also wondering about the catheter. He has had a cath for about two weeks. What happens as a person is unable to leave the bed? Can a person have a cath for a long time? How does that all work? Sorry for all the random questions. This is all of a sudden getting to be too much.

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Old 03-09-2009, 01:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The saliva is a real stinker to control. I wear a Scop patch, and it helps, but the saliva returns when I eat anything by mouth. My saliva problem is not only volume, but thick drool.

My non-techie technique is to rinse and rinse my mouth, then wipe my mouth out with paper towels. Then I get the toothbrush, and can actually "pull" out the thick saliva. Then I bite on folded up papertowel for a few minutes. The texture of the towel seems to shut it off.

Another thing that helps is the BiPap machine. As I can't seal my lips, it blows air into my mouth, and that takes care of the saliva until I eat or drink something again. Also, I find the BiPap very soothing, so a BiPap break helps relax me and gives me a little energy.

These are Rube Goldberg solutions, but anything that half-way works is ok with me.

Can't give any advice on the catheter. I'm sure some of our more knowledgeable members will come through.
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Old 03-09-2009, 05:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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There has been some discussion on the use of BOTOX in some previous threads. Some folks feel that it did not help them. My wife tammy has bulbar and she can no longer swallow, anything, so drooling was a big factor. She goes every 3 months and gets botox injections directly into her salivary glands and this has reduced her drooling by 70% - 80%. They inject the 4 upper glands and they do not touch the lower 2. The Dr performs this in conjuction with an ultra sound tech as it's important to inject directly into the glands. The ultra sound helps identify the 4 very small glands and ensures proper injection. Works for her.
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Old 03-09-2009, 07:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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A person can have a cath for a long time. It has to be properly taken care of, but yes. My dad had MS and had one for a couple years. Hang in there!

Massage any red spots on the body that may be starting any bedsores. Use a lotion that is compatible with the person. Cover the heals, elbows, hip bones, with "sheepskin' patches to protect the flesh. Can be bought by the foot or yard or purchased at the drugstore. Cut to the size you need. Isn't actually wool, so it can easily be washed. Bedsores are more easily prevented than cured.
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Old 03-09-2009, 07:48 PM   #5 (permalink)
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How do you apply them and keep them on the pressure points you mentioned?
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als, anxiety, bed, bulbar, bulbar onset, catheter, diagnosed, father, night, onset, questions, saliva, work

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