Born with a rare brain disorder, my granddaughter
Stephanie is confined to a bed and cannot use
her limbs. Her meals come by way of a
feeding tube—from me.
I care for her day in and day
out—because I’m her grandmother—and that’s what I do. Since
she was an infant, I’ve been at her side giving care—and giving love. Now she’s
19 years old.
Stephanie recognizes familiar sounds
and knows grandma’s voice. But since she’s non-verbal, I can’t ask her
Still, I get plenty of feedback from
her. We have our own way of communicating. It’s pretty special. I know she’s
happy when she coos—she reminds me of a gratified baby.
When I hear her chuckle, it makes me
feel good. It tells me she feels good.
Stephanie loves music, especially
children’s songs. And she likes the cartoon, SpongeBob SquarePants.
Something interesting about
Stephanie—she senses my emotions. If I’m stressed, she knows. I’ve noticed how
her body language changes. Her eyes tell
the story or her little lips droop and she gets real still.
When someone relies on you 24/7, it takes unwavering
dedication. Keeping Stephanie healthy
and engaged is my purpose. Sure it’s hard work at age 64—but it keeps me active
Because of her swallowing difficulty, I’m like a hawk
watching over her and making sure fluids don’t accidentally drain into her
throat—which could be fatal if it travels into the lungs.
You can imagine the challenge of rinsing her mouth
after we brush teeth.
A while back, Stephanie was in the hospital. That’s
when I noticed an interesting tooth brush connected to her suction machine. I
was impressed because it prevented water from draining into her throat.
This suction-type toothbrush is designed for
people who cannot spit (or expectorate) or for anyone with difficulty
Eventually, I found out what the nurses were using—a
Sage brand known as a Toothette®
Single Use Suction Toothbrush System with Perox-A-Mint® Solution.
I figured it would be a great product at
home. And I was right. It helps reduce
fluids from accidentally draining into Stephanie’s throat when we brush her teeth.
Something else—it’s easy to use. I just hook the toothbrush up to her suction
machine—and now rinsing is a breeze—the suction takes care of it.
Having the Toothette Single Use Suction Toothbrush
is a necessity. I’m really pleased with it and so glad we found it.