From the forum: Four years of fighting with a duvet

pillow laying on the side of a bed that has the duvet pulled back

One of our forum users has given us permission to share four years of his posts. In each post, he shares his success (or not!) of his most recent attempts to change his duvet.

December 2018: Duvet time, mistletoe and wine!

Well, as Christmas is fast approaching, I have rooted around under the bed for my Christmas duvet.

When I came out of hospital I bought a new bed with an easy lift function where duvet covers and sheets etc., are stored underneath. As my fellow survivors know, there is no such thing as easy lift, but I manage. One day, I may well fall under the easy lift section and the top will descend and I will remain there till Spring.

It took a bit longer to do today, as the duvet cover had buttons and my wonky hand finds buttoning things difficult, but not impossible. Lots of patience, no swearing and the job got done.

I wish you all a Happy Christmas with your loved ones!

December 2019

I am nearly four years post stroke and still recovering. When the stroke hit, I had to be hoisted in and out of bed. I learnt to walk again and tie my shoelaces. Then it became a question of willpower and hard work and that still applies. My mantra is exercise, exercise and more exercise plus learning to laugh at yourself. As fears diminish, the focus falls on mobility and task achievement. I walk with a stick, better some days than others and cook and bake pretty well. I can even change a bed and duvet cover.

Some tasks are accompanied by much swearing. Unfortunately inanimate objects have no hearing and it isn't their fault you drop them or they fly out of your hand, especially the weak one.

I wish you both more progress from now on. I have just managed Christmas in Scotland. I still get fatigue every day but, hey, I am still above ground and living to fight another day. Happy New Year to you both.

August 2020: We change the bed again

Having a stroke is a bit like having to house share with someone you don't like but have to live with. Your housemate is tolerable to a degree but can be very annoying at times. Let me give you my favourite example.

Today we changed the bed. I plan for this but strokey housemate is always a very reluctant participant. For example, I start putting the duvet in its cover but half way through I discover 'strokey' has got the ends mixed up. Once upon a time this made me swear out loud, but now I sit and rest and remind strokey where the top and bottom are. Then, when I flick the mattress over the bed, strokey doesn't make much of an effort. This means several throws before the bed looks half done. Even when it comes to putting the poppers together, I do the coordinating and press the fastenings together, whilst strokey can just about hold the fabric in place.

I would like to evict strokey, but I doubt this will happen. Anyway, strokey is not too bad at cooking and can just about hoover and clean the toilets. PS We made the bed in the end.

February 2021: Lockdown duvet boogie woogie

As my friends on here know, changing a duvet tests me most as a survivor. This is because my weak arm and hand cannot flick things properly, cannot stuff a duvet into its cover properly and, generally speaking, is not up to the task. I change the duvet, however, because it challenges my tenacity, willpower and patience. As you all know, this feat is achieved with a great degree of swearing and several rests between each stage of the task.

As a survivor, I have found Lockdown 3 the most challenging. With life on hold, it is easier to put things off until tomorrow. Indeed, today I planned the duvet change for tomorrow, but my conscience kept asking me why, as I had little else to do with my time today. Reluctantly, I went upstairs, chose the undersheet and duvet and, with the usual frustration, changed the duvet. I suspect the day I abandon this task will be the beginning of the end.

My reward tonight will be a clean duvet and, I hope, a good night's sleep. Never give up, my friends, never give up!

March 2022: The Duvet again

Changing a duvet is very much about my life post stroke. Firstly, I never want to do it. But then I think, do I really want to end up reliant on others? And so the task begins.

Once underway, I am very aware of the lack of sensitivity in my left hand. I use it, but it’s not as effective as my right. However, I know there’s no point in dwelling on this or my inability to flick the end of a changed duvet and see it fall gently into place immediately. Instead, it’s a question of taking things steady, resting every so often and telling myself I have done this before and succeeded. Pressing the poppers together or doing up the buttons is difficult but manageable. Buttons are done up mostly one-handed.

Dwelling on what you can’t do is the fastest route to doing nothing and I refuse to go down it. Job done today in half an hour, which is good for me…and I have a clean bed to sleep in. Oh, I went a bit mad afterwards and wiped over bedside cabinets with a Mr Sheen wipe.

Having a rest now.

November 2022: Lessons of the duvet

I have written about changing my bed several times, but changing it today I realised the task has taught me many lessons. Firstly, I never want to do it. That can be a typical post stroke reaction…easier to do nothing than to make the effort. I always tell myself to get on with it. That way I get over hurdle number one. Then I strip the bed and pillow cases. I have to remember to put the old covers and pillow cases well away from the bed, because if I don’t my legs will get tangled up in them. I then choose the new bedding. This is only frustrating when I find the duvet cover inside out. Then the fun begins. I know I will have real trouble getting the duvet into its cover, but I battle until I do.

Every minute of this task is frustrating, but I know I can’t not do it. The worst task is buttoning up the bottom. My stroke hand is utilised, but is fairly useless. Every button done up is a major challenge and minor achievement. Poppers are much easier. I rest when I need to. You have to stay positive at this point and swearing helps. Flicking the duvet into place takes several attempts because my stroke side is weaker than my good side. I fend off frustration and somehow manage it.

I think what I’m saying is that we survivors need to be patient and put our frustrations to one side. If you don’t try to do things, not only are you achieving nothing, but you’re letting stroke dictate your behaviour rather than accepting the challenge and pushing forward. Years ago, changing the bed took ten minutes…now it takes up to 45 minutes, but it gets DONE!

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