Yesterday I was visited by an Occupational Health Therapist. This is only my second visit since leaving hospital three years ago.
On the first visit I was provided with all the disability aids that I needed at that time. I was grateful for them, but was also sure that they would be returned within few months. Little was I to know that my condition would progress and not get better.
I decided that as my needs had changed that it was time to see what else could make me more comfortable and life easier in my own home.
I’d only mentioned that I needed help with showering but the occupational health therapist was quite thorough and one of the first things she noticed was my difficulty in getting up off the settee. She suggested that an electric reclining chair would be an option, and I will certainly consider this when re-decorating my living room. For the time being though I’m having to use an extra cushion just to give me a little more height while sitting.
She discussed all the aids that I already had and suggested a few improvements. For example, hand rails rather than toilet frames. I like this because they take up less room but will still make sure I don’t get stuck on the loo!
My main wish had been to turn the downstairs shower room into a wet room, but sadly there is not enough room and a pipe issue. I have trouble getting in and out of the shower and I’m terrified of falling. Not only that, but the cubicle is pretty small and when you have to sit in the shower there is not a lot of room.
In the end I had to agree to having my upstairs family bathroom turned into a wetroom. This means we no longer have a bath, which upset the little man at first but everyone prefers using the shower in the wetroom now, there is so much space.
Another thing discussed was the stairs. I use them to come down in the morning and go to bed in the evening. Otherwise I do avoid going upstairs as it’s a lot of effort for me.
We discussed a stair lift, and although we already have the electrics fitted for one, the OT didn’t think it would be the safest option for me. She believed that I would be better off with a lift. We have the room, it could be fitted in the corner of the living room and up into my bedroom. But at this stage I don’t really want a lift in my living room.
For now I’m going to battle on with the stairs, at least it gives me some exercise each day. I remember, just a few years ago, I used to run up and down the stairs a few times, at least three times a day to exercise. How things have changed in such a short space of time.
Overall, I found it a useful visit. I hope the changes that are made will make showering safer and easier. I also have to decide on what to do about getting an electric reclining chair.
All other aids mentioned I have already, in fact I have quite a lot. I have a lot of disability aids in my home but there are still issues. The small rim on my front and back doors mean I have trouble getting in and out of the house in my wheelchair. I tend to get someone to put my chair outside and take a few steps to get out, it’s the easiest option. The occupational health visitor sent a man to help with the front door and after he had finished his work he left a two inch gap under the door frame! My husband had to put it back how it was before.
I am still coming to terms with my disabilities and hate that my home has to have all these aids. But they make my life easier and it’s something I just need to accept.