Making my disability work in new environments

Making my disability work in new environments

Not a bad place to be to write a blog post. It is a rare morning because it is actually only my sister and myself awake at this moment. She is in one chair reading her book with a cup of tea, I’m in the other with writing with a cup of coffee. It is so beautiful up here. She lives about 2 1/2 hours away from me in upstate New York. If we continued another 45 minutes we’d be at my daughter’s school. It is so different up here from where I live so coming here is like a vacation. Plus my sister and her husband go out of there way to make us feel so welcomed and loved you almost want to unpack and move in. Before I found my place I’m in now by the water, I actually looked at a really nice place up here. The decision for me to stay by my parents was actually decided at that point.

This was the first time at my sister’s place with the wheelchair. My brother in law got the ramps for the steps to enter their house which worked perfect. Their house is a two story house but most of what I need is on the main floor. The chair gets through every doorway, in every room and around the whole floor except one, the bathroom. They have their main bathrooms upstairs and the 1/2 bathroom downstairs. Two obstacles I faced, going to the bathroom and showering. There is no shower downstairs. I can’t get up her flight of steps to get upstairs so that’s an issue. If we tried to lift my foot for each step, that would be too dangerous. My sister said I could go to her gym but it was also an obstacle that was too much for me to deal with. I finally decided to buy bathroom wipes, like they use in hospitals, and use them. I was never doing my hair anyway. I just couldn’t see another way through the obstacles.

The bathroom was my other obstacle. Her 1/2 bathroom is a small room my hands easily touching both sides but the room is a little longish. I have to take some steps to get to the toilet from the door and then turn myself around or take backward steps. Either way it isn’t the safest thing and it a space where I could easily fall, slip or misstep. Then the issue of me getting up off the toilet when I was done was also problematic. It is a lower toilet and the floor is tile, not great for weakness in the thighs, slippery floors and no leverage. My brother in law had the seat thing that you put on the toilet to raise it but I couldn’t deal with taking that on and off each time I had to pee, I’m not the only one using the bathroom. He even had grip bars he was willing to put into the walls for me but I couldn’t even say where they would help. I realized the one thing that would help is not to exercise while I’m here. I can’t fatigue myself and that’s the bottom line. So against my nature of being me, I won’t exercise until Thursday when I’m home.

On every other level my wheelchair has worked great in her house. In the summer time she has her outside shower working so that obstacle will be solved when I come back. I have to think on the bathroom issue still. I will come up with a solution. I solved my bed situation and slept great each night although everyone thought I was crazy. I am on the corner of her couch with her living room ottoman. I’m propped up like my bed at home. I can easily get up, at least easily for me. I couldn’t get up from the place I use to sleep. I solved that problem and I’ll solve the bathroom problem so I feel safer. This way I can once again come visit my sister and spend time with my family upstate.

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