I have a confession to make. My house is not all that accessible, either. I live in a 1970's Southern Colonial tract house with a narrow hallway, light switches set at my (standing) shoulder level, a combination of plush carpet and faux brick tiles for flooring, and furniture placement that was not chosen with wheelchair access in mind. The are no sinks I can roll up to or showers I can roll into, although there is a grab bar in the tub. There would be a shower I could roll into if I had had my way about it back when we remodeled the bathroom, in place of the tub that we do have. I wanted a big tile shower with a shower seat, since we never take baths anyway, but John thought the bathtub would be better for resale value, and since he purported not to understand why I thought the 1970's Harvest Gold bathroom needed a redo anyway, I deferred to him.
The one good thing about our house for access purposes is that it is built on a slab and all one story, so there are no stairs.
So I have been making do with a combination of wheelchair use, brief bouts of walking, briefer bouts of standing, and my husband doing a lot for me. While it is hard rolling the chair on the carpet and the tile, it is not impossible, especially after those few months of biceps curls and floor and overhead presses. I can actually make myself tea and toast and get my yogurt from the refrigerator for breakfast. I was all set to fry myself an egg yesterday, with the small cast iron pan that lives in the middle drawer, when my husband came in and did it himself, with more than a few sighs and grimaces along the way. I am able to turn the light switches on and off with my walking stick, which I carry around with me in my chair for those times when I have to get out of it and walk to where I am going. I thought about smacking martyred hubby with said walking stick, but he meant well. I think.
Grooming is accomplished with what I call my "Hokey Pokey Bath": I straddle the side of the tub with my right foot in and my left foot out, although I'm not shaking anything all about.
The biggest problem I am having with access is not having my hands free while I wheel the chair anywhere. When I make breakfast, I get it to the table by moving it from the farthest point on the right to the farthest point on my left, moving the wheelchair until the object is again on my right, and keep repeating until I can finally reach the table. It takes a lot of time, but I have time. If I make a cup of tea, I drink it in the kitchen, or at least in the doorway between the kitchen and the living room. To do laundry, I have to wheel the clothing to the laundry room in small bunches. Hubby said what I need is a cup holder on the chair. I need to look into that.
This all reminds me of the days after my foot surgery, when I had to get around on crutches until my doctor offered me the option of orders for a wheelchair. I needed to make a phone call while waiting for the wheelchair to be delivered, and wanted to take the phone into the living room. I decided to throw the phone on the sofa, then hobble over to it on my crutches. Unfortunately, I missed the sofa. Plan B was to nudge the phone over to the sofa with one of my crutches. As soon as Truffle saw me nudge the phone in one direction, he decided it was a great game and batted it in the other direction. The phone hockey game only ended when the referee smacked him with her crutch. I finally got the phone to the sofa, me to the sofa, and the wheelchair delivered.
I told my sister about the struggle with the cat and the phone. She told me some day I'd see the humor in it. I saw the humor in it while it was happening, I just needed the phone.
Maybe someday I'll see the humor in my broken foot struggles, too.
|Truffle answering the phone for me when I had my foot surgery