I acquired a disability over eleven years ago, and regularly place myself into challenging situations. A few times I required rescuing, such as when I pushed my four-wheel-drive wheelchair too far. After being stuck in the mud, a vehicle attached a rope to my chair and pulled me out. At other times, I need creative solutions to resolve problems associated with having a disability.
Today was my toileting and showering day, and the process after the shower involves
- transfer from shower chair to bed
- get dried and dressed
- push shower chair away from the bed
- use a long grabber to grab my manual chair, as it is around 1.5 metres away from the bed, and pull towards the bed
- transfer onto the manual chair
Steps 1 and 2 are completed successfully. Step 3 is about to occur and the shower chair will be pushed away from the bed.
But where is the long grabber? It is usually hanging next to the bed, however, it is on a bookcase, and around 2 metres away, on the other side of the bed.
Disability and creative solutions
What now? I can transfer into the shower chair, get the grabber and get back into bed. However, this takes time, effort and shower chair transfers are not the safest thing in life for me to do.
Apart from the shower chair, the only other item within reach is a slide board, and the item is too short to move the wheelchair towards me. I need another creative solution to resolve a problem relating to my disability.
Spartacus the cat
I’ve trained our cat to retrieve items for me, including my manual chair*. He looks at me as if saying ‘Do I really need to help you again?’. However, he decides to jump on the chair and fall asleep instead. I need another creative solution.
Part 1 of the creative solution relating to my disability
Within thirty seconds I used the foot pedal of the shower chair, to hook one of the rear anti-tip mechanisms of the manual chair. I pulled the shower chair towards me, and my manual chair and Spartacus were closer to my bed. I could only pull the shower chair so far, as it hit my bed. After pushing the shower chair away, I tried to grab the manual chair with my hand, and it was still too far away.
Part 2 of the creative solution relating to my disability
The slide board has a hole midway, and I stretched out my arm and the board. Now I could place the manual chair next to my bed, get dressed and wheel away. However, there was one more problem.
The next problem
Spartacus’s bed is his favourite blanket, placed on my manual chair. He sleeps there for around two-thirds of the day and is very possessive of his sleeping quarters. I can wait!
Having a disability requires creative solutions to problems. And the problems keep on coming. No point in giving up, and expecting someone else to rescue you.
(* it is impossible to train a cat)
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More information about me is found at johnduthie.com