Having a disability involves creative solutions


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

  1. transfer from shower chair to bed
  2. get dried and dressed
  3. push shower chair away from the bed
  4. 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
  5. transfer onto the manual chair

The problem

Steps 1 and 2 are completed successfully. Step 3 is about to occur and the shower chair will be pushed away from the bed.

manual chair in window area and too far from me, and shower chair to the right.

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.

my long grabber sits on top of the bookcase, and too far from me to grab

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.

spartacus the gray and white cat looks at the camera, and sits between the manual chair and shower chair

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.

The shower chair foot rest hooks onto the anti-tip mechanism of the manual chair

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 manual chair has two little wheels at the back to prevent tipping, I hold my slider board, that has a hole, and I hook onto the chair

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.

spartacus, all grey and white, is on the chair and wants to sleep. He doesn't want to be involved in a creative solution to resolve a disability related problem

(* it is impossible to train a cat)

Click here for information about the blog WheelchairJohn.

More information about me is found at johnduthie.com

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