Around nine years ago I went through the tedious and laborious assessment [physical and financial] of having my bathroom changed into a wet room as I was having increasing difficulty stepping up into my shower. After a few false starts, and never seeing the same consultant from the local Council more than once, under my local Council’s watchful guidance of their “Safe At Home’ department a schedule of works was produced, tender were sort and they decided who would do the job, I then sort assistance with the funding in the shape of mortgaged grants and added from my own pot and the work was done. Poorly, and with issues, but done.
Now my mobility and more importantly stability has deteriorated further. Initially the purchase of a shower stool solved the primary problem and I could successfully shower myself, but a problem arose and grew and grew. Namely the super-dooped non-slip bobbly flooring … if my feet or the floor are slightly damp, I slip, and slipping just a few centimetres has the same result, me on floor going “Owww, ouchy ouch ouch “
So during my annual Occupational Health review telephone call I took the bull by the horns and said “I need something on wheels so I can wheel myself in and out of the bathroom, thus remove the need to stand and thus preventing slippage until I an the floor and not just bone dry but positively arid”. Mr OT said he’d look at hat equipment was available and come visit and assess.
Said Mr OT arrived with four pages photocopied out of the equipment catalogue that they ‘have to’ purchase from. Most of the chairs were made too wide for a standard sized bathroom door . Mt OT started to go down the route of ‘We can widen the door and do ….”, I think he was somewhat taken aback at the adamant and volume of my “NO!” We sat looking at the one chair [pictured above] trying to figure if it would be workable, the arms were detachable, good, the seat was sot of nearly 22 inches high, good, it has wheels, good, but it might not squeeze through the standard sized bathroom door, not so good. At his insistence one was ordered an he duly delivered it two weeks later.
I took one look, before the plastic was removed and already knew it would not fit my purpose because i would barely fit through the door and the set being slightly bucketed would not be low enough for my feet to propel me along. However he left it, told me to give it a go.
I couldn’t get the breaks off. I sat in it and couldn’t get out of it. It was £350 of uselessness.
You see, I wanted something where the frame and wheels were under the chair, but this is designed to do the jobs of several needs, it can be wheeled by a third person, so seated persons feet need to be off the floor [I need my feet on the floor], the arm are designed to be removed, but the housing for the arms is not, and further more the housing is welded to the side of the frame, which is larger than the chair. In order to do a sideways transfer from bucketed seat to bed I need to slide my tender bits over the lip of the chair, miss the frame, miss the arm housing and onto the bed, a distance of a few inches. As the picture below shows.
So I telephoned Mr OT and said it was not going to forfill the purpose, as in I wheel myself independently to and from the shower, do a side slide transfer and everything be tickerty-bo and flowery fresh [I have a slight stock pile of shower gels]. He gave me a telephone number for the people who need to come collect it so it can go into stock ready to try with somebody else. I have called them three times a day for the past 7 working days, only ever getting an answer phone and guess what ……… no one has called me back. Plus I think I have found the solution myself, for about £160, and I can claim back the VAT, but I need to ponder and consider whether the height is right and whether the width will fit.
It is indicative of services today, they can only offer what is available in the catalogue decided upon by a third party, they cannot buy something off-catalogue, they cannot change, engineer or manipulate any of the equipment [like remove the arm housing]. My Mr OT feels most unsatisfied, because he cannot solve problems when 15 years ago he’d have just took the chair into the workshop, cut off the housing, reconfigured the frame and I would have been a happy showering singing shiny bunny.