Nobody mentioned grab rails
I guess a few of you who are reading this have got that irritating little disease, multiple sclerosis. It’s the way it advances. Step by step it creeps up on you. It’s funny how something that wasn’t a problem changes and becomes a problem. Even worse, suddenly its an ‘in your face’ problem. We had a wet room built in spring 2017 and nobody mentioned grab rails to me then. If only …
Whoops, there we go again
I suppose I first noticed foot drop about 20 years ago. It’s a funny thing but as my foot drop gets worse so it gets harder to walk. Now I’m at the stage when my balance is getting ready to scarper.
Many many years ago
As Children this is a game we all used to play, I certainly did. Stand on the ground and turn round and round on the spot as fast as you can. After about 30 seconds I couldn’t go on any more so I stopped. I can definitely remember feeling very giddy and struggling to stay on my feet. Quite often one of us would fall over. About 15 years later occasionally I drank too much. Guess what, I felt giddy then and sometimes I fell over.
A few decades later
It’s curious how the same thing has started happening again. I turn around a corner, I’m not concentrating and suddenly I can be a heap on the floor. Now even getting up from a chair or just leaning forward to pick something up can have disastrous consequences. Now it is so easy to lose my balance and it’s so embarrassing especially when people don’t know about my problems.
Perfecting the art
Touch wood I have managed not to hurt myself too badly in the last couple of years when I fall over. Getting back to the wet room I have trouble standing up in front of the loo and using a catheter. Last week I got myself into a bit of a tangle and used the wash hand basin to keep my balance. Whoops, not a good idea.
Nobody mentioned grab rails
So when I grabbed the wash hand basin I pulled it off the wall. Luckily it stayed on the pedestal and no lasting damage was done. I am sure I would have grabbed a grab rail if one was there. What really annoys me is that nobody has ever mentioned putting grab rails in the bathroom. These days I must sit on a stool to have a shower. Even when I clean my teeth and wash my face I have to sit down on the stool.. Standing is not an option these days.
It’s the little things that everyone takes completely for granted that can cause me big problems. That’s because sometimes I take them for granted as well. Standing up from a chair or getting a cup from a cupboard. So okay I do have the odd stumble but I will not complain because at least I can still do these things.
It all just takes me a little bit longer and I must concentrate. Meanwhile nobody mentioned grab rails for the wet room util now.
Grab rails around the bath are a must, no only for people with MS but also for people who are getting old and weak. You adapt your own house to suit your needs but being in a hotel, many problems exist. I suspect that good handrails are only installed when a customer has fallen. I have hurt my back and pulled my shoulder trying to get in and out of deep baths with badly positioned support rails. In our present rental house which we have lived in since July we have one of these free standing, deep baths with nothing to assist one to get in/out. We have therefore not tried but it looks great and pristine and use the shower which also has no rails at all! An accident waiting to happen?
It might be worth getting grab rails that stick on but you do need shiny smooth tiles. The principle is the same as used to lift glass. Take a look here https://www.aid4disabled.com/bath-or-shower-locking-suction-cup-handles/ They are small but you can pack them into your suitcase which is good for holidays trips For a bath is is possible to buy a seat that sinks into the bath. Suggested to me by a friend but cannot say anything more than that at the moment.
Hotels are not good at sensible bathrooms for disabled people, only too often it is a token gesture. I am talking from experience. Grab rails in continental disabled loos can be a bit scarce as well. I hope you do not have an accident.
Grab rails vary so much. Some are great and others are so poorly positioned that you know the person that installed them had no concept of what a disabled person needed.
Some years ago, I used a pub’s disabled toilet in Norfolk – when I still lived in the UK – and I pulled the grab rail off the wall. Luckily, the pub said the installer was at fault.
(I had the same problem here in the US – I pulled one of the grab rails off in our bathroom. My wife repaired it – she’s the DIYer – and found it was badly installed, despite our house being up to US disability code with wide doorways etc.
Scary that something as basic as that can go so horribly wrong
Yes, you’re right. I’ve installed grab rails in my home and always check for them when I’m out, staying in a hotel or at friends’s houses. If there are no rails – there is no reason for a friend to install them just for me – then I quickly plan a few anchorage points so that if I do slip over I can haul myself upright.
Its not always so simple to get back up again and I’m always frightened of breaking a bone when I fall over