Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Toilet Transfer Adventures

Yesterday I wrote about adventure. It's pretty bizarre when that adventure becomes whether or not you can get on and off the toilet in your supposedly ADA compliant bathroom at a hotel. I continue to be amazed at what designers do when they design rooms for wheelchair access. Clearly the person doing this room did not understand the need for clear access beside the toilet in order to effect a safe transfer. Instead, they built the toilet into a small cubicle, one which would not pass ADA compliance in any situation.

What you do in a situation like this depends a lot on your physical ability. If your upper body is reasonably strong, you can do what I did. First, you fold up the footpads on your wheelchair. Then you roll at the toilet with a slight angle off to one side or the other. Once your wheelchair is in place and locked, you adjust your feet, which have dragged along with you for this ride, such that they are beside the toilet and sort of in front of your wheelchair. Now, using your arms to lift and rotate your body, you make a controlled crash off of your wheelchair and onto the toilet seat.

Once you are on the toilet seat, you have to get rid of your wheelchair before you can completely re-position yourself on the toilet seat. This is a special point of caution. If the floor has any sort of slope, as all floors do, make sure your wheelchair doesn't roll across the gigantic bathroom all on its own. This is especially true if you are on your own in the hotel room. Fortunately for me, all was well this time. I caught the wheelchair before it left town, locking the wheels in place so the chair was just in front of me, the fourth wall in the world of my toilet.

Now that the wheelchair is safe, you can turn your body around on the toilet seat so you face the front. This is where you discover the truly incredible power of adhesion between bare skin and toilet seat. If you are wearing boxer shorts or full underwear, it's only a partial problem. On the other hand, if you've made the mistake of disrobing before toileting, or you are wearing small, tighty-whiteys, then you will feel the full power of the sticking process. Nonetheless, you must use all the energy you have to rotate frontwards, or you can just sit there sideways and make the best use of the toilet in that position.

Now you are ready. By this time, of course, you are far to tired to do what comes naturally. Either that, or the process started without you, while in some awkward rotational position. It doesn't really matter, you are there and eventually you will do what you need to do.

After all is done, and by that I mean whatever you can do, you simply reverse the process to get off the toilet. Now if it were really that simple, I would leave it at that. Instead, the only suggestion I can make for the return trip, after you are tired from the work on the toilet, is that you wait for a while to regain your strength before doing the needed acrobatics. Oh, and don't forget to wipe. That's when you find out how high the now polluted water is in your toilet. Be sure you wash your hands afterwards; they're gonna need it.

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