Category: Dealing With Professionals
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You might be wondering which gadgets are out there to help you or a loved one.

Looking towards Social Services

First of all, bear in mind that there is much available on free loan from Social Services. This covers everything from a loop to hitch up a disobedient leg to a wheelchair, a hoist, and even a kitchen!

Your first stop is probably going to be Social Services and/or your OT [Occupational Therapist], perhaps your GP, or your specialist nurse if you have one.

When I started to drag my foot my OT offered me what looked like a stiff dog lead. This had a loop to lasso my foot and hoick it over the lip of my shower. - which kept me bathing independently. Later I used it to pull my 'disobedient' leg into the car for car journeys. Now it is still sometimes useful for 'picking up' a bare foot when I need to put on socks.

There was also a 'foot-up', which held my MS-droopy foot at 90 degrees at the ankle and stopped me wearing out the toes of my shoes.

For private payment I could also have had a device which would send an electric current to make my paralysed leg goosestep along. When I was told the cost I managed to resist.

There, basically, is the crux of the matter. You can get a lot free, but might need to pay for the 'non-essentials' [or, rather,what Social Services deem to be non-essential].

You are unlikely to get pads for incontinence, for example, until you are quite severely affected in that way. But do ask your doctor to be referred to the Incontinence Service when you think you need help. And ask again if your situation worsens. [The rule seems to be that nothing is ever offered before you ask, so ask!] A commode may be easier to obtain, though this is not terribly helpful if - like me - you have to empty it yourself! You might find you only need a pop-on raised seat. Ask your OT to advise.

I was given a "shower commode" on loan when I was bed bound [after an operation].

This wheeled waterproof chair, with a hole in the seat, did not actually fit over my lavatory. Very frustrating, until I realised I could unscrew the bowl [permanently], I could then launch myself, on the chair, away from my bed, grab the chest of drawers [between the drawer and the carcass], pull myself into the bathroom using that door, and along the wall, to over the loo! Hooray! No more emptying needed!!

No need to tell you that the OT was not impressed, and even sourced me a commode with self-propelling wheels. But I am paralysed on my left side, so the wheeled chair - pushed with only one working hand - just went round in circles and ended up facing the wall rather than the door!

Click here to read part 2

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