Call Me Inspector Gadget

I often receive questions about adaptive equipment I need to accomplish daily living. I need quite a bit of equipment and adaptive tools. I use adaptive equipment for personal care, daily living and my blogging and hobbies. In this blog, I will talk about adaptive equipment I need for personal and daily living.

                               My Hospital style bed with remote attached to wall with Velcro

                               My Hospital style bed with remote attached to wall with Velcro


                                                               My bedside table

                                                               My bedside table


I wake up in my hospital bed. I used to sleep in a normal bed but as I got older and bigger, it was hard for my caregivers to get me in and out of bed. Another advantage for me is my ability to adjust my bed on my own. I usually go to bed early and then my caregiver leaves. I like to watch tv until I am sleepy. I am able to sit up to better see the TV and then recline to go to bed. I keep all of my remotes, my phone and my water bottle on my hospital bedside table. I used to have an issue with losing the remote to my bed and not being able to find it due to my limited mobility. We came up with a plan to hang it on the wall using Velcro!

                                           This unit attaches to my land line phone

                                           This unit attaches to my land line phone


                                                    My Life Alert wristband

                                                    My Life Alert wristband


I am alone overnight and into the morning. Sometimes I am not able to reach my phone or I drop my phone while trying to call my mom if I need anything. We solved this problem with signing up for a life alert system. I currently use the one through Aspirus. There are life alert systems with GPS, for those who venture out into the community independently. My visual perception deficit and the severity of my physical disability prevents me from doing this. My life alert coverage area is my apartment only, as this is all I need for now. I am very lucky, as I have very rarely had to use it. I have fallen a few times out of my lift and chair and used it then. I also used it once when there was a fire in the building to alert the fire depart of the fact that I was in bed and unable to get out of the building. I have always been satisfied with their response. The operators are very friendly and helpful. They also volunteer to stay on the line with me until help arrives. The system is hooked up right to my phone line. I wear a waterproof wristband with a button on it that I push and an alert is sent to the call center. An operator is able to talk with me and ask me questions. If I do not respond, they immediately send a rescue crew to check things out. To make sure the system is working, we test the system once a month by pushing the button. We let the operator know that everything is fine and we are just testing the system. Occasionally the button is pushed by accident and we simply let the operator know it was just an accident! This system is key to my independence as it allows me to be alone and safe at night.

                                                        My Sit to Stand Hoyer Lift

                                                        My Sit to Stand Hoyer Lift


My caregiver comes in the morning to get me out of bed using my Hoyer Sit to Stand Lift. I use a sit to stand because the normal sling hoyer is too painful for me to use because of my scoliosis. I am transferred to my shower chair and rolled into the walk in shower. I have a hand shower so I can assist in rinsing myself off.

                                                 My shower chair and roll in shower

                                                 My shower chair and roll in shower


I usually get partially dressed while sitting in my shower chair. I wear AFO’s on my feet. These are molded braces for my feet and legs. The purpose of these braces is to positon my feet into a standing position. If I do not have them on I have great difficulty weight bearing and standing. The CP causes my feet to have abnormal movements and collapse. These AFO’s are necessary to help stabilize my feet for standing and transfers. It also helps keep my feet stretched into as normal of a positon as possible. I have to wear my shoes over the AFO’s because they are made of a hard plastic and can be very slippery. If they are not put on the right way, I can experience pain and get pressure sores. I get asked often if they are hot in the summer. I think I am just used to wearing them and that it is second nature to me.

                                                                      My AFO's

                                                                      My AFO’s


After I am partially dressed I get back into my lift and then get dresses the rest of the way. I am then transferred to my power wheelchair. This is probably one of my most important pieces of equipment. My power chair is my substitute body. I have had to use manual chairs in the past. I do not have the physical ability to push a manual chair very well. My power chair allows me independent movement. My current chair has several bells and whistles. I can tilt my chair back to a reclining position and adjust my feet positon. I also have a horn, although it is not very loud. Sometimes in a crowd it would be nice to have a semi-truck horn! I can also adjust the speed on my chair. My mom says I have 2 speeds, “the speed of smell” or the speed of a rocket! We have even further adapted my chair. I chained my wallet to the chair, I have dropped my wallet in the past and luckily it was returned. I also have an attachment that holds my cell phone. I have a backpack that is made specifically for a wheelchair. I keep all my essentials for outings in it. My wheelchair also has a tray that I use when eating out, because my chair sometimes cannot fit under a table. I use a rubber mat on the tray to keep things from sliding off. One of the funniest adaptions to my chair is a rubber cat ball. I have a metal rod that sticks out from the back of headrest. People (mostly my mom) have walked into it when I stop my chair suddenly. I have also gouged out walls and elevators when I am trying to turn around in a tight spot. Two years ago I put a hole in an elevator at a place I like to frequent, to this day it is still there. I guess you can say I like to leave “an impression”! My mom initially cut a hole in a tennis ball but it kept falling off. She discovered that my cat, Sully, had a rubber ball with a perfect sized hole in it!

                                                My powerchair has many adjustment options

                                                My powerchair has many adjustment options


                                                                      My

                                                                      My “Cat Ball Wall Saver”


                                                                      Wallet with Chain

                                                                      Wallet with Chain


                                                                      Cell Phone Holder

                                                                      Cell Phone Holder


When I am in my chair I sometimes drop things when my caregivers are not around. If I need to pick things up I can use my grabber. Sometimes what I drop is too heavy and then I have to wait. I also have a backpack that is specially made to fit on the back of my chair. I keep all the things I need for going out into the community. I also wear my keys around my neck. Attached to the key chain is also a remote to open the door to my apartment building. I have a strap around my glasses to keep them on my head! I don’t use any specialized plates or silverware, however, I mostly use cups with lids and a straw. I have been known to spill from time to time.

                                                                            My

                                                                            My “Grabber”


                                                                My remote for apartment building

                                                                My remote for apartment building


Now let’s get down and dirty…a little potty talk. In my apartment, I have a special raised seat for my toilet. I am tall and this allows for more comfortable sitting! I also use a hand urinal for home and when I am out in the community.

                                                                      My raised toilet seat

                                                                      My raised toilet seat


This is just the tip of the iceberg for the adaptions I use at home. I will discuss other equipment I use in future blogs!

***Side Note…I apologize for not blogging as regular as I would like. I have been battling with a really bad chest cold and been busy with the holidays! I will return back to regularly scheduled blogging after New Years! My van lift is fixed and I am back on the road again…at least after I have recovered from my cold! Happy New Years to all my readers!