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Entries in disability (1)

Friday
Feb072014

Bad at posting and some general info re bottom wiping...Really!

I have had another hand accident, falling and putting my arm through a flower pot and severed the muscle at the base of thumb across the palm. I had to have surgery to repair this. Due to my medical condition, general anaesthesia was not a viable option so I was awake throughout which was scary and a bit painful. Thankfully I did not cut through a tendon although due to my immune disorder, it has started up all sorts of swelling and intense pain. Knitting has been out of the question, especially since this hand was already damaged from my fall in October 2012 which caused finger contracture. Anyway, the surgery is done and it will take a while to return to my pre flowerpot state. I am just bingeing on Netflix and Lovefilm Amazon TV progs and films.

I have not been able to. Do many tasks and going to the toilet has been tricky with only my left hand, which is weak and useless anyway and has an even shorter reach than my right. I do have a hands free toilet, which is not ideal but better than nothing. Often when I am researching issues for people whose limbs have been shortened like mine, or have hand disabilities, I see questions go up online and they often get abuse. Either disabled people think it is a rude and outrageous question and feel insulted, as it is private. On the whole people disabled from birth have always coped with such issued and don't want to share whereas people newly disabled in adulthood like myself, are always seeking answers and often medical people will say they don't know of any products and that they are sure it will be online....Go Google It is now a stock answer to any questions people cannot answer. The other kind of abuse to this question is from folk who think it is a comedy question and they will suggest hiring a bottom wiper to do the job, or dragging your backside across a carpet like a dog...or worse which I won't go into here. Those disabled people who have found a way around it, rarely share their techniques even with their partners. Some have even said 'Don't ask me, its none of your goddamn business' and been applauded for that, but actually if they answered the question factually they would be helping so many people that struggle as well as educate any of those health professionals who do some sneaky googling because their patients asked them a question they could not answer.

 

In the UK if you have such problems you can get a referral to an Occupational Therapist for help prescribing equipment. For those with shortened limbs there are various hand held devices that grip or have toilet paper rapped around them and they havr a long handle so you can reach, then you can carefully remove the paper and throw away. There is a folding version as well to put in your backpack or handbag. 

Folding bottom wiperHowever, if you do not have hand function, or have limited grip like me, you may find the above devices are difficult to use as they require grip and some dexterity and fine movements. . In those cases you may qualify to have help with a hands free toilet. These toilets have elbow lever presses which when depressed activate a small shower that douches your private parts with warm water, then has a warm air blower to dry your parts. Some toiletd have just basic functions, and other Japanese models have all sorts of extras and custom controls. If you cannot use the elbow press, then a foot pedal can be fitted. Toilets are fitted in hour home using existing fixutres and fittings without the need to modify your bathroom other than taking the old toilet out and fixing the nee one in. They do use electricity, so then a qualified electrician from the company will extend your bathroom power supply and conduit it to your toilet. They are not as good as toilet paper I find, and there are issues sometimes of what the water is washing off getting sprayed to your front, or being inadequate and the hot water available is only a small amount and goes cold quickly.

Long handle metal rod bottom wiper
If you do not qualify for a grant from your local authority to have one fitted, or you are not disabled but prefer the cleanliness of an auto shower toilet, you can buy ex showroom or reconditioned models at a fraction of the price. My toilet providers guarantee for two years and come out to fix, or custom adjust settings, when necessary. 
the embarrassingly named bottom buddyThere is very little online about this subject and yet it is one that a lot of the population need an answer to. I feel sad if I see either able bodied or disabled folk making a joke of it, or assuming it is an intrusive question that nobody should ask. Often people lose abilities they were born with due to illness, accident, obesity and mobility problems, or age. Everyone has the right to be clean, but I find that even in a hospital environment little advice is given on how to deal with intimate issues and doctors seem to think such function is a luxury or the icing on the cake, and concentrate on more basic function.
shower toilet
As for the issue of those people with shortened limbs and how to add tampons, I have yet to find equipment that can do that adequately and no professional has had any idea other than advising to use pads. This makes it difficult to bathe, shower, swim or sunbathe though and makes woman like me live like they are in the nineteenth century....I actually have to rearrange my social life when it is my monthly and stay indoors as toilet issues are so complicated. 

I also find, due to problems reaching and needing to use special equipment, I often have to use a disabled toilet. Yesterday at hospital, a woman in a wheelchair got a little annoyed with me using the disabled toilet and started banging on the door and jiggling the handle up and down.....not being able to wipe, or having colostomy bags or other issues is often invisible and people always assume the only real reason for claiming to be disabled is being in a wheelchair or having to walk with sticks. We found this when we have needed on occasion to park in a place for the disabled, which I am entitled to when in flare up, but elderly folk or wheelchair folk will give us daggered looks or challenge us. When I have a jacket on in winter, and it just looks like my arms are voluntarily bent as opposed to permanently fixed like that people cannot imagine why a youngish woman who appears she can walk unaid would need to be using the disabled loo. I also suffer from incontinence of bowel and bladder and it might require a change of clothes and a bit of a wash, and you can only do that in privacy in a disabled loo. You certainly would find it difficult to use the bottom wiping extensions and equipment in a normal cramped cubicle, and it would be embarassing to then bring your bottom wiper out to wash it at the hand basin. After all, it is your replacement 'hands' and should be washed like other folks hands, but they would assume that was diry and be put off if you put your wiper under the tap even though they are washing their own 'wipers'..i.e. hands...in the same basins.
I doubt anyone will read my blog now, after me having so little activity lately, but I am sharing the above info in case anybody else Googles 'bottom wiping' and sees the nonsensical replies.