Tag Archives: crutches

A World Drained of Colour

beigePart of my job recently has been to source disability aids for a bathroom refurbishment. I rose to the challenge and visited a local showroom. Stepping in from the high street, I entered a grim emporium of bandage-beige and clinical white, an environment utterly devoid of style and colour.

Sun-faded posters depicted happy pensioners looking up at their carers, overjoyed to be using a walk-in bath or grab-rail. There were pictures of sunsets and autumn leaves, the subliminal message all too clear.

This is the medical model of disability in all its soul-sapping starkness. I asked the bored assistant for a fold-up bath chair. She waved a hand vaguely in a direction towards the back of the jumbled shop. One sad little model. White, wall attachments, two legs and a seat. The price for this utilitarian piece of plastic? ¬£85. Someone’s having a laugh.

Hesitantly, I interrupted the assistant from her Hello! magazine again to ask what other colours they came in. The blank look on her face was my answer. Back at home, I searched the internet for modern, fun aids. You’ve got to look long and hard. I found cool crutches, funky wheelchairs and loads of brilliant walking sticks but struggled to find semi-decent home adaptations.

The heartening message is, visible aids that are seen in public have been updated – crutches, sticks. glasses, wheelchairs (but at a price). At home, however, where most of us probably spend the majority of our time, the manufacturers have helpfully recreated that hospital vibe, as if you need reminding that yes, you are disabled.

Disability aid design is a dusty, neglected area. I’m guessing there’s no prizes for designing a toilet chair that could actually be fun as well as functional. Perhaps in the shape of a throne, or a racing car? Or stair-lifts that might fitted neatly into a home, rather than looking and sounding like a clunky, depressing piece of functional machinery.

I used to know a young man with a severe disability. He hated having to use a urine bottle at night and ¬†told me he wanted one that wasn’t so depressing looking – something brightly coloured, or designed to look like a bottle of beer. Something, anything rather than what he had. Not too much to ask?

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Stumbling In Crutches

imageI am feeling rather sorry for myself. As I write, there is a pair of crutches next to me and I am floating among pink, fluffy clouds thanks to the strong painkillers.

Yesterday I fell quite badly, and to be fair, it wasn’t due to the MS, it was me not looking where I was going.

Unfortunately though, my MS treatment has left me with a tendency to have out-of-proportion bruising, so my leg is now a fabulous riot of colours and has swollen so much I can’t get my jeans on. To top it off, I think the shock of it has increased my nerve pain temporarily so I’m buzzing and tingling all over.

The bruising must be impressive as The Teenager keeps wanting a look at it, saying ‘ewwwwwww’ before taking another look.

All in all, not the best of days. Thank goodness for family and friends. My partner-in-crime at the museum trip (see post below) came up trumps and after making numerous phone calls, tracked down a pair of crutches I can borrow. My mum is carting away loads of laundry for me and drops round food supplies, flowers and news of the outside world.

So, yet again, I am whiling away the hours at home, not studying, not writing up my essay notes and chomping obscene amounts of Maltesers and Bacon Bites. Ho hum. I have worked out how to switch on the fire with a crutch without getting off the sofa, I count down the hours to my next lot of painkillers and The Teenager has had two takeaways in a row.

I’d like to say I have learnt something from this experience, that I will never, ever take my health for granted, but hey, didn’t I just go through all this recently with the whole MS saga? I don’t need any more time out to re-evaluate the direction of my life. Been there, done that, drowned my sorrows.

So I’m off to have another pity party and pop more painkillers. My mum is at the supermarket buying me a tub of prunes. Life goes on…

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