Saturday, 16 February 2013

Conrad the commode

My close relationship with Conrad the Commode: it has been named Conrad by a Personal Care Assistant. I find that hilarious. It is reliable and with easy maintenance until new parts need ordering through Bath and East Somerset (BaNES) .

Conrad arrived finally on my birthday three years ago. It was the end of the commode saga which needed to be retold each time I phoned The Occupational Therapy Department (OT) of BaNES…I needed just one transfer from my wheelchair to the commode and reduce the fatigue of changing to my shower seat. It had to be showerproof (rust proof!)

Freeway T60 Self Propelled

Here is Conrad in all its beauty:
Freeway T60 - 510mm (20") Rear wheel self- propelled model. This sturdy chair is easily propelled and manoeuvred. 
 Low braked wheel facilitates side transfer and shorter overall length means this chair will fit in a smaller area.
Good choice where ramp or lip is to be encountered. Suitable as self propeller or assistant propelled model
Anti tip bars are fitted as standard. Last but not least:  Freecote is anti bacterial and inhibits the growth of a large range of microbes including MRSA. The special coating is also tough, resilient and waterproof, and it has a glossy attractive appearance which contribute to its longevity and durability.

Before my long spell in hospital from 26 February 2008 to 3 June 2008, I had been using our wet room with no commode.  It had been assessed that I was not “critical” and the fact that I was getting up at 5:30 every morning in order to grip hand rails and sit from the wheelchair to the wall shower chair, close the shower curtain, shower, dry (not very well so my skin was damaged) and dress (often leaving till I got help)at 7 am when the home care assistant arrived for an hour.I had had Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis or SPMS for 32 yers 

The assistant had to take me as she found me in the morning. She finished dressing me and helped me pull on my socks and put on shoes. Then I felt that I was able to greet her properly…

On returning from hospital on 3 June 2008, I found an ordinary commode at home after the Ambulance Service had dropped me from Paulton Memorial Hospital. It was hard to accept it as it was an hospital thing. It is undeniable; I need to use a commode. I tried to go to the loo on my own as it was a goal I had set myself when returning. I used all my strength to get on the loo with the slide board. I had been told so many things about amputees managing on their own…I am a pragmaticJ. I was of course unable to slide back because of the slope. I waited an hour before the team of carers that was sent to assess my needs turned up. I felt cold. I should have taken the telephone portable handset. So, needless to say, do not try this alone!

My acrobatics of before where certainly feeling strange, unbelievable and impossible to perform. I could not stand anymore. If I made contact with the ground, my weight bearing on lasted a matter of seconds. It was tragic. I had become “critical “or they would say hurriedly “substabtial”…It was now going to be fun negotiating with social services as I remembered their harsh assessments and the one bath a week rule!

So, I was home alone with a commode as John my husband was at work.

Conrad is a great support; I can go from the loo to the shower area easily. I wish I had seen the details of the original order so any replacement parts like the seat cushion which is specific to me could have been replaced easily. This is because I needed to replace the cushion which has been cut by the transfer board at the start of October 2012… It was not shower proof and had a crack in the cushionThe staff of BaNES Community Equipment were aware of my needs as I phoned very often. It was delivered very close to Christmas Eve but I was sad to let it return as it was not yet finished to my specifications. It was finally delivered in the New Year, three whole months later...

I have kept a copy of the order with all the details to speed things up next time…