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Thread: How do I get in the shower?

  1. #1
    Senior Member willingtocope's Avatar
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    How do I get in the shower?

    I've got MS (so they claim). Only major symptoms are extremely spastic legs...I ca't normally lift my feet off the floor, my left arm is weak, and my left hand has trouble maintaining a grasp. I've got all kinds of toys that help me cope, but all of them miss the mark by just a little bit.

    I use a wheelchair at work, but at home the hallways and doors are too awkward. So, I get by with a rollator. I can use that to walk about 50 feet, by shuffling along.

    I've got a brand new shower with grab bars and a shower seat...and, a 4 inch lip about 6 inches wide to get over in order to get in. The controls and drain are on the left, which means I have to grab the bar at the entrance with my left, weak hand. There's another bar on the other side of the enclosure, which I can just bearly reach with my right. All fairly stable. But...how do I get my feet over the lip?

    DW has been helping by lifting my feet over the lip...but...its a huge strain on her, and its getting harder for her every time.

    Getting out is even tougher.

    Any suggestions? I need a shower tommorrow so I can go to work on Monday.

    (We're trying to get an aide to come in twice a week to help, but so far, we've had no luck getting anyone (including our PCP) to call us back).

  2. #2
    Too bad you didn't build a brand new shower that was a walk-in shower without a lip. Would there be away to ramp from the floor to the lip of the shower? Pictures might help us think of other ideas.

    All the best,
    GJ

  3. #3
    This won't help you this weekend, but get an OT to come to your house. They may be able to suggest easier ways of doing things, and how to modify your house to better fit your needs.
    If you can lift your feet at all, you could try putting a piece of 2x8 wood on either side of the shower lip, so that it's 2 smaller steps up & down instead of one big one. Additionally, it's easier to go in sideways than straight ahead - one foot completely inside, then the other follows and you didn't need to lift your body.
    Would using a strap under a foot make it easier for your wife to help lift it? (although I could visualize a fall hazard that way)
    In the longer term, I agree that a roll-in shower may be the best way to go, but even then there will be a ramp you'd need to get up & down. Again, an OT may have ideas for you.
    Good luck
    - Richard

  4. #4
    A rubber threshold ramp might be just the ticket. This is a one-piece unit, and this is customizable.

  5. #5
    Senior Member willingtocope's Avatar
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    Yeah, as it turns out, a roll in would have been better. I've made the wrong choices about a bunch of stuff. New lift chair...seat is just a bit too deep to be comfortable. Bed that goes up and down...but, on mornings when I wake up with completely stiff legs, DW still has to help me out. Exercise bike that helps...but...I need help getting on and off, and again, DW is wearing down.

    Going in sideways works, but after the hot water hits my legs, getting out that way is tough...left side is weak...holding on is precarious.

  6. #6
    Consider a slider shower chair such as those use for tubs, but in the long run, I would strongly recommend redoing your shower to make it a roll-in shower with no lip at all.

    Check with the local MS Society office. They may be able to refer you to an OT who could do a home eval and recommend modifications such as additional grab bars, types of shower extensions, and appropriate shower seats.

    Don't risk a fall. My mother, who also has MS, broke her leg twice in falls in the shower stall before my dad decided to gut the whole bathroom and install a roll-in shower.

    How are you trying to recruit a PCA? Why are you calling your PCP about this? They are clueless.

    (KLD)

  7. #7
    Senior Member willingtocope's Avatar
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    I'm one of the "lucky" ones, with good health insurance thru work, assistance thru Iowa Vocational Rehab, and right on the cusp of everything.

    For example...I'm 6'-1. Health insurance paid completely for my bed. But, because I'm only 6'-1 instead of 6'-2, their rules say I get a normal queen mattress instead of a California queen. My feet hang over the edge of the bed just enough that they get tangled in the covers when I try to roll over. The reason my wife has to help getting me out of bed is because my feet are all tied up.

    Health insurance paid for the lift mechanism in my chair (we had to pay for the furniture part), but because I only weigh 280 lbs instead of 300 lbs, I couldn't get a baratric model. I've already broke the mechnism once. Lucky it was still under warranty. Because of my height, I opted for the "tall" model. Bad news is, I've only got a 30 inch inseam...my height is from my butt up. With my legs right at the front edge, I've still got 6 inches of seat behind me.

    Health insurance will pay (partially) for home assistance...but...I need a Rx from my PCP stating I need one, and the OT won't come out until the doctor's office contacts them, and then they'll evaluate what I need and recommend a PCa.

    We just had the bathroom remodeled. Iowa Vocab Rehab paid 40%...but...their rules say if I'm not in a wheelchair (which I can't use without remodeling the whole house), I don't need a roll in shower. Difference in price was about $500. Toilet and basin are fine.

    So, I'm trying to figure out how to deal with all the "doesn't quite fit" crap...

  8. #8
    As gjnl says, if you're able to post pictures we might be able to think of some adaptations that wouldn't cost a fortune. For example, you might be able to replace that 4-inch high, 6-inch wide lip with soft half-round rubber or plastic tubing. Until you can make modifications or redo the shower entirely, look into buying a rubber threshold ramp.

  9. #9
    Senior Member willingtocope's Avatar
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    Oh yeah...I'm in the middle of nowhere Iowa. Nearest MS association is in Nebraska.

  10. #10
    Senior Member willingtocope's Avatar
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    And heres a link to the shower site..

    http://www.sterlingplumbing.com/onli.../1122779_4.pdf

    Not the exact model, but close enough. Contols are on the left wall (existing plumbing) and two sliding doors.

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