MEETING THE PUBLIC RESTROOM CHALLENGE
USING A WALKER AS 'TOILET ARMS'
I don't know about the rest of you, but I have residual effects and physical limitations from an auto accident I had six years ago. I have a damaged left ankle, a damaged right knee, and damaged rotator cuffs in both shoulders, but the right is the worst.
That makes it difficult for me to stand up from any furniture that doesn't have arms, especially low sofas and beds.
But nearly impossible for me were standard toilets. I don't know who invented them, but really, why do we insist on having toilets so low to the floor, not even standard chair height?
My answer was to place a portable commode (a sturdy toilet seat stand that gave me arms to push up from) over the toilet and raise it up so that it was easy for me to sit on and stand back up. And it worked. At home.
But public rest rooms, unless they were equipped with a handicapped height toilet and grab bars, were out. (Most restaurants and small shops and places of business do not have such set-ups.)
Consequently I never went anywhere for years. If I did venture out, I simply did not eat or drink anything before I left, and abstained from food and drink for the duration of my outing.
I would take my commode with me when visiting understanding family members, but, stout-hearted as I am about not letting things embarrass me, it's still awkward coming in someone's door with a freaking toilet chair. Not to mention cumbersome, and space-taking in a car loaded with Christmas gifts or Thanksgiving Day goodies or birthday gifts on the way to a celebration.
I recently was staring at my portable commode, and I realized that basically, it's a walker with a toilet seat. And I got to thinking about that. The only difference is that a walker's "arms" would be too tall for a standard toilet.
But the idea intrigued me. I scoured the internet for just the right walker: no wheels, and with support bars beneath the handles. I found one, and it was inexpensive as disability equipment goes; $30.00 - $40.00 (Mine was $30, but I believe the price has risen, please use the links below to check current prices and order). But it was perfect: Beneath the top handles of the walker on each side were reinforcement bars the I could use to push up from when seated on a low standard toilet. And when I talked to a friend of mine about it, he said that he could cut the walker's legs down if necessary. (It turned out not to be, at least for me.)
I bought the walker online (see the links below) and gave it a shot.
I adjusted the walker legs to their shortest setting, aimed the walker toward the toilet tank without it actually touching. Then, back-facing the toilet as usual, while holding the hand-holds of the walker, (or the reinforcer bars beneath the hand-holds), I guided myself onto the toilet, and then back up. It worked! It wasn't quite as easy as using it with a handicapped-height toilet, but I could do it without aggravating my residual injuries!
I started using the walker all the time and stored the commode. I bought another walker to leave in the car. It folds flat, and while the commode was embarrassing to haul into homes of friends and family or into restaurants, the walker is not. It folds flat, fits under a restaurant table if needs be, and it can remain in the car until I need it.
The walker freed me, body and soul from one of my most annoying limitations! I hope you will be able to use this idea and step out on the town more yourself.
Public Restroom Challenge met!
Medline Deluxe Two-Button Walker