Monday, February 16, 2009

Spina Bifida Monday: Know Your Equipment Well

One of Esra's challenges with Spina Bifida is that she needs some help to sit. She does not walk or stand, but she has become a confident sitter. We are so proud of her. And her strength improves more and more each week, but without the support of her arms or a device, her sitting time can be pretty unsteady. This is certainly true of the bathtime. Since Esra needs some support while sitting, bathing can be quite the challenge. But she enjoys it nonetheless. Despite the slippery, soapiness of a full bathtub, she loves to take a bath. Both she and Estelle had become very proficient at signing "bath". As for me, I couldn't always say that I enjoyed doing the bath. Esra, is basically a big, wet noodle. And crouching over the tub to pull her out isn't getting easier. But I sure do love wrapping her up in her big towl and holding her tightly right after I hoist her out of the tub. Usually, Sam has to take over from that point, though because my back is too tired.

But things have gotten better and now its quite enjoyable, thanks to a Columbia bathseat we received second-hand. We used a bathring for a long time, but she was starting to need a bit more support, especially in the slippery surfaces of the tub. About a year ago, I had seen a bathseat in the Rifton catalog. It looked perfect for what we needed. This one could recline and it had interchangeable leg supports, so one could sit closer to the tub or be at standing height of the caregiver. And I didn't even think that there could be different types of designs of bathseat. So, I told our rehab vendor to order the Rifton.

Now we have a beautiful, only-used-once bathseat sitting in our shed. We tried it once, but Esra was terrified of its reclining motion. {I now know better not to adjust a device while she is in it.} The next time she saw it, she protested. And that was the end of that. So, Esra has continued to sit more and more precariously in her bath ring, her legs to long to get her in or out of it without two people. One to hold her and the other to shimmy her legs in and out of the the rings.

But things are different now. She sits so comfortably in this new seat and she plays pleasantly with Estelle. They splash and giggle. And its so much easier for me to do bathtime. I could use a bigger bathroom to fit her wheelchair and a changing table. Ooooh, a pocket door would be nice too, but those are dreams for the next house. We're just grateful for what we've got.

Moral of the Story: Know Your Equipment Well. If you can't, find someone who does. Never assume that what a vendor shows you is all that is available. You always have the right to research your options, choose a different product and/or vendor and get what works the very best for you.


Mema said...

Such an incredible pic of the girls looking a teach other. How sweet. I pulled myself off facebook today because they changed there terms to be able to use any and all info for whatever they wish... not that they would but that they could. I love you all very much and can't wait to see you!

Erin said...

Such a cute pic of your girls...And that's so great that you found a chair for Esra--she'll love the baths even more!

Katie said...

Peggy and Sam-
The pictures and story were wonderful! Your entire blog demonstrates your strong focus on family values and the Lord. I am so glad to hear you all are doing well. It was so great to see you at the reunion and get the opportunity to meet the whole family. Esra and Estelle are both true gifts from God! I don't have your email, but hope you check these notes so you know I am thinking of you:) My email is if you get a chance! God Bless you and have wonderful day!
Katie B.

PerkinsClan said...

What a cute picture of the girls! And your blog is adorably decorated. What talent you have!