It was whilst working as a hairdresser that I started to experience some difficulties walking. What started out as a limp gradually deteriorated and in 2004 I was diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS. Although I am able to walk using crutches I had to give up my hairdressing career which I loved and I now work in the local college as an education support assistant.
Increased levels of fatigue
Having previously been a hairdresser my appearance is very important to me, but, as my mobility became increasingly problematic, I was forced to accept the uncomfortable fact that using a bath was becoming more difficult and causing me increasing levels of fatigue, not only physically, but, also mentally. This was a source of concern both for me and my friends and family who were mindful of the fact that I live alone.
To take a bath I was using a bath board which sat on the top edges of my bath. I had to begin by transferring myself onto the bath board while at the same time lifting my legs over the bath’s edge so that I was in a seated position. I found this very tiring and it was something I only managed to do with great difficulty due to my limited mobility. But, my physical exertions didn’t end there! Simple tasks like reaching out for the shower controls, shampoo or shower gel were a real effort and it made me question whether I could subject myself to this ordeal on a daily basis.
Unable to use a bath
I didn’t want to be reliant on carer assistance, but, the thought of not being able to use a bath was very difficult to contemplate as it represented a significant part of my independence.
Luckily for me, a friend told me about the Tern shower tray exclusively available from Adaptio.
When my bathroom was adapted I was adamant that I didn’t want my room to look clinical. My home reflects my personality and taste and this shouldn’t be dictated by my health. But, I needn’t have worried as the Tern shower tray that was installed looked very stylish. Further, the installation was quick and the tray was completely level with the floor. This meant there was no need for me to have to take a step up into the shower area, and I no longer had to make an enormous effort to lift myself onto the bath board.
I had chosen light coloured wall tiles for a fresh, modern feel, able to reflect light making the bathroom appear larger. A toughened glass screen also helped to maintain the feeling of space and gave my bathroom the additional touch of elegance that I wanted. In just a few days my old, inaccessible bathroom was a thing of the past!
Benefits were immediate
Now I have a shower tray which is completely level with the floor, it has an anti-slip surface to reduce the chances of me slipping and it contains antibacterial protection that helps keep the tray clean in-between my bathroom cleaning regime which is really helpful. I am able to transfer from my walking-frame directly into the shower seat within seconds. No longer do I have to go through the tiring effort of trying to climb onto the bath board!
The advantages of the Tern shower tray were immediate; the rotating base is powered by a motor and is operated by me using a waterproof, push button remote control as I sit in the shower and only rotates when I press the remote, so there is no risk of it moving accidently. No longer do I have to stretch to reach for the shower controls or shampoo! By pressing the remote control the tray’s base slowly starts to rotate in whatever direction I choose. When I am in a position I’m comfortable with another quick button press and the rotation stops. I have complete control of the tray’s movement, so when I’m ready I can rotate myself into a position ready to shower.
Effortless, safe and quick
Showering was effortless and took just a few minutes. Previously, the prospect of having to physically clamber up onto the bath and strain to reach my toiletries was sometimes enough for me to think twice about whether I needed to use the bath and maintain the basic personal hygiene that we normally take for granted.
The Tern has been a revelation. I now shower in confidence and complete safety. I have retained my independence within my own home and I feel completely safe when showering which now takes a fraction of the time it used to!
But I mustn’t forget a brilliant accessory to my Tern shower tray which has also made a real difference—the warm air body dryer! Due to my condition I’m unable to dry myself effectively using a towel but with a body dryer I don’t have to worry. My body dryer is situated discreetly in the back corner of the showering area and the dryer has a remote control which I have had wall mounted so it’s easy for me to reach. Once pressed, I rotate the Tern tray so I’m facing the body dryer and I then let the warm stream of air flow across me fully. In a few short, enjoyable minutes—without any effort on my own part—I’m completely dry. Not only am I dry, I have no smelly towels to wash, the room is warm, and the constant flow of warm air has even helped to dry the shower tray’s surface meaning there’s even less risk of a slip as I transfer back to my frame after my shower.
In short, the Tern shower tray has had an enormous positive impact on my life. I still have the day-to-day challenges of living with MS, but, it’s nice to not have to think or worry about the simple task of showering. Self-care is an integral part of my daily life and now I’m showering when I want and, thanks to the time it saves me, I can enjoy the odd lie in too!
Sharing my experience is hugely rewarding for me and it is with genuine satisfaction that I can say the Tern tray and body dryer have helped to totally transform my daily routine. It is my hope that other people might read about my own experience and benefit as I have and lead as normal and independent lifestyle as they can.