Post Polio Disabled David Seeks Government Grant For Walk In Tub
by David Andrade
(Buena Park, CA, USA)
My name is David. My home consists of my youngest daughter, her husband and two grandchildren and also my ex-wife, who keeps our home in order and helps care for the grandchildren.
I just celebrated my sixtieth birthday. It was a small celebration with plenty of the hugs and kisses. I had been receiving birthday cards the whole week earlier from rest of my 6 children and family.
I have a daughter and her family who live in Arizona and a son in New Mexico, which along with their card were one of the first of many phone calls I received that day.
Since my day came mid-week and so close to a much bigger holiday, Easter, not all of my family was able to join us because they are spread out so far.
Also with the price of gas and the general condition of the economy they have to watch their budgets.
Despite all that, the cake and ice cream and the traditional singing the Happy Birthday song were never better, as it is every year.
I was born in 1951. In 1952 a year not unlike many of the preceding years where for decades there was the annual concern and even fear of the poliovirus.
Throughout the country, public recreation areas would be closed whenever an outbreak occurred.
I have no recollection of becoming ill; I was just 18 months old when I contracted the disease.
I do remember the feeling of being able to climb on the couch and riding my first tricycle and the feeling of strength that comes with growing.
Then all of a sudden I remember lying on my back and not being able to move.
Many years later I met a boy in the hospital who had contracted the poliovirus at ten years. I told him I didn't remember getting sick and asked if he did and what it felt like.
He told me he felt like he had the worst flu ever, that his muscles were burning like they were on fire.
I'm glad I didn't remember.
I had had enough pain from all of the corrective surgeries from my shoulders, hips and ankle which all later heeled and with vigorous exercise and lots of practice enabled me to live a full life as a man a husband and father.
Like many others, I have been left with prominent limitations of strength and motion, which have progressed, with my age.
As a young man in my twenties and thirties I was at my peak with my abilities as most guys are.
But there was never any question that I have physical limitations and was always subject to the occasional misstep and fall to the ground and have the scars to show for it.
I had heard of what is known as "Post Polio Syndrome" which is the decline of one's abilities. Some have described it as feeling they contracted the disease all over again. So the difficulties I am feeling now are not unexpected.
From the time I was seventeen I have been working in some capacity.
I was fortunate enough to have worked at what was then known as the Rapid Transit District (RTD) the primary public transportation provider in Los Angeles County.
I held that job for over twelve years and in that time was awarded employee of the month many times during my stay.
The obvious reason for being chosen for the recognition was exemplary work performance and going the extra mile.
Whenever I was called for overtime to take the place of other who did not show up for their shift I would always be available.
I had a large family, eight children in all, six of which were my stepchildren (although I never prefixed their names with step because they were all mine) and I needed the cash.
My employment with the company was started by the good graces of a man in H.R. named Mr. Channey.
When I earned my first award I ran into Mr. Channey in the elevator and he congratulated me for my accomplishment.
He looked at me and also told me that he took a chance on hiring me because it was thought I would not have the energy to work eight hour shifts five days a week let alone achieve such recognition.
He told be he wanted to be my mentor and help me progress with my career with the company.
But he passed away shortly after and although I had a very good record with my stay at the company I was never able to make any progressive moves.
I am not making any claims or excuses. I was only a disappointed that no one else saw in me what Mr. Channey did.
I was also feeling in my body the slightest of signs of the Post Polio Syndrome, which at that time I was totally unaware of.
I felt I had to move on. I tried insurance sales but this didn't prove to be the lucrative move I had hoped it to be and was even more physically demanding and I was feeling it by then.
At this time of my life, my main source of income is Social Security Disability, which because of the very decent wage while at the transit district my benefit is adequate for my basic needs.
My medical needs are handled through Medicare and my HMO program that provides for my motorized chair, which is my vehicle of freedom.
My major income is my social security disability benefit, which is just enough to take care of my basic needs and obligation such as rent, utilities, medicines (only on occasion) food and clothing.
These are personal needs as my daughter and her family have their own obligation and are just making it for their needs, but together we surviving.
My doctor was Doctor Jacqueline Perry of Rancho Los Amigos Hospital in Downey California. Her original prognosis for me was to be bedridden and wheelchair-bound for my entire life.
She and I are pleased that this did not become the case. I did get out of the bed and for the longest time was not wheelchair-bound.
I learned to walk with and without crutches.
I've played ball with my boys in my backyard.
But there was a time I was just learning to care for my personal needs. I clearly remember the liberation I felt when I was able to go to the bathroom to relieve myself in either capacity and handle the cleanup.
I was fourteen years old when I learned to take care of myself and shortly after I was stepping in and out of the bathtub to shower myself.
It was almost a religious feeling to finally be self sufficient and although my brother didn't outwardly complain to be the cleanup man I had the feeling of being a captive to my inabilities to care for myself until then.
I am much older now and things are becoming more difficult and now getting in and out of the bathtub is truly difficult now days.
I have even gone from showering regularly to now as needed which might only be once a week.
These days I have constant pain from my legs to my back. It seems to be a vicious constant cycle.
I recently have been seeing an advertisement on television about an easy access seated tub called the Safe Step Walk-In Tub.
I believe this therapeutic tube with its easy access and safe seating would be invaluable for a safe way to meet my physical and hygienic needs and could add to the quality and safety of my life.
It has become extremely difficult to stand for the time it takes to shower. I have fallen twice recently in the shower and luckily without injury.
In each instance I have needed paramedics to come to get me out of my tub. This is scary but in both cases I was not alone in the house as someone was there to make the emergency call.
I do not shower any longer alone in the house. I had a representative of the Safe Step Walk-In Tub and I feel very confident with their product.
The tub is made in the USA where their competitors are not. The contractor is a well-known company in this area.
I was given a firm price, not an estimate, of the complete project of $18,600. It would take 3 days max to complete.
There is a lifetime warranty on the tub and 10 years motor and pump, which are for the whirlpool jets all included (not an extra).
I wish to thank you for your consideration and any help you can provide in pointing me toward funding to cover the cost of the tub.