Library Collections: Document: Full Text

A Bachelor

Creator: R.B. Gordon (author)
Date: 1970
Publication: Rehabilitation Gazette
Source: Gazette International Networking Institute

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My physical condition can be described as a respiratory polio quad, with good hands, fair lower arms, poor shoulders, and no muscular strength elsewhere. Vital capacity is approximately 750-800 and I use a Thompson portable respirator while sleeping.


Physical rehabilitation in the sense of muscle building was very limited, and therefore became more of a program to learn trick maneuvers with the assistance of mechanical aids. In this program, I was assisted greatly by Mrs. Joan Sikler, R.N., Pearson Hospital rehabilitation nurse. Her special training, practical know-how and persuasive personality made all this possible. Some of the mechanical aids that I use were created by the staff at Pearson Hospital, and some were created by my friend Phil Andow who is an inventive genius. I will always be indebted to these people for their patience, understanding and technical ability.


After sixteen years of hospitalization I am able to live alone in an apartment and carry out all the daily requirements without assistance. However, I do accept help from time to time for shopping, house cleaning and showering. Some of the mechanical aids that I use include:


Modified Bed: Electric gatch to wind head up and down. This enables me to sit up in bed for dressing and transferring to wheelchair. Nylon sheet contoured to mattress for slippery sliding surface. Special footboard to position feet correctly and relieve pressure on heels. Sliding board, pedestal-mounted, padded, and nylon-covered for transferring to wheelchair. Respirator mounted on left side within reach. Pedestal-mounted telephone on right side; can be used while sitting or lying in bed, or from wheel-chair.


Modified Wheelchair: My swivel, detachable backrest is used simply as a lever. When you lean back at the top, the bottom is pivoted forward. This enables me to move my seat forward in the wheelchair. Being detachable, it allows me to back up to the bed, remove the back, lie down on the bed and slide onto the bed horizontally. To make: remove standard backrest from wheel-chair. Remake backrest with two lengths of pipe and a pair of swivel connectors.


Commode Wheelchair: This is a converted wheel-chair with the cross members moved forward under-neath, padded commode seat and swivel backrest, waterproof and collapsible. The main advantage is that I can wheel myself around. This is not possible on a standard commode with casters.


Shower Chair: This is a converted wheelchair with wheels removed. It sits on pedestal legs inside the bath tub, Sliding board is used to transfer from commode to shower chair.


Auto Radio-Telephone: This is connected to the regular telephone system and I can call anyone from my car. Previously I had had a citizens band two-way radio, but with it I could only talk to other citizens band radios.


Auto Hoist: This is a Wolfe lift, with modified sling arrangement, mounted inside my Buick Skylark. I wheel up to the passenger door, connect the hoist to the sling that I am sitting on, and the hoist lifts me into the car. I then collapse the wheelchair and start it into the rear seat area. Next I move to the driver's side with the assistance of a slippery nylon seat cover and an overhead bar mounted across the inside of the car. I can then pull the wheelchair into the rear seat area.


My work requires that I go out to the office each day. Once again I am indebted to two wonderful people, my employers, Bob Millar and Frank Seipp of Broadway Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Co., Ltd. They literally lifted me out of the respirator, wheeled me behind the desk, and told me to get with it. They have put up with my idiosyncrasies ever since. I had no previous training for office work, but knew a little bit about refrigerators. Since then, "on-the-job" training, augmented by night school and a correspondence course, has gradually made me aware of what's going on around me. Most of my work now is interpreting specifications and blue-prints, contract costing, and selling commercial refrigeration and air conditioning systems. It is very interesting, with great variety, and can be done mostly at an office desk.


Address: 1008-77 Cardero Street, Vancouver 5, British Columbia, Canada.