Tackling life-changing disability
Not many men in their 50s would decide to cycle from London to Paris, nor take up wheelchair rugby.
Yet that is what Dave Ralph from Letchworth has done.
The former garage owner suffered a prolapsed disc at work a decade ago, but carried on working, with the result that he severely damaged his spinal cord; remedial surgery failed. He has also had both shoulders replaced. But he has taken up wheelchair rugby, playing at least twice a week at top level, and undertook a charity hand-cycle from London to Paris to raise money for spinal injury charities.
“You adapt and overcome,” he says. “Half the fun in life is adapting, although I have learnt (eventually) that if it hurts, don’t do it.”
The philosophy he has applied to all aspects of his life- even in the bathroom. His injuries limited his ability to clean himself after using the WC. “I had already had the toilet raised to help me, but it was getting more and more difficult to clean myself, as I couldn’t get my hands behind my back. I wouldn’t expect my wife to wipe my bottom: it’s embarrassing!” explains Dave.
A friend told him about Closomat shower toilets, so he asked his Occupational Therapist about the product; under a Disabled Facilities Grant, a Closomat Palma Vita shower (wash and dry) toilet was installed at his home some three years.
Adds Dave, “I am so grateful I have it. It is brilliant. I just push the pad with my elbow, and the Closomat does the rest.”