Patricia first came into contact with TAD back in the 1980s, when her husband had a stroke and TAD volunteers made a number of devices for him. Patricia therefore knew who to call when she found she needed assistance after she had her leg amputated four years ago.
One problem was that she likes to work in her small garden, but was having difficulty moving around it. Although Patricia has a number of mobility aids, including a scooter, a wheelchair, a walking frame and a walking stick (‘it’s like a disabled warehouse’ she commented), none of these were really working in the garden.
She can’t bend over to reach the garden beds from the chair or scooter, and she found that she would move away from the frame or stick while concentrating on some activity and then have trouble getting back to it.
The idea was therefore to create a guide wire system that would enable Patricia to support herself while walking around the garden, without getting in the way when she wanted to reach the beds, and preferably leaving her with one hand free to carry things.
Volunteer Charles Bright made one support for the wire by drilling a hole into the upper end of a galvanized iron pipe that already stood in one corner of the garden bed, at about 180cm from the ground. Into this he fitted a welded eye bolt, undercoated and painted so it won’t rust.
For the other support he inserted a dynabolt into the brick back wall of the unit, and attached another eye fitting. He then strung a light clothesline cord securely between the two. Charles also completed several other projects for Mrs Ross, including modifications to a commercially purchased garden stool and adjusting the brakes on her walking frame. In the case of the stool, he replaced the existing surfaces with wider and more fully padded ones, as Mrs. Ross found they were too narrow for her to feel secure.
However, over time she found it too difficult to carry the stool around the garden, so she has since passed it on to a friend who has had a knee replacement. TAD is pleased to hear that devices that can no longer be used by the original client continue to assist other people, in situations where it is safe to do so.
Patricia says that she thought the guide wire project was a bit pathetic, in the sense that it was so simple. However, she says Charles did exactly what she wanted, and made a very good job of all the projects he has done for her.
According to Patricia, TAD’s service is also invaluable because volunteers will often do small running repairs while they are at the house, which greatly eases the difficulty involved in getting these jobs done. ‘You are vulnerable when you’re like this, living alone with reduced mobility,’ she said. ‘You know you can trust someone from TAD.’