Monday, May 19, 2008

Concerns: That No one Else Suffer

Monday May 19, 2008

Dear Mr. Eaton

I am paralyzed from the waist down in a wheelchair, unable to walk. I am new to my condition having spent over 52 years as an able-bodied person.

I am grateful for the help and support that SCAP afforded me, enabling me to return to my

However several major things were not attended to and were not installed correctly.
What seemed accessible was not.

I desperately hope that my disheartening and difficult experience will save others in need from the same heartbreak.

My ramps, installed in September of 2007 by Pyramid Ramps, appeared in pictures to be too steep. I expressed this concern and was assured they only "appeared" too steep.
They were. Neither ramp met ADA guidelines, including those for a foot per inch of incline. The boards warped. Some are spaced, frighteningly far apart. The front ramp, inexplicably and sloppily installed half on dirt and half on the sidewalk, began to sink into the spring ground. It is too exhausting to recount the numerous emails, calls and discussions and reassessments in an effort to get them fixed.

As of this date, May 18, there are still issues which i am left to resolve myself. The front and back are both too steep. I cannot go out my front door unaided.I can exit and enter the back, as long as I don't carry anything. Last week, I fell backwards as I returned home from grocery shopping, as too steep slope acted on the bag of groceries. Fortunately the bus driver rushed over to right me.

A 2.5 inch step was left at the front of my house at the end of the ramp. At the rear the too-steep ramp terminated in an un-level, mixed surface walkway such that only three wheels touched the ground.

What was the role of the so-called disability expert in this? How could you install a ramp and leave a 2.5 inch drop, which of course, means no access. How could you install a ramp and leave ground that i could not roll over?

I have spent hundreds of dollars on these fixes-- money I don't have. It would have been nice to have had this considered, discussed and explored by the so-called expert/advisor, so that the funds raised for house amendment could have been raised for this as well. It would have been nice to know that still un-useable front ramp was to be my "emergency ramp." I did not know this at the time of the rehab, and had I, it is something else I would have asked my fundraisers to consider.

My shower was to be a roll in shower. It has a hard lip and slopes downward in TWO directions.

I was once independent in my bathing, now I must engage someone to assist me as I cannot safely access the shower alone. This is what should have been done for my shower a collapsible, roll-over barrier.

What was the role of the so-called disability expert in this? I remember her saying that she was on site for much of this work and yet the shower is unevenly installed. It is still the wrong kind of floor....another thing i had asked about -- I had asked for tile-- and was told that this type of shower was a cost effective solution. Not for me as I now must pay hundreds of dollars for a home health care aid.

I had asked that the shower not have a pre installed chair. I had said no to the chair. This chair is emblematic of the failure to listen, consider or even understand. The fold down chair was against the wall of the shower, more than four feet away from shower controls!!!! How could a paralyzed person, were she even able to land on the too-small spot, turn on the shower? When I pointed this out I was told well, just fold it up. As I was told repeatedly that this project strained the budget why was money wasted this way? Insult to injury, when I attempted independent access using a shower wheelchair, the foldup chair got in the way.

The chair took two men hours to cut it off, as they could not remove it and to my horror, they contemplated breaking my new wall to de-install it. Can you imagine my frustration? Ugly
pipe pieces stuffed with silicone now protrude from my wall.

My options are bleak: reconstruction, which would require me leaving my home, which I cannot afford or even figure out how to manage, or to live, only able to shower, when i can hire assistance.

I bought a shower wheelchair in an effort to not have to hire assistance, I had to pay for the removal of the 2.5 inch step and for some paving so i could attempt to exit my house independently and I pay for a home health aide-- something I did not have to do before. Thus far, fixing the fixes has cost me a devastating and unexpected $1500 and the costs
continue to mount.

These costs could have been avoided if someone who understood even a little of what a paraplegic needs, had been employed.

That this was not so, is a travesty. There was a window of opportunity to do it right the first time, while I was not in my home. This has gone.

Again, I hope this helps someone else not suffer from failed expectations or be stuck in a home that doesn't work.


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