Thursday 8 august 4 08 /08 /Aug 22:13

on a bus in GenevaA couple of weeks ago, I went to Geneva to be part of the UK CEDAW NGO delegation. As usual with any trip as a disabled person there were all the preliminary research to do - far more than a non disabled traveler.


I decided against flying ( fear of damage to my wheelchair en flight) in favour of taking the Eurostar and then the train to Geneva which necessited a bus trip (bus 65) across Paris from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon.We missed our connection because signage is terrible, we couldnt figure out the station and they wouldnt let us get on the train because although there were still 10 minutes before the train was due to set off, we were not there half an hour before as required (oh yes, we did prebook assistance). We had to wait 3 hours for the next train.


But I had also got to find an accessible hotel room for the 5 days we were to be there. My fellow NGO colleagues were staying in a non accessible hostel so that was ruled out. A search on the internet did not result in any useful leads. A trawl through the NGO website for accessible rooms gave me a few to call with no positive answers but a suggestion from the

International Network of Women with Disabilities connected me to my first break - Hotel Silva, wonderful place, simple but accessible and central. I should add that many NGOs seem to use this hotel and my fellow disabled CEDAW sisters (from Cape Verde and Serbia) were also staying here and I met the wonderful Shivani Gupta from India there too - a fabulous bit of serendipity.


There are a few niggles - the entrance is at the back, the beds are so close to the wardrobe you can't really use it and the lift is tiddley small. But there is a fridge and a microwave in each room ( we brought our own kettle).  Something that I did not realise is that Swiss plugs are not the same as standardised European plugs - so we were very lucky that we had one socket which we could use with our adaptor and I had the presence of mind to bring an extension lead - for all the charging we needed for our electrical appliances - wheelchair, laptops, ipad, mobile phones etc. I forgot to tell them that their shower chair was wobbley and the locking system did not work properly. Other wise we were very happy with the room. Eleanor who shared the room with me was pleased by the balcony (for smoking). There is an Ibis nearby on Rue de Grand Pre but it was more expensive - I didnt manage to check out the accessible rooms but they told me they had roll in showers. We also had dinner out round the corner at a Vietnamese Restaurant La Maison d'Asie which was pleasant - there were quite a few accessible restaurants at rue de la Servette (also tram stop Poterie to the train station).


We didnt really go sight seeing but walking on the lakeside was quite pleasant, we did eat out with the whole group. And being me, my first photo was not of the scenic lake but an accessible portaloo! Geneva had some really steep ramps too - surely they cannot be for wheelchair users?


I was also glad I brought my new trabasack max with me with all the documents etc I had to carry around. I could also use it as a mini desk at times. The transport system seems to be fairly accessible - both buses and trams. The bus drivers were the most polite and helpful I have encountered ever in my life. AND you can fit 2 wheelchairs in the same bus!


I wish I could say the same for the trains - the staff were also polite but they were adamant that we could not go except on our designated booked time ( to be sure our assistance would be there). Also that there were two parts to the train station - one for France/Europe and the other for within Switzerland.It was s little confusing.


Our journey back was considerably more stressful than I had anticipated - the bus number 65 was diverted to Place Republic and did not go to Gare de Lyon anymore. I didnt know this but using guesswork - we got to Bastille and walking along some of the way managed to catch up with the bus 65 and caught our Eurostar connection back to London in time. Parisian taxis are not usually accessible.

By eleanor_ila - Posted in: aids for getting about
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Monday 4 march 1 04 /03 /Mar 17:35

I think I have blogged about fracturing my knee previously in October. Apart from having to get used to having support with transferring using hoists and 'banana' /transfer boards, I had to experiment and learn to use urinals and bedpanss when I am on my own. I am still squeamish about mentioning them but when you need to go, you have to go..and there wasn't always someone to hand to help me transfer.


However, it meant I had a chance to try out the products that I was selling. I love the design of the Uriwell, it looks cool. Here is a video showing you how it works




well, its great for the whole family. You can even get one for kids - however, its not so good if you're not a very mobile female. And certainly not if you need to sit at the edge of a wheelchair trying not to spill any. I am sure it would be fine for the male anatomy. It might even be okay for a female who can stand.


For women, there is also the slipper urinal. A white plastic urinal with rubber end cap for emptying, it is useful for bed or wheelchair use and is autoclavable to 135 degrees. It only holds up to 1 litre and you need a certain dexterity to be able to extricate it without spillage. From personal experience, you have to be extra careful when on a lurching train journey. But it does have the advantage for wheelchair users that if you are out and about and not sure how accessible toilet facilities are going to be, that it is portable and reasonably discreet.





  If you are laid up in bed a bed pan might be a better solution - to avold the likely possibility of spillage. I find that with some care, it can be used independently. You have to be quite adept in getting it under you but there is enough depth so that you can get it off from beneath you without getting your bed wet.



Would love to hear other people's views:-)

By eleanor_ila - Posted in: independent living aids
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Thursday 20 december 4 20 /12 /Dec 13:54

Now winter fuel bills are not part of independent living equipment but many disabled and older people are stuck at home because of the weather.


So I thought it would be good to alert you to the fact you can have £130 off your winter electricity bill.


This is information from Paul Lewis' blog. ( read full details there).



You can read the details of each six and how to apply here


There is a Warm Home Discount helpline on 0845 603 9439

By eleanor_ila - Posted in: info
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Wednesday 19 december 3 19 /12 /Dec 18:02

Merry Christmas




Happy New Year!




all friends and customers!


Please look out


for our new online store coming next year!





By eleanor_ila - Posted in: independent living aids, market stall, Coventry
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Sunday 25 november 7 25 /11 /Nov 15:36

I've been quiet lately because I fractured my knee and ended up in hospital for a longish stay while they sorted out care for me to be safe at home.


This means I ve been using equipment that I ve never had to use to before- like a hoist, urinals, hospital bed and banana board with slipsheets.



I had an Oxford Midi with the sling. It took me sometime to get used to being hoisted but once I got used to the support workers hoisting me, I found it helpful. The hospital OT came out to show me how it should be used and what straps should be used.


As a result of needing to be hoisted, they also insisted I had a hospital bed. With a pressure relief mattress so that I wont get pressure sores. I'm sure they meant well but I ve never had pressure sores ever before and this mattress was such that I could not grip to move positions in bed.I asked for bed barriers and/or a monkey bar to help me move. They did but not before I started having muscle spasms due to sleeping in one position for a couple of weeks!


I was so happy when they finally took the mattress away, some people swore by them but I think it depends on the individual. I am able to move my limbs in bed and that mattress actually hampered me from relieving my muscles. My masseur says she thinks I have sciatica now and my GP says just to take pain killers. So just a bit of warning.



This is how the bed is set up now.

By eleanor_ila - Posted in: independent living aids
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