A Resident’s Perspective – The Toilets Story

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. June 2014

I know, what on earth is she talking about now? Well you might question this topic, but if you are in for a bit of fun and education, do read on. I talked with Melissa Thoemke of the activities and pool center to get her “take” on the appropriateness of this topic and she thought it to be appropriate.

How spoiled have we become living in an “elder friendly” or “elder code” resident community? Some things that we found very different in our homes when moving here are now hard-wired, it seems, into our brains. Life here works so very well as we age, mature or in my-speak, grow incredibly wiser. There do exist in other environments some interesting things that turn out to be “gotchas.”

A recent fund-raiser from our old community took me down the road in our little fast car to visit old friends, report on our settling in and play some tournament Scrabble. I left the cats in the able hands of George. The trip is 770 miles one way and needs an overnight on the way down to N. Calif. Having packed a lunch for on the road, the only stop I needed to make was for a forbidden McDonald’s Caramel Frappe.

Before ordering my treat, I promptly used the facilities. As I am not disabled yet, I always use the regular restroom stalls. What happened was a bit comical, and I was so very glad no one was watching. As I went to sit down, I fell down the extra ½ foot or so to the seat. Having gotten used to our tall toilets here at Panorama in our homes and public places, this was a bit of a shock. Good that I didn’t try to catch myself and pull a shoulder muscle. There were no grab handles. But I DID feel exceedingly silly.

All well and happy with my treat of Frappe, down the road I went to overnight at GoldBeach as I usually elect to go down the OR coast as much as possible off I-5 to Florence. The Jot’s Resort was fun and inexpensive and besides two DOT worker trucks, I was the only resident in that large complex, off season and mid-week. Exhausted after 10 hours at the wheel enduring much road refurbishment and detours, I just wanted to stretch out. A lovely room on the Rogue River was quiet and sunny.

I had moved all my stuff up to the second floor; it was time to use the facilities. Can you believe that for the second time I dropped to the seat of the toilet that was the usual ½ foot lower than the ones at home? Muscle and brain memory being what it is, I vowed not to do that ever again.

When I arrived the next day, I regaled my chums with reports on unexpected happenings encountered on the trip down. Folks laughed at my story. When I talked with Melissa Thoemke at the pool center, asking if this might be a reasonable tale to put in the resident’s blog, she was quite enthusiastic. We all know the leg strength that needs constant work for us to be able to get up from chairs (and lower toilets) and she stresses working on that muscle group in her fitness classes. So I have shared this tale with you.

Two things learned from this trip: Our old home isn’t home anymore and “look before you leap” or at least “look before you sit.”

Sandy Bio

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