Renovations for Ioana in our Home
Ioana had a wonderful day yesterday. Any day that starts with a day at Paul Derda Recreation Center is always a good way for her to begin. Each Saturday she and Pam take part in a water aerobics class and Ioana is a popular member of the class. The people greet her warmly and of course love her heart warming smile. At the end of the class she enjoys hitting the hot tub and chatting with the other people there.
She worked all day yesterday on walking with her shoulders down and deliberately adjusting her gait. It means she moves a little slower now and it is challenging and tiring but in the long run it will be a game changer for her.
We’ve decided against obtaining a handicap tag after conferring with the physical therapist. She needs to build endurance and it is okay for her to walk a little farther. We still look for a closer spot to park when out and about but she is managing just fine.
So many people are coming together to create a community that is helping Ioana. A dear, close friend of mine has made some modifications to our house to make life easier for Ioana. He donated his time and all of the materials and I want to share with you some photos of what he has done. It is another shining example of someone who wants to offer a gift of talent and time to help Ioana. I’m constantly reminded that all of this is possible because of relationships that span the globe. So much work was done many years ago by our Romanian friends to begin this process. I’m honored that they entrust us with Ioana and have confidence enough in God’s plan to surrender her for a short amount of time to see how her life might be affected by her time here.
We added a grab bar outside of the shower for Ioana to safely access going in and out of it. Before we added the shower chair she would have to stand on her knees to shower. In the corner you can see a shelf that also doubles as a grab bar for her. Finally, the shower hose makes it easier for her to wash her hair and shower. The shower is easier for her than dealing with a tub and it just so happens that our main level has a shower so this works out great for her.
The area that was most challenging for her was going in and out of the house from the garage. She couldn’t do this without help from someone. Bill designed, built and installed this fantastic railing. As he was putting it up and almost finished he said to me, “Go ahead and give it a shot.” As I began to vigorously tug on it he said, “Hey, take it easy, that glue still needs to dry!”. I told him that she’ll be pulling on it with all of her strength when she uses it. Sure enough the first time she used it he was amazed how she utilized it to get into the house. This is not a decorative railing, it had to be functional!
It is a fantastic asset to have. Now when we get home after being out we just set her walker at the top of the stair and she can come in all by herself without our help.
Our television is in the loft on the second level of the house. Years ago when we first talked about Ioana coming to live with us Pam stated “If she wants to watch TV she needs to get upstairs on her own, we’re not carrying her up and down the stairs.” As we surveyed the situation it was clear that the banister was not really sturdy enough for her to use as a support in the way that she needed to use it. Bill came over and took a look at it and agreed that something needed to be done. However, we didn’t want to alter the look of the stairway too much since this was only something that was needed temporarily while Ioana is with us. In the photo below what you see is just about the finished product. Before Bill went to work there was no post in the middle of the banister. He cut away the wall, (which he is patching back up here in the photo) to access a stud behind the wall. He then made a new post to match the end posts of the banister. Next, he cut a 3.5 inch square into the bottom of the banister and slid the post down from above so it could be tied into the stud behind the wall. After securing it all to the existing banister he put a gloss coat on it, put the piece of wall back in, taped and textured it to finish the job. I knew he did a good job when Pam came home, walked right past the banister and didn’t realize he had finished the job until I said “Did you notice that Bill added that third post to the banister?” It passed the test! Thank you Bill for being such a good friend and support to us during this time. I love you brother!