Modified

Welcome back… I know my next blog was going to be about my first job, however, my current job has had me super busy lately, with me being “out” of town more than “in”. It was on these overnight stays that I had revelations about the little things we often take for granted, so I decided to change-up my topic and share those with you.

Modify means to make partial or minor changes to (something), typically to improve it or to make it less extreme.

Modified has become my new favorite word. Let me explain. It all started with a commode. Yes, a commode. For many, that may seem weird, but let me share with you some of my experiences and it will make a little more sense.

Usually, in story writing one starts from the past and moves forward, today I am going to start with the present and reflect back.

So, like I said I have been in hotels a lot lately with my job.  On this particular trip, I stayed in a hotel for 4-nights and though the room was nice, the commode was low, really low. I literally used the countertop to lower myself down and pull myself back up. I know, I really need to strengthen the muscles in my upper legs but who has time to exercise these days, not me. Okay, so I need to make time to exercise so I will put that on my to-do list.

After the first several uses I had gotten used to it and I was better at expecting the long dropdown. On the 3rd day, we had checked out of our rooms as we expected to finish our survey and return home. However, that did not work out as planned, so in the late afternoon, we were not able to find rooms to stay at our home away from home that week. Therefore, my boss made reservations for 3-rooms at a different hotel and when we arrived separately the woman working the counter said they have one king suite, one queen suite and a double modified. I like having 2-beds as I use one to put all my stuff on, so I took the double. She had called it a modified, I had no clue what that meant at the time, and it really didn’t matter as long as it had 2-beds, plus I knew my coworkers liked the “big” beds so I wanted them to get what they wanted as well.

Upon entering my room, it looked like any other double room to me. But then it hit me, the need to go to the bathroom that is. This is when I realized that “modified” must be the new friendly term for handicapped. Yes, my room was handicapped and the quick need to use the commode made me smile when it was “just my height.” It was what is known today as “comfort height.” I know that commodes are often called this because when we built our home 19 years ago we installed a comfort height toilet. And trust me when you have used one as long as I have, it is a big deal.

I had to laugh at myself that I was so excited to have a tall toilet. I am sure no one else would be so happy, but it is the little things in life that bring joy to my day. So of course, I then had to reflect back on my toilet experiences over the years. And yes, I have had plenty.

The first bad experience that I have never forgotten is using the handicapped bathroom at Value City back in the 80s. I came out of the handicapped bathroom and a woman was rude to me about a young person using a handicapped bathroom and didn’t I know those were for people who were handicapped and I should be ashamed of myself. I was so embarrassed I couldn’t even tell her that I really needed to use that bathroom. I will never forget how she made me feel.

It doesn’t bother me now and honestly look forward to the day that someone says something to me so I can say something back. I have rehearsed in my mind many responses. It won’t be a rude response but a thoughtful insight or maybe something funny that will make me laugh anyway. I can sometimes be witty. I have gotten plenty of “looks” but no comments from any of the lookers, so I haven’t been able to try out my creative responses. I wish I could say I just smile and walk away but I don’t, I usually try not to make eye contact and quickly wash and go. I guess some things still do bother me, a little anyway.

I quickly learned that even with a comfort height toilet, sometimes you still need a little more. After hip surgery, I really needed the arms to help me up and down. We had a bedside commode that we had used in the past so we brought it from the basement and placed it over our commode. Well without too much detail I learned that there was open space between the seat of the bedside commode and our commode and that can be a wet mess. Lesson learned is that they make an item called a splash guard for bedside commodes for a reason. On the bright side, I have been able to share this story with others to help them from making the same wet mistake. Plus, it gave them a little laugh as well. Laughter is such good medicine.  And I don’t mind others laughing at me or with me, I do it myself all the time.  My husband and daughter have more than once looked at me when I am so tickled that I can’t even tell them what is funny and said, “you are weird.” My thought is “tell me something I don’t know.”

Handicapped bathrooms are wonderful but not always practical. We went out-of-town once and the only room available was a handicapped room which worked fine for us as we were accustomed to handicapped living. However, some things “just don’t make sense in a handicapped bathroom.” This one and I have since then noted the same issue, had a flat roll-in shower, with a shower curtain that did not reach the floor. Our niece took a shower, and she called out to say there was a problem. And boy was there, we found the entire bathroom floor standing in water because it was flat and the water did not all run into the drain as quickly as it was coming out and because the curtain was too short even more water was in the bathroom. The worse part was that we used all the towels to dry the bathroom. We were a little worried that we wouldn’t be able to get enough towels for our group, and yes it was a small group as we don’t like to spend money and as usual, had more people staying in the room than we were supposed to have. You can pile kids just about anywhere and they don’t mind. In the end, we were able to tell the front desk the dilemma and get more. I think it was Ryan,  my brother, who is quite a talker, that was able to get more, probably more than we had to begin with knowing him.

Several years ago, I had surgery, and we were going out-of-town to one of Bailey’s travel ball games, and they did not have a handicapped room available, so we had to “pack a raised toilet seat” and take with us. Bailey was embarrassed and wouldn’t carry it in for me go-figure. It was lightweight and packed easily into a white kitchen garbage bag. It worked great for me, but no one else wanted to sit on my seat so it was a little of a pain in the butt to have to take it on and off and more than once it was off when I would need it and need it quick. See I have this bad habit, my friends will agree with this, that I hold my water a long time, and then when it hits me I better be close to a commode. What is it about getting close to a commode that makes your body have “to go” even worse? Or is this just me…that might be an entirely different story so for now, I will end on a note of being happy that I am modified-in more ways than one.

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