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    A Lift to my Spirits

    Ever since Herman hurt his knee this past spring, I haven’t been able to take a whirlpool bath. (We do have a shower, not to worry.) And Terry couldn’t lift me out of the tub either. So began my search for a lift.

    My criteria for a lift was pretty stringent.

    A. It had to lift me into my three foot high Eddie Bauer four poster bed, get me in and out of a floor level tub and also get me in and out of my shower.

    B. It couldn’t be in the way or look too “medical.”

    C. It had to be affordable.

    My first inquiry led me to an $8,000 lift which was out of the question. A regular Hoyer lift, which is the hand crank kind often used in infirmaries, simply couldn’t work for any of my lifts because of the variety of situations. And my second inquiry yielded a $5000 quote. Still too much.

    So onto the Internet Herman went. He simply put in a search for accessible lifts in Google and a web site called www.planetmobility.com came up. They claimed to be the cheapest site around for accessible goods of all kinds. What I found there was a variety of different lifts, including ceiling lifts.

    The one I got is called a portable Voyager, only weighing 20 pounds, and can be used in a variety of situations. The only other difficulty was the cost of ceiling track to go along with it. Sufficient track for our various lift locations would have cost as much as the lift itself ($2300 including seat).

    So Herman called our contractor Emmanuel Scarpa, who built our house. He had just finished installing some heavy duty barn door tracks and thought they might work. When we compared that track to what the medical durable goods company had for track, we could see no difference except price. The barn door track and hardware cost us about $100 as compared to $2000 for the “medically approved” track.

    I took a bath the first day it was installed. This was after both Herman and Emmanuel had done chin-ups on the track and lift to show it was safe. Since Herman is nearly twice my weight, he proved his point. I soaked in the tub with whirlpool jets going for nearly an hour. There’s nothing like a hot bath on a cold night.

    So, thank you to Herman and Emmanuel. I couldn’t have done it without either of you.

    Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com