Iraq War Veteran, Changing Places user.

I was blown up in Iraq in 2003.

I was left paralysed and bladder & bowel incontinent.  Disability really can and does happen to anyone.

Man dressed in armed forces clothing in a sandy environment with an army tent in the background.

However, I had one good arm left  and was able to manage my bladder and bowel needs very well using Conveen sheaths and rectal irrigation along with anal plugs. Life continued.

Until I fell at work last year, trying to access a toilet, and badly broke my left shoulder.

Due to my fall, I am no longer able to weight bear to transfer myself to toilet myself, so I’m now a pad wearer and Changing Places toilet user. My employer admitted liability in that I shouldn’t have been working at the location where I was based, but that doesn’t change what has happened.

War injuries made me a wheelchair user. Injuries from using poor toilet facilities left me a Changing Places user.

Changing Places toilets, with the right equipment, are vital.

With the right ceiling hoist, I can hoist myself to the toilet and manage my own care needs.

People seem to think that wheelchair users who can’t stand don’t need access to toilets. But we still do!

This is how I do it.

I use Prism medical dual access slings for my toileting, basically put it allows full access to your clothing from the waist down & is completely out of the way for both front & back so you can remain wearing it while you use the toilet.

1. I put my sling on & just tuck the sling straps under my legs & behind me while I’m sat in my wheelchair.
2. I position my wheelchair directly next to the toilet & ensure the hand remote for the hoist is dangling next to my wheelchair.
3. With a bit of shuffling I lower my trousers & underwear just under my knees.
4. I undo my continence pad (I’m prescribed the Tena Flex) range by the continence service & ensure its fully unfolded and not caught in the sling straps.
5. I connect my sling to the hoist bar.
6. I hoist just high enough so my bum is clear of my wheelchair rims & my used pad remains on my wheelchair seat.
7. I use the hoist to transfer over the toilet & then lower myself down onto it.
8. I use my wet wipes, gloves & antiseptic spray to freshen both front & rear as these areas have been in prolonged contact with urine.
9. I bag up the used pad, gloves & wipes.
10. I unfold & fluff out my new continence pad & lay it out in position on my wheelchair seat.
11. Once toileting is finished I begin the lift & as before I only hoist high enough that my bum is clear of my wheelchair rims & hoist over the new pad.
12. I lower myself down onto the new pad, using my spare hand to ensure the pad is in the correct places & complete the lift to fully sit down onto the pad.
13. I make sure the pad is fully fitted.
14. With a lot of shuffling, I pull my underwear & trousers back up.

I am in charge!

A smarltly dressed and smiling couple pose. The woman is stood behind the man, who is using a wheelchair. SHe is wearing a summery floral dressm the man is wearing black trousers and a lilac shirt.

Man using a hand powered cycle. Man is wearing a grey cycling helmet, light coloured T-shirt and grea trousers. He looks determined. There is what appears to be a forces flag attached to the rear of his cycle. Signs behind him state "Asda Foundation Jane Tomlinson's 10K series.





Unfortunately, I also know how hard it is without proper facilities.

And I know how hard it is to use the law to bring change.

I contacted an employment solicitor when I had issues with toilets at work. They said it was an employment issue & put me in touch with employment specialist, who said it’s really a Union issue, but my Union said it was an Employment Law issue & referred me back to the employment solicitors’ who said that the best they could do was write a stern letter to my employer.

So much for the Equality Act?

My employer (yes, Changing Places users have jobs too!) is now fitting a full Changing Places toilet into the staff area, with a hoist I can control both up and down & side to side. But it has taken almost a year, after I pooped myself twice at work, to be fitted.

Anger at treatment against people with disabilities just doesn’t come close to describing my feelings about what has happened to 12 year old Adam.


51 year old Adam
Changing Places user
Iraq war veteran.

I have described how I can hoist myself using a ceiling hoist. The photo below shows a mobile hoist and it should be obvious why one is no use to me.

The right equipment enables. The wrong kind disables.

A mobile hoist.

5 thoughts on “Iraq War Veteran, Changing Places user.

  1. Thank you for this Adam.
    Thank you for being blunt without being course.
    Thank you for being capable and not culpable.
    Thank you for what you do AND what you did.

    Keep on carrying on, Adam.
    ALL of us are one drop, one bomb, one car, one bike away from being a Changing Places user.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. A beautiful and perfectly said comment. Many of us would find it too difficult to talk about these things. This is true courage.x

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Simon. I will never stop fighting for my son’s right to a full and active life.

      Some lazy journalism created a situation where some incorrect information was put out. By the time they took it down, others had already copied it.

      But I am made of tough stuff and have been supported by some truly brilliant people who want to help.

      Sometimes it takes a big story to get things moving.x

      Liked by 1 person

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