Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Grab Bars and Bubble Baths

(Make sure to check out the pictures at the end of this post.)

Ashley took a bath Sunday night for the first time in two years. Before you say “EEEWWW”, she has been taking showers. But she really loves to take a bath. Unfortunately, the main bathroom in our house was not accessible, and as Ashley has grown and her seizures have increased, she really was not safe trying to move in and out of the bathtub.

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I requested that Ashley’s insurance, Virginia Medicaid, pay for accessibility modifications to the bathroom. That was 2.5 years ago. After my initial request, a struggle ensued that took us in and out of hearings, including a couple in Federal court, through denials and requests to recuse, and finally to victory. This post from June provides a little more detail into the wranglings we encountered. Today, however, is our day of celebration. The bathroom renovation is complete, and Ashley just can’t stop smiling!

So many people played a role in our success. At the end of June, I wrote a post toasting the attorneys whose persistence and commitment ensured that success. Today, I want to thank the person who actually did the bathroom renovation – Stephen Curtin of Curtin Brothers Contracting (curtinbrothers@yahoo.com).

I don’t know how many of you have dealt with Medicaid providers in the past, but my experience has seldom been positive. Medicaid programs are notorious for underpaying for services, and as a result, service providers are often not the high-standard professionals we expect. When I have found a Medicaid provider that does an outstanding job, it is because that provider has a real heart and commitment for service to people with disabilities. And Stephen Curtin definitely has those things.

Stephen’s work is true craftsmanship. He was a professional in the fullest sense of the word, and I knew just from watching him work that our bathroom was going to be exactly what Ashley needed. He listened to my concerns. He offered suggestions. And when he realized that I was overwhelmed to the point of indecision with all the choices that had to be made (paint color, tile color, shiny or brushed silver, etc, etc.), he offered to have his sweet wife help me.

Stephen was considerate of my family’s schedules. He was extremely neat and had you visited our house, you probably would never have known a major renovation was underway. In short, he was a perfect guest as well as a contractor. In fact, I was reminded of the old TV show, Murphy Brown. Murphy had a painter that was always around, and was an integral part of her life. The painter was there from the first show to the last. While Stephen was working, I wanted to be Murphy Brown. I would like him to always be around, and if I win the lottery, I will make sure he is!!

So thank you, Stephen. You are the reason that Ashley couldn’t stop smiling during her bubble bath last night. You are the reason she will be safe and able to progress in her self-care, and you are the reason I can rest easier now knowing my daughter has what she needs and deserves in a bathroom. Those things are so very important to me, and I know you know exactly what I mean…


Passageways are wider and the vanity is rounded - no more g-tubes caught and pulled out on sharp vanity edges.


Grab bars help Ashley in and out of the tub, and with moving from a sitting to standing position. All faucet handles are ADA compliant, and the shower controls were placed at just the right height for Ashley.


A grab bar by the toilet helps with Ashley's stability, and the bidet toilet seat - oh my, the bidet toilet seat!! That deserves its own post tomorrow!!

3 comments:

Amazing_Grace said...

All that hard work played off. Great bathroom! :)

little.birdy said...

Go Ashley! I am so glad that you were blessed with this gentleman to help you. And I would have to agree about the bubble bath...there's nothing like it! :D

autismfamily said...

great job in obtaining the equipment. Will have to read the June post. I want to get rails for my son to move from tub to shower, he is scared. We are renters though and have been looking around to see what my options are.

Very timely posting for me.