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I Can't be the First One to Think of This

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  • I Can't be the First One to Think of This

    First just a little bit about me. I'm 50 years old and a T2 paraplegic for 15 years.

    I was inspired when I bought a pair of one piece "Spanks-type" foundation wear. They have a "gusset" at the crotch that is an opening of cottony, stretchy material that women are supposed to be able to pee through. I don't see how it would work for someone who can pee normally, but it's perfect for someone who uses a catheter. The first pair of pants I did were my sweats. Due to shoulder problems, for several months I couldn't go to my office, shopping or anywhere else that would mean putting my wheelchair in and out of the car and pushing my chair for extended periods. This also meant that I could no longer (GOD it was/is still painful) to put on pants while sitting in my wheelchair. Because I didn't have to get all dressy while working from home, I took a seam ripper to the crotch of my sweats and made an opening for me to reach my lady parts to cath. It's been working just fine.

    Now, months later and after shoulder surgery, I'm feeling better and am going back to the office to work. I am wearing dresses every day, and frankly, my workplace is very casual, and my dresses are pretty nice, so I always felt out of place in a nice dress and heels. So last night I was gazing longingly at my collection of slacks (I am really a clothes horse and am embarrassed for anyone to see just how full my closet is :-) I took a pretty expensive pair of slacks and this morning ripped open the crotch. So far so good, I just need to experiment with exactly how large the opening needs to be so I can get in there with enough room to push my undies aside and get to where I need to.

    I guess now I'll go to the fabric store and find something that can be sewn into the crotch to resemble what I have in the foundations that inspired me. Next I would like to try a pair of jeans. I think they will be harder because the denim is stiffer and not as giving.

    My question is this.....does anyone SELL pants like these? I find it really hard to believe that I am the first person to think of this. Maybe I can begin marketing and making these? Would you buy them? They say "necessity is the mother of invention......"

    Thanks!

  • #2
    I know women who have revised their slacks crotch area much as you describe. They either do it themselves, or have a tailor or seamstress who does alterations do this for them. I have never seen anything commercial. Some put velcro into the crotch seam, but this can be scratchy and cause skin problems. I know others who have had an "invisable" plastic zipper sewn into the crotch (from one inseam to the other). Some report that they just leave the seam unstitched, and if they have a good sitting posture with legs together, it never shows even if not kept closed with something. I know when my mother did intermittent cath (for many years) she preferred wearing skirts and dresses and stopped wearing slacks just for this reason as well. (KLD)
    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

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    • #3
      It's great that you found a way that works for you especially to make your life easier and more comfortable too. As KLD stated there are women who have opted to do similar alterations. I think you probably could look into perfecting your design and getting a patent. I do suspect that there is a specialty market for it. I think you would need to find a manufacturer that would be interested unless you took the whole thing on yourself to do a start-up. That takes money though. I don't know much about manufacturer's of women's clothing focused on wheelchair users and health/mobility issues, but those would seem the best choices.

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      • #4
        WG, I'm on the road for another week but I'll try and dig up a woman who is trying to design real workable clothes for wheelers of all levels. I owe her a sketch of an inexpensive jacket I found in Italy as an AB that would be very useful now in both a very dressy look and a warmer, casual look before a real parka is needed. If I don't get back to you by the 13th please PM me.

        A friend of mine uses velcro in her jeans and no scratches but it needs sewn down to the inner flat felled seam in real jeans like Levis or Wranglers by a serious sewing machine.
        Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

        Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by wheeliegirl
          I find it really hard to believe that I am the first person to think of this.
          You're not. The main reason being that we all find the quickest/easist way to pee and adapt our clothes ourselves. That doesn't mean there isn't a maket for it. With my wranglers, I only open the crossing seams enough to fit a cath through. Then, I cut off the bottom of my right pocket and use that opening to navigate the path & the cath. Cutting such a tiny opening in the denim seams means you need nothing to close it with.
          ____________________

          "We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."
          - Barack Obama

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          • #6
            I have done zippers, and velcro. I find an opening from front to back, starting around the point that all four seams come together works best. But I sometimes need to look to cath. If you cath entirely by touch, Flicka;s idea about the pocket opening sounds great! If the search option is working yet, there have been some treads about this a few years ago, as I got the idea here.
            T7-8 since Feb 2005

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            • #7
              So far I've done a pair of slacks and a pair of light-weight denim jeans. I had to extend the opening of the slacks so it was large enough to accommodate my fingers to cath. Part of the challenge is that the material can shift during transfers, leaving it too far to the left or right, and since I'm sitting on the fabric I can't pull it or adjust it. it eventually worked out fine. I haven't done a heavier pair of denim jeans (yet). So far i'm very happy with this solution, and if i could, i'd kick myself for not doing it earlier when I first thought of the idea years ago! It's too bad that they don't talk about this kind of stuff in rehab hospitals. I only have one friend, a pen pal in Australia who uses a wheelchair, and she only wears dresses and skirts for the same reasons.

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              • #8
                when i first broke my back, i had my friends sew velcro in the crotch. she would just unstitch about 5 inches down each leg, and put the velcro there. it was strong enough to hold, couldn't notice it at all. now i don't need them, my pants are always a little big. i've got the hang of things a little better than i did the first year into this....

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                • #9
                  Sorry, it took awhile to remember the name of the woman starting up the adaptive clothing line. I'll ask Ruth to check out this thread so if you have pictures she may want to see them.
                  Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

                  Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.

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                  • #10
                    all my pants have zippers on the crotch. my mom came up with this idea for me. thank to her i can cath my self no foley needed

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