by Don Wilson
Some might recall a message that I posted a few months ago concerning information on bidets. What I was looking for was a bidet that could be added to an existing toilet. I felt that it would enhance the personal hygiene for Bettie Jo, as her progression had made that a greater problem. It seemed that no one had a bidet.
I began searching the net and found that there were many models that basically replace the seat on a standard toilet. I found a larger number than I expected. Some seemed economical, other models were quite expensive. I had to insure that the model selected would fit the base that we had. As I reviewed the available models, I noted that most had some sort of operating console on the side. As Bettie Jo’s right side is stronger than her left, I then concentrated on those that had controls on the right. With more thought, I began to worry about the possibility of Bettie Jo hitting the operating console with her power chair. I could envision coming home to find the electronics lying on the floor.
I then began looking at models that had remote control. I found three that were comparable. Each offered a heated seat and heated air for drying. Two of the three had two wands for washing, the other only one, and in all cases the wants are self-cleaning.
The Luscence is a Japanese design and the price listed at the manufacturer’s site is $1,200. The price from Sanicare Bidets is $560. The Toto Jasmine is also Japanese made with a suggested retail of $899. The Sanicare Bidet site sells the unit between $575 and $679 depending on color. I had some concerns about warrantees after learning that the distributor was not authorized to perform service on the Luscence or Jasmine. The best deal that I found was a model called Sanicare Ivy, priced at $449. It comes in white and ivory for either a standard or elongated bowl. Yes, all three models are available from the same site.
Installation is very easy, although some models strongly suggest having a professional plumber do the installation. In the Ivy, the seat of the toilet is removed and a docking plate is attached in its place. Then the bidet unit locks in place. It is easily removed for cleaning if necessary. The water supply valve in installed in the line feeding the toilet tank. While some models suggest installation to a standard grounded 110-120 volt circuit, others (and I) strongly suggest that a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter).
The temperature of the seat, the cleansing water and the drying air is adjustable at three levels. The seat has a sensor to insure that the bidet works only when someone is sitting on the seat. There is even an alarm that can be sounded in the event of problems.
I had been talking about a bidet for quite a while, but Bettie Jo was very cool to the idea. Here is what she had to say just a few days after I completed the installation:
"Morrie Schwartz (Tuesdays with Morrie) made the memorable statement that the thing he hated most about having ALS was that someday someone was going to have to wipe his ass, and it would be soon! I shared that fear. I was using a variety of products for personal hygiene, all with less than satisfactory results. At the risk of sharing "too much information" by day’s end I was afraid that I smelled like a diaper pail.
Don had talked about getting a bidet for years but I always resisted. I was hesitant about the expense. I also had my doubts about effectiveness. I did not think that a stream of water without any sort of cleaning solution would be effective. I was wrong! My bidet, affectionately known as my "butt washer", surpasses my wildest expectations.
My bidet uses a gentle stream of warm water to wash. It has a warm air dryer as well. It does such a thorough job that I don’t know how I functioned without it."
This is certainly an "item of convenience", and would not be covered under Medicare or insurance. However, if the means are available, a bidet improves the quality of life, and in my thinking, is fully worth the expense. If you are interested, check out: www.sanicare.com
Saturday, September 8th, 2012
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