Hiding Medical Equipment
Growing up, I never felt embarrassed or ashamed of the extensive medical equipment that was on display in my bedroom.
A BiPAP, suction machine, air concentrator, cough assist, pulse-ox monitor, hospital bed, and ceiling lift system were all visible to any visitors. With people just being polite, nobody ever pointed them out or asked about the gross liquid in the canisters when my mom would forget to empty the suction machine.
Creative ways to organize medical equipment
But even with everything in plain sight, my parents and I always found creative and aesthetically pleasing ways to organize my crap. I think anybody with SMA can agree that it’s difficult to not feel like we’re living in a hospital.
So, for example, in my childhood bedroom, we used a very sleek Ikea computer desk (no longer available to buy) to hold my BiPAP, cough assist, and suction. The compartments were discreet enough with drawers to stow away medicine and miscellaneous items.
When I moved to my apartment, I wanted something less plastic and more urban-chic. I decided on two six-foot ladder shelves next to my bed which looked pretty decent and were functional for my needs as well as providing extra space for pictures and memorabilia.
I thought those items provided distraction away from my equipment that was more visible than any other cabinets I had previously used.
Self-conscious of all my equipment and supplies
I don’t know when it happened exactly, but unfortunately, my early 20s came with new anxiety of how I appeared to even my closest friends and family. I became self-conscious of all the extra stuff I need daily just to stay alive, stuff nobody else I knew dealt with.
To me, my equipment was ugly and was a constant reminder of my disability, and made me appear sickly. Not to mention the IV pole I now had standing around thanks to my g-tube.
A cabinet solution to conceal medical equipment
Recently I custom built a new home, all accessible for me with a beautiful bedroom and en suite bathroom. A detailed story on that in the future, but what was especially important for me was finding an improved cabinet solution to conceal my medical equipment.
My goal was to find something stylish and grown up with the function of having my equipment at the ready when needed, but also able to quickly hide any remnants of tubing.
Custom cabinets by my grandfather
Hours on Google and Wayfair, I found cabinets with sliding barn doors, but they were either not big enough or too expensive. Thankfully my grandfather loves building and, in the past, has crafted some complicated pieces including a ride-on airplane and car that rocked back and forth.
A bedside cabinet shouldn’t be a challenge for him. So, after a few weeks of sending prototype drawings and measurements, we decided on the final build plans. Wayfair did get some of my money as I ordered the barn door hardware from them.
Additional details on the cabinet
The dimensions are 44Wx22Dx35H. The back is completely open for ventilation and wires.
Each half is about 22 inches wide with adjustable shelves. On the right side that stays open during the day are two fabric bins that I bought from Bed Bath & Beyond which hold my medication.
Now I have a beautiful and functional cabinet that perfectly holds and conceals my medical equipment. The door to my bathroom also blocks my feeding pole and oxygen tank.
Interested to hear how you get inventive with your equipment.
Have you found an SMA specialist you trust?