This past winter John’s back began hurting. Every time we would lift him it would hurt. I could no longer transfer him myself from his bed or bath chair to his wheelchair. I had to start using a lift. I also could not lift him over my leg anymore to pull up his pants. Getting dressed and going to the bathroom became a much longer task. I had to use a lift to go from wheelchair to bed. From the bed, I had to roll him back and forth while pulling down his pants. Then use the lift to go from bed to bath chair. After he used the toilet, I reversed the process to get back in the wheelchair. His school didn’t have the resources set up to be able to handle this change, so for several months, we were picking him up from school and taking him home whenever he had to go to the bathroom.
I found a friend, Terry, who sews and initially asked if she could put a long zipper in some pants with an elastic waist that we already owned with the thought that we could try to use a urinal instead of transferring out of the chair every time. It didn’t work as well as we hoped. There just wasn’t enough space to maneuver. We went back and forth playing around with different ideas until we discovered the benefits of having a separating zipper down each side of the pants.
Our life changed dramatically! For real. We can now open up the pants and sit them on the wheelchair. We can use the lift to sit John on the pants. Then we just zip the pants up. Amazing. We don’t have to lie him on the bed and flip him from side to side while trying to yank up the pants. And I’m sure this is much safer than when I used to lift him up and rest him over my leg while I pulled his pants up. This has been such a timesaver for school. He doesn’t need to transfer over to a toilet since he has plenty of access to use a urinal. This has been such a help for when we are away from home, too. Even if we have to transfer to a toilet, we still don’t have to worry about pulling pants up and down. Because we worked from scratch we were able to add in a couple additional features. The back of the pants are higher than the front. It was hard to find pants that covered all of John’s behind. I don’t know if it’s his body shape, or if it’s just because he’s always in a sitting position, but these pants cover everything they need to J Also, it was helpful to make the pants lower in the front. We found this to be more comfortable for him and it stays clear of his G-tube.
Visit instructables ( zipper pants ) for directions on how to make these pants. There are two sections. One for getting the pattern in the correct size and one for sewing the pants together once you have the pattern. Thank you to Terry for providing the instructions on how to sew the pants together!! I recognize that not everybody can simply run a python script to get a pattern, so if you are interested in making the pants, but don’t know how to run python, contact me and I can run the script and send a PDF of the pattern to you. After that, if you don’t know how to sew, hopefully with the instructions and the pattern you can hire someone to make them for you.