Mrs. Lion, the Builder

I’ve been researching wheelchair ramps. We built a ramp for the front steps some years ago when our senior dog was having trouble with stairs. It didn’t meet with any requirements other than her making it up easier. We still have it but it’s much too steep for a wheelchair.

Lion is getting depressed about how slowly his recovery is going. He tells me he needs help (encouragement) to get up and around, but then he tells me he’s dizzy or unsteady. I can’t fault him. He knows how he feels. But I feel caught in the middle. If I leave him alone he thinks I’m tired of helping him. If I try to encourage him he says he can’t do it. This afternoon he had a doctor appointment for his eyes but he was too unsteady to go. Plus, there was the issue of how to get him out of the house. Hence, the wheelchair ramp research.

We have a fifteen inch rise to get to the front door. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, the ramp needs to be fifteen feet long. Yikes! That will put us way out into the dog’s potty lawn. We don’t usually clean her poops up from that lawn and she’ll be very confused by any ramp, let alone something fifteen feet long. I’m wondering if ten feet will work. It’s still on the doggie lawn but not as far.

Since the deck guy abandoned his work and the landlord hasn’t found anyone to finish the job, I’m thinking of pirating some pressure treated lumber from the back yard. Shhh!!!! Don’t tell anyone. With any luck I could have some sort of ramp done in a day. It would be no frills, of course, but who needs frills? I just need to get Lion into the car the easiest way possible.

Once I can get him out of the house, he can make it to doctor appointments, physical therapy, the store, a picnic in the park, the opera (who snuck that in there), etc. If he’s more mobile then maybe he won’t feel so bad about his recovery time. I’m sure he’s got cabin fever by now.

Heigh ho, heigh ho, it’s off to work I go. Mrs. Lion’s Wheelchair Ramps, can I help you?


  1. Mrs. Lion,

    Have you considered a return ramp? 8 feet in one direction to a platform at 8 inches off the ground and then 8 feet up in the opposite direction to a platform level with the door’s threshold? More work, more material, but navigable and safer. If it would help, I could sketch a plan for you to follow. The least I could do for you guys.

    Having had surgery similar to Lion’s, I can tell you that I was weak, unsteady, dizzy, feeling helpless and hopeless, and GROUCHY until P MADE me eat, and MADE me move around. It had not a thing to do with FLRD but my sweet bride was RELENTLESS. It is remarkable how quickly things happen when the body is not starved and is moving.


    1. Author

      I was considering an L-shaped ramp since that would head it along the sidewalk. Definitely more work but a better idea. Lion doesn’t want a ramp. He says we won’t need it for long and it’s a waste of time. He also said building it wouldn’t make it any easier for me to get out of the house. I guess it never crossed his mind that I was trying to make it easier for him to get out. He’s the one who gets cabin fever. Not me. I’m staying home as long as he needs me.

  2. These updates are fantastic. Love your relationship and appreciate your sharing it with us.

  3. Don’t worry about the ADA…those ramp specs are for independent manual wheelchair users. Since you’re going to push him anyway just build what works for you. You could always get a temporary aluminum ramp.

  4. If it’s only a 15 inch rise you can do it in 8′. Just maintain a 2 inch per ft rise.

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