Welcome! My health problems add craziness to my life. Here I post ideas I've tried, also questions I'm still asking. I have an electrolyte disorder. So I have crazy neuro stuff like complicated migraines, alkalosis, loosing my speech and paralysis. (including legs and hands) Little by little, foods had to go, they affected my brain and immune system. So I avoid like the plague: soy, dairy, gluten, nightshades, and try to avoid refined sugar. My body requires pink salt and electrolytes. I now use a speedy red wheelchair that I love. I've craved a simpler life, but how do you do that with crazy health stuff? I've already had a fire and flood, so I really don't value possessions. I value people and experiences. I am not compensated for any posts, just my opinions.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Making doorways easier for wheelchairs

I quickly found it challenging to go through a door, then turn around and try to close the door behind me, while in a wheelchair. Reaching backwards to close the door doesn't work well for me. Those arm muscles don't work so well and I usually just end up hitting my wheels or loosing my balance. This is a simple modification we did:
Handles with levers are much easier to open with weak hands, as opposed to a round door knob. Round standard door knobs requires a gripping motion, which is more hand strength, than a push down with your hand on a lever. Then a handle on the other side of the door helps me pull the door shut, so I don't have to try to reach backwards. This door is in a corner, so I couldn't shut the door behind me by myself until we added this handle. After testing this door and finding doors became a challenge and a barrier, I knew I didn't want to deal with this every day in my own room. So during our remodel, I asked the builder to not put a door up leading into my bathroom. (master bath) That decision has made life much easier for me. Especially trying to work in already small and tight spaces. This door pictured has worked so well for me, that we're adding handles to other doors in the house now too. We found we needed to purchase larger screws to get all the way through the door. With the doors being hollow, we wanted the handles to be more secure.

A year ago I read a book I enjoyed called, "Rolling Back Through Life Disabled", by Mike Shirk. I bought it on Amazon Kindle.  I thought he was very inventive and thought up a lot of affordable creative ideas. This is a link to his blog. I particularly like his hooks he made to grab and open things easier. His writing was the first I read, that got me thinking about clothing and where seams should go. His ideas helped get me thinking about simple things around my house like modifying my door. http://lifedisabled.com/category/mobility/home-modifications/
I also saw on the Paralyzed Living You Tube channel, (on the house tour,) his house
door inside the garage had a handle. As always, I am not compensated for these opinions. Just like to share things that helped me in case they help someone else too.
See this video at 6:16 and 6:50 for his door.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Adaptations for weaker hands

I drop and break things all the time. My fine motor skills aren't very good any more. My arms and hands have stayed weak for 3 years now, so I decided I need some new ideas, and decided to learn more about quadriplegic adaptations. I started looking at pictures and reading more about what quadriplegic said helped them and why. Depending on level of SCI (spinal cord injury) quadriplegics have a wide range of what they can do with their arms and hands.

I'm right handed, but my neuro stuff (and facet joint issues that affect hands) are worse on the right side. When my doctor saw me last, he said my hands weren't strong enough to qualify for hand controls (for driving.) My left hand is a lot stronger than my right hand.

I found that a lot of ideas involve strapping the hand to things. After studying several pictures, I decided to experiment. I ordered industrial strength Velcro that's sticky. I also ordered Velcro that you sew to things. Two things I drop a lot are my phone and my kindle. After holding them for a minute my hand goes totally numb, I can't keep my grip, then drop whatever I'm holding. Or my hand cramps and starts to hurt. I made an elastic strap and sewed Velcro to it. Then I did the corresponding other side of Velcro in industrial strength, to the back of my phone and kindle.The elastic is rather loose. The way I set up my kindle, my hand is strapped to the right side, so my thumb sits on the front to tap the pages forward.

I've been testing this about a month now. I say this experiment was a huge success. I only made one strap and alternate between the two devices. I think I want to just keep a strap stuck the back of both. So I will make more elastic bands with Velcro sewn on. This way every time I pick up my phone, I just hook my hand through the back.  It's less stressful, (and less frustrating) not worrying about dropping and breaking so many things. It's physically much easier to hold things this way. It's a rather inexpensive adaptation too.

I did a similar thing with my violin bow, so I'll post about that soon.