June 22, 2022

An Unexpected Delight

Yesterday was a gorgeous day.  I took time to sit on my patio because I have never forgotten how depressed I felt when I was kept inside for 3 months after I had a stroke.      I had a stroke in March so I did not get to smell the blooming trees and flowers, feel the sun on my face, or feel a breeze.  Yesterday the sun was hot but there was a cool breeze.  I got to hear the breeze rustling through the trees behind my house and feel the wind blowing my hair around.  I craved these sensations when I was home-bound.

I also got to watch white clouds in a blue sky floating towards the Atlantic ocean 40 miles away.  I grew up in Chicago were the sky is usually a light uniform gray so I have never gotten tired of looking at the beautiful New Jersey sky.  I used to think artists who painted skies like this were imaging them.


June 13, 2022

A Window Into My Soul

For a month I have worked hard to get rid of many possessions before I move to an independent living facility in Michigan.  A friend has loaded up my car five times with things to donate and put possessions on the curb on four garbage days.  This friend has expressed remorse about some of my decisions to get rid of stuff.  Today I realized why I have been steadfast and relentless about my decisions to get rid of so many possessions.

For 18 years I have been living in a spacious home that makes me happy.  I would be depressed if I saw boxes stacked against the living room and bedroom walls of my apartment because they do not fit in my walk-in closet.  

Getting a bigger apartment to store my stuff would use money I could spend on fun activities, like going on a tour of a local winery and hearing great musicians drawn to perform in Kalamazoo by the big music department at Western Michigan University.  

On my deathbed I believe I am going to regret the things I did not do rather than the possessions I gave away.            I cherish my trips to Paris and the Grand Canyon.  homeafterstroke.blogspot.com

June 3, 2022

Reasons for Letting Go

I am getting ready to move to an independent living facility in Michigan and have spent the last three weeks giving nice things to charity and throwing others in the garbage.  Living in 9 different residences in 5 different states over the years has given me plenty of practice with the process of letting go of objects.  Early moves when I was in my twenties taught me to think about getting rid of belongings that my husband and I never took out of boxes since the previous move.  

I am also motivated to let go by the high cost of facilities for old people.    I used graph paper to plot the small apartment I can afford and put my furniture in it.  I  learned I have to get rid of more than I anticipated.  Every piece of furniture has to do double duty.  For example, my small kitchen table will be used as a desk and a breakfast table.  My small bookcase will hold belongings I used to keep in the big buffet below and a big roll top desk.  My radio/CD player will sit on top of the bookcase. 

The payback for a stressful move is that I will be in a safe environment and be closer to my family.  homeafterstroke.blogspot.com

May 26, 2022

Open & Close Cereal/Bread One-handed

Opening and refolding the plastic bag inside a cereal box is a two-handed task.  I would have to use my teeth and my sound hand.  Instead I take the bag out off the box, cut one side open (see arrow), and pour the cereal into a container.  Each morning my sound hand flips open the lid and pours.

To open a loaf of bread, I pull off the plastic tag and use the pointy end of a bottle opener to rip open the inner plastic liner.  

To close, I fold the open end of the bag under the loaf (see arrow) and slide the loaf inside a bread container made by Rubbermaid.  When I turn the container upright, the weight of the bread keeps the folded end shut.  The next day my thumb flips the lid off, I put the container on its side, and slide the bread out.  homeafterstroke.blogspot.com

May 20, 2022

Downsizing Begins

After my visit to an independent living center in Michigan, the reality of downsizing became real. After I drew my furniture on a grid it became clear that the one bedroom apartment I can afford is too small for my beloved oak furniture.  For example, it took me two days to empty my desk and find a tiny alternative.  I am testing the efficiency of my new arrangement instead of waiting to figure it out as I unpack in a new environment.  It is better to find out now what I really need and what I can live without.  I took photos to help me remember the complicated new configuration.  homeafterstroke.blogspot.com

From 200 pound monstrosity to   

My old night stand

May 12, 2022

Lucky Shoes

I never win lotteries or raffles so I was stunned when I had good luck finding a discontinued shoe I bought repeatedly for 18 years.  My brace man trimmed my leg brace to fit the shoe shown below.  Buying the same shoe over and over meant I never had to try on shoes to see if they fit.  On a lark, I went to the shoe store I have been using for 18 years and asked if they had this shoe stashed in the back even though it is no longer made.  I was stunned when the salesman walked out of the back room swinging 2 boxes with a grin on his face.  They were not only size 6 double wide, they were the beige color that goes with everything.  He was glad to sell them and I was thrilled to delay wondering if my brace would fit a new shoe. homeafterastroke.blogspot

May 4, 2022

Equipment that is WalMart Cheap

As an OT I shopped in expensive medical catalogs.  Now I use a cheap over-the-door plastic hook to hang a terry-cloth bathrobe on a towel bar.  Another plastic hook keeps the head of the shower hose off the floor of my tub when I am finished showering.

If I did not have non-slip shelf liner under the pill container it would start slipping away from me as soon as I reached in to get a pill.  I am glad non-slip shelf liner comes in neutral colors that do not clash with my decor because I have small pieces of it all over my house. 

April 27, 2022

Bathing When I Travel

I am traveling at the end of April.  I have not used this shower stool for 4 years so I practiced using it home before I left.  Rehearsal always gives me confidence. 

Caution.  This stool may not be safe if you need assistance to stand up or sit down or are heavy.

It is not safe for me to stand in the shower.  When I travel I use a folding shower chair.  This adaptive device allows me to visit with family and friends and present at conferences.  I bought the stool at a local medical supply house. Before I bought it I wanted to see if I could open it myself and sit on it to feel how sturdy it is.    It is too big for anything but the widest luggage so a luggage saleswoman suggested I transport it in a nylon garment bag.

When I travel I cannot count on towel racks being close to the shower.  Before I get in the shower I check to see if the toilet is close to the shower.  If it is far away I drag a chair from the bedroom and place it close to the shower.  Then I open a towel and put it on the closed toilet seat or chair.  This gives me a clean place to sit after I get out of the shower.  I also put a folded towel on the closed toilet lid or a chair so I can dry myself.  After I am dressed I take the stool out of the bathtub.  I fold the stool and place it on the towel covered toilet seat and use the ends of the towel to wipe off the water.  homeafterstroke.blogspot.com

April 13, 2022

Good News about arthritis in my Good Hand

Eighteen years of overuse damaged the cartilage in the finger joints of my sound hand.  This produced bone-on-bone pain and swelling.  Fear about losing the use of my good hand motivated me to follow the joint protection principles I wrote about on February 11th, 18th, and 25th.    

After 2 months the pain and swelling in my good hand receded.  For example, a painful hand no longer wakes me up before my alarm clock goes off.  To see if the brief pain in my middle finger also disappears I decided to stop doing crossword puzzles.  Currently I am reading books I got from the library while I drink my morning coffee.  Thank God I have a book easel.  My post of          April 28, 2020 shows how I read hands-free.   

Now I have to figure what to do with my aching good shoulder.  Moving objects I use regularly to the bottom shelves in my kitchen cabinets has helped.  Now I have to tackle the ache I feel when I drive for 45 minutes.  When I visited Point Pleasant Beach recently, I was concerned about the ache I felt in my shoulder towards the end of the ride. This was a surprise because my good shoulder does not hurt when the steering wheel pulls to the left as I slow down to stop for a light.  However, keeping my car in its lane during long slow curves on the highway takes sustained effort.  My plan is to see if new tires and a front end alignment makes a difference. 

Bottom Line: Pain turned into a guide for what to do about arthritis.  homeafterstroke.blogspot.com

April 4, 2022

My Pill Map

I take 10 pills a day so I need a system to make sure I take them correctly.  I am highly motivated because my pills can help prevent another stroke.  For example, taking a baby aspirin every day thins my blood.  Once a week I open all my bottles to put my pills in a 7 day pill box.  Two or three times a year I put 2 tiny pills in one day's compartment but no pill in the next day's compartment.  They are so small they can slip out of my hand without my feeling it.  I catch this mistake with my back-up strategy. 

When I dump the pills I need for the day, the first thing I do is put my 3 bedtime pills in a small blue container.  Fortunately, these 3 pills are oblong and different colors.  Then I put my daytime pills on a hot pad that has a floral pattern and stitched seam lines.  I place each daytime pill in the same position to create a V shape.  If there is a gap in the V shape I know I am missing a pill.  

Fortunately I have excellent pill recognition.  For example,  I know the baby aspirin has rounded edges and tiny letters printed on one side (top arrow).  The medicine I take for my thyroid is also a tiny white pill, but it is completely flat and has a line through the center (bottom arrow).  homeafterstroke.blogspot.com