January 27, 2019

Walking in the Dark

My love of being outside at night began when my mother decided I was old enough to sit on the front porch on cool summer evenings.  I loved watching the street lights sparkling through leaves on the trees and being a part of quiet conversations.  So when my brother suggested we see the Christmas lights at the Brookfield Zoo I was eager to go.

I did well while it was still dusk (photo on left).  When the sun went down (photo below) I had trouble seeing where vertical was.  My stroke hit the bridge (pons) to the cerebellum where balance is controlled.   
As it got darker I started guessing by watching the dark outlines of people walking in front of me.  This made me lurch from side to side to correct the poor guesses I made.  This rocking motion wore me out and brought my walking to a halt.  Walking for years down well lit streets did not prepare me for the balance challenge that real darkness creates.

January 20, 2019

My New Computer Needs Duct Tape

My new computer has only one 2.0 port because this type of port is being phased out.  But I have multiple devices with cords that need a 2.0 port to backup my iphone data, down load photos from my camera, and update my Garmin GPS.  Initially I had to pull the flash drive that backups 25 years of data out of the side of the computer when I used another device.  Pete, my computer technician, recommended a USB hub.  Yet using one hand to put devices in and pull them out made this light weight hub move.  Pete used duct tape to hold the USB hub still.  He experimented with different locations for the tape to ensure the hub stays still.  The tape blocks 2 of the ports, but 5 ports are still accessible (see 3 arrows)
- so much repeated frustration avoided.

Duct tape also holds my internet router still.  When my internet connection goes down the Verizon technician asks me to pull out the power plug (see arrow).  However, pulling the plug out with one hand made the surge protector lift off the table.  Pete experimented until he discovered that taping the cord to my desk would hold the surge protector still without blocking the cooling vent.

P.S. I have white duct tape that matches the color of my table which makes me happy.
I never thought about the color of adaptive devices when I was an OT.  As a stroke survivor I cringe every time I see red Dycem.

January 12, 2019

Nails Do Not Stop Growing After a Stroke


I live alone so I have to cut my nails.  I cut the nails on my sound hand by operating an adapted nail clipper with the palm of my affected hand.  The end of the large nail clipper shown on top has a square handle which is comfortable to press on.  The long handle also gives me good leverage when I push down.
I returned the small nail clipper shown on the bottom.  The V-shaped end dug into my palm when I pushed down.  The short handle meant I had to press hard to get enough force to cut my nail.

The large nail clipper has emery boards held by pegs that are tightened by hand.  I use these emery boards to remove sharp points at the corners of my nails. This is safer than trying to get the clipper into these tight spaces.  The clipper came with four emery boards, but replacing them is a challenge.  All the stores near my home sell only wide, thick boards (see pink board) that do not fit in the clipper.  The Internet sells long emery boards except for this link.

My sound hand cuts nails on my affected hand with a regular nail clipper.  Spasticity in my affected hand makes my fingers curl.  To straighten them, I prop them one-at-a-time on a the edge of an opened drawer.  The open drawer allows my sound hand to get low enough to get a good cutting angle.  I put a piece of non-slip shelf liner under the finger to keep it from slipping, but the shelf liner got in the way when I photographed my hand.

Bottom Line: I cringed when I learned the large nail clipper costs $37.50, but nails do not stop growing so I do not have a choice.  homeafterstroke.blogspot.com