June 29, 2019

Carts Keep Me and My Stuff Safe

A cart saves me from making numerous consecutive turns in my kitchen.  When I bring home groceries, the food that goes in the refrigerator is scattered in several shopping bags.  I collect cold items on my cart, push the cart to the refrigerator, and stand in front of the open refrigerator - no turning and walking back to collect the next item and turning to face the refrigerator again.  Turning can be stressful for the knee when it is not done correctly.  Turns increase the chance of a fall because turning is more difficult than walking in a straight line.
Carrying a stack of plates, bowls, or pots are too much weight for one hand.  So I use a cart to unload my dishwasher.  I put clean items on the cart and push it to various storage areas.  I am not going to turn repeatedly to carry one dish at a time to where it belongs!

A cart allows me to bring a meal to the table in one trip.  Here I am
3 months after my stroke serving myself a cold lunch.  When I got tired of eating frozen dinners heated in the microwave I started cooking.  Initially I cooked one food, ate out of the pot, and then cooked the next food.  The day I put three kinds of cooked food on a plate was a triumph.  Now that I cook regularly the cart keeps me from burning my hand on a hot dish or spilling hot food while transporting it. 

A final reason to love carts - a three-tiered cart allows me to sort my dirty laundry by color while sitting instead of repeatedly leaning over and standing up.  This cart helps me safely transport dirty clothes to my 1st floor laundry room. 

P.S.  I am sitting on a folding metal chair that is stored  behind an open door.  homeafterstroke.blogspot.com

June 12, 2019

Making a Bed One-handed

I love the feel of clean sheets so I wanted to learn to make a bed.  Putting a fitted bottom sheet on the bed is easy to do one-handed.  I slip my sound palm into the corner of the sheet.  Then I shove both my hand and the fabric down under the mattress.

It is harder to put flat linens on the bed with one hand.  First I have to make several trips around the bed to make sure the top sheet and blanket hang down equally on both sides.  I lift a corner of the mattress with my sound hand so I can hold the corner in the air with my hemiplegic forearm, and then use my sound hand to tuck the flat linens under the mattress.  When a queen-size mattress got too heavy for me to hold in the air I switched to a single mattress.

I cheat by letting the pillow sit on top of the bedspread.  Leaning over to neatly tuck the bedspread under the pillow is too much of a balance challenge for me.  I also cheat by not making multiple trips so the bedspread hangs down evenly.  The black line at the edge of the mattress shows the bedspread is crooked.

In 16 years I have never thought I should go to a long-term care facility because my bed looks like it was made by a child.   homeafterstroke.blogspot.com

June 2, 2019

Getting Hand Use Earlier than Stroke Survivors Think is Possible

Hand tests begin by asking clients to pick up objects from a table.  If hand-to-hand transfers were added to adult hand tests, stroke survivors would learn their affected hand can be useful earlier than they think is possible.  I learned a small amount of finger movement done close to the body can make a hand functional.  If you pick up an object with your sound hand and open your hemiplegic hand 2-3 inches to receive the object from your sound hand you may be able to do the tasks shown below.  This simple skill allows me to do 18 ADL tasks.

Example #1- Using a shower hose to spray water at the crotch does not take care of the nooks and crannies.  After a hand-to-hand transfer, my hemiplegic hand holds the shower hose close to my body which frees my sound hand to do its job.  This little bit of hand movement means my mother, a nurse's aide in the Intensive Care Unit, and I are the only people who have washed my bottom.  Having my privacy invaded in such a personal way taught me to be grateful for hand-to-hand transfers.  
Example # 2 - When my hand was flaccid, I used to squeeze a deodorant bottle between my thighs so my sound hand could remove the cap.  Now my hemiplegic hand can open to receive a deodorant bottle from my sound hand during a hand-to-hand transfer and hold the bottle still while it is resting on my thigh.  The two black lines show how little shoulder movement is needed when ADLs are done close to the body.

Example # 3 -  There used to be teeth marks on the cap of my toothpaste tube.  Now my hemiplegic hand can open to receive a tube of toothpaste from my sound hand which then removes the cap.  The end of the tube is propped against my stomach because this new tube is heavy.  I do not want to drop the tube and splatter sticky toothpaste on the floor.  I live alone so I have to clean up every mess I make.  homeafterstroke.blogspot.com