March 28, 2020

The Only Cutting Board That Works Great

I had a 2nd stroke so I got serious about a low salt diet.  Unfortunately, food does not have much flavor without salt so I started adding aromatics like onions.  The standard cutting board for one-handed people shown on the right is not that helpful.  Impaling food on 1 nail allows the food to swivel.  Two raised edges on the left back corner holds food still ONLY if you push the knife towards the corner.  Food like peanut butter gets smeared on the raised edge.

A cutting board that works much better is the Swedish cutting Board (1). The part I use the most is the adjustable vise (see red knob) that can be taken apart to be washed.  The vise makes it easy to spread food on bread and slice a thin English muffin, a soft tomato, or a whole head of lettuce.  Instead of 2 nails, I impale meat on 9 prongs.  This small section lifts out of the cutting board so I can put it in the dishwasher.  See the empty space in Figure 7.8 below.

For safety I cut food by using my palm to push down on a large chef's knife.  This lets me keep the ends of my paralyzed fingers away from the blade (see arrow in Figure 7.8). 

This cutting board is more expensive than a regular board but I think it is worth every penny. It makes food preparation safer, faster, and less frustrating.

1. Dutton, R. My Last Degree: A Therapist Goes Home After a Stroke, 2nd ed. 2013; Booklocker.

March 15, 2020

So I Was Not Just Paranoid

A National Institutes of Health study found the corona virus can live on cardboard for 24 hours and 2 to 3 days on plastic and stainless steel (1).  I have not heard anyone sneeze or cough in public yet it took only days to travel 50 miles to reach my area.  Money that changes hands many times and people who touch items as they unpack cartons at stores are possible vectors for this rapid spread.  Shopping while wearing a glove on my sound hand and using a credit card instead of cash (see previous post) was not just paranoia.  Thank God I rehearsed before the virus came to my area because initially I made mistakes.  For example, I grabbed the handle of my car door with the glove I had pushed the shopping cart still on my hand.

Now before I open my car door I turn the glove inside out.  Then I put it in a plastic cup in my car door.  I use a tissue sitting on the passenger seat to remove the foam from my hemiplegic thumb and put it in an isolated container.

The weather got warm so I can no longer put my credit card in my coat pocket to keep from digging through my purse for it.  I put the card in a tiny purse (see arrow) and hung it from my big purse.  The tiny purse has a velcro closure which is easy to open one-handed.  It hangs in front of my stomach where it is harder for someone to open it without me noticing.


March 9, 2020

My Stroke Strategies for the Corona Virus

These strategies are examples of what stroke survivors can do to protect themselves.  Your routine will be different from mine, but I think we can agree that a stroke creates enough drama for a lifetime.

Washing hands with the backwards rule:   With the soap dispenser facing away from me, I push down on the nozzle with my palm and catch soap with my fingers.  I started washing my hands this way years ago when I handled raw chicken.  I did not want to leave chicken fluids on the bar of soap and soap dish.

Paying:  Many infected people do not cough so the rapid spread of the corona virus cannot be explained only by people spraying germs in the air.  We do not know how long the corona virus lives on environmental surfaces.  Now I pay with a credit card instead of handling coins that hundreds of people have touched.  It is cold enough to wear a coat so I put this credit card in my coat pocket rather than dig through my purse to find it.

Shopping cart:  It is easier to push and steer a shopping cart with both hands.  However, physical exertion makes my hemiplegic thumb bend fully.  So I don a piece of foam to stop my thumb nail from cutting into my skin.  I use a Kleenex tissue to put the foam on and take it off when I get in the car.  I isolate it in a special location in my car.

Handles and keys:  Stores run out of wipes people can use to sanitize their shopping cart.  So before I get out of my car I don a thin vinyl glove used by hair dressers.  It is one size too large so it is easier to don.  I remove the glove after I get the cart back to my car.  My sound hand is clean when I open the car door, pull my car key out of my purse (green wrist band), and put my hand on the gear shift handle and steering wheel.  I throw the glove in a platic cup in my car.  My sound hand is also clean when I pull out my house key (long purple band) and open my front door.  I wash both hands as soon as I get inside.

Touching my face:  On the news a reporter touched her face 13 times in one hour while using a computer even though she was trying not to.  Transferring germs from our hand to our eyes, nose, or mouth is a common way to get sick.  The news story concluded that it is really hard to stop this unconscious behavior.  Any suggestions would be welcome.

March 3, 2020

I Am the Queen of Velcro

I buy lots of self-sticking Velcro because is makes me independent and safe.  The 1st time I used Velcro was to stop a tote bag from banging against my cane when I walked.  The white line shows where the
two pieces of Vecro connect.

I put Velcro on my wallet and inside my purse.  The Velcro adhesive is NOT strong enough to stay fastened to my wallet when I pull it away from the Velcro inside my purse.  I stapled the Velcro to the wallet.

Velcro stopped my wallet from falling out of my tiny 1st purse.  It had a latch (see black line) that was hard to snap together with one hand.  Now Velcro makes it hard for a stranger to grab my wallet out of my 2nd purse which has a zipper that is hard to close with one hand.

I put Velcro on foam tubing used to make the handle of a fork or spoon bigger.  Velcro sticks the foam to the shelf that holds my computer keyboard.  This keeps my hemiplegic fist uncurled.  Velcro also allows the shelf to support my arm so my weak shoulder is not sore after I use my computer.

A computer technician used white tape to stop my USB hub from sliding when I push a thumb drive into a port.  However, the tape covers 2 ports so I cannot use them.  When I move to Michigan 
I will have my brother put 2 strips of Velcro on my compter desk and 2 strips on the bottom of the USB hub.