April 28, 2020

Reading One-Handed

After my stroke I still enjoy reading, but holding a book one-handed is tiring and frustrating.
I am glad I found a book holder that works for every size book.  The clear plastic page holders (see black arrow) move in and out so they adjust to thin and thick books.

The easel arm is also adjustable.  I release the lock (white arrow) and tilt the book holder so it is more horizontal or more vertical.  This gives me a good reading angle regardless of the size of the book or the resting surface I am using.

I found this Actto book holder at amazon.

April 19, 2020

Working Smarter Instead of Harder

Struggling to control half of my body is exhausting.  I do not need additional fatigue caused by frustration that a stroke can create every day until I die.

I get reader's fatigue when I read my long procedural posts like "Bathing Can Be Exhausting,"
"I Am the Queen of Velcro," "Applying Make-up One-handed," and "Things You Don't Learn in Driving Rehab."  However, modifying 1 or 2 steps makes life easier which encourages me to get rid of more frustration.  A gradual accumulation of solutions produces these long procedural posts.  The good news is repetition turns long adapted procedures into a routine I do not have to think about.  Repetition is a gift that keeps on giving.    homeafterstroke.blogspot.com

April 10, 2020

Eyedrops After Cataract Surgery

People who do not have someone to put drops in their eyes four times a day need help.  Task modification helped me succeed after my recent cataract surgery.  It is easy to drop a tiny 5 ml bottle.  It is also difficult to squeeze the stiff sides of a tiny bottle.  I am glad I found the Autosqueeze Eye Drop Bottle.  The big wings are easy to hold and require only a gentle squeeze.

Before I lie down on my bed I gather two bottles of eye drops and a Kleenex tissue.  I put a pillow on my chest (not stomach) and put my sound elbow on the pillow.  This support makes my hand remain steady instead of bobbing around as I hold the bottle in the air.  To stop myself from blinking I distract myself by looking through the opening formed by my thumb and index finger instead of the bottle.  I try to get the drop in the inner corner of my eye.

When I put the cap back on I need to stop my hand from bobbing up and down and accidentally touching the tip of the bottle.  I keep my hand still by pressing my elbow firmly against the pillow.  homeafterstroke.blogspot.com

April 3, 2020

Tiny Habits

Fogg explains how I make my life easier after a stroke (1).  He says Behavior = Motivation + Ability
+ Prompt (MAP).  Motivation is unreliable because it comes in waves that vary from day to day, morning to evening, and even minute to minute.  Motivation also fails because it is usually attached to outcomes like save $500.  An outcome is not a behavior I promise to do.  Finally, motivation can be highjacked by the "go big or go home" philosophy.  Fogg says motivation is more effective when it is linked to a tiny behavior - like straightening my shoulders one time when I stand up after sitting for awhile.

A is for ability which is how much skill the task requires.  Stroke survivors and caregivers can find ways to make a task easier by reading blogs and books written by stroke survivors (see About Me page and my Blog List on the right side bar).  Although I am an OT sometimes I need help solving a problem.  However, an OT or PT evaluation never identifies all my concerns.  I start every new round of therapy by walking in the door with a list of problems I want them to solve.

P is for prompt.  Prompts like to-do lists and calendar alerts on my iphone are SO easy to ignore.  Fogg and I believe in the power of established routines to trigger a new behavior.  The tricky part of using an established behavior to prompt a new behavior is finding what Fogg calls the trailing edge of an old behavior.  For example, I kept forgetting to put drops in my eye after eating breakfast.
I did not succeed until I discovered the last thing I do after breakfast is rinse my cereal bowl.
Now I rinse the bowl and think about using eyedrops to rinse my eye after my recent cataract surgery.  "After breakfast" was too vague.   homeafterastroke.blogspot.com

1.  Fogg BJ.  Tiny Habits.  New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 2020.