February 25, 2021

Snow Shoes for a Stroke Survivor

Since my stroke I am careful about venturing outside when it snows, but I am not trapped inside until spring.  Once streets are plowed and sidewalks shoveled, I wear boots over my shoes to give me better traction when icy slush is left behind.  Boots also help when my car is covered with snow.  Dragging snow off my car dumps snow on my boots instead of my shoes.  Boots I tried on at a shoe store would not fit over my leg brace.  My leg brace does not allow me to point my toes which is a pre-requisite for donning boots.  On-line I found the Neos overshoe with a Velvro opening that goes all the way down to my toes.  The Villager model is lightweight and designed for occasional use which is perfect for me.  I walk more slowly with boots on, but that beats not being able to get to the grocery store or keep important appointments, like a doctor appointment.
Notes-to-Self.  1) Make the ankle straps long BEFORE I take the boots off.  Long straps make it easier to unsnap and snap the plastic buckles. After snapping the buckle closed, pull the end of the strap to make it tight.  2) Begin by opening the boot ALL the way to the toe so I will not have to wrestle with the nylon fabric to get my toe in the boot. 

A video at www.overshoesonline.com shows how to don this boot.
Warning #1: I do not put the boots on while standing as the video shows because I do not have good standing balance.  My boots go on safely while I am sitting.  Warning #2: The first set of boots I ordered was too big so they flopped around when I walked.   homeafterstroke.blogspot.com

February 18, 2021

Donning Socks Can Make You Crazy

At 58 years old I wanted to go home instead of going to a long-term care facility.  I live alone so I was motivated to learn how to don socks with one hand.  When Joyce complained about getting her sock crooked in The Tales of a Stroke Patient I understood her dilemma.  She reminded me of the tortuous process I use to do this task.  Pulling a sock up one-handed requires me to pull one side up, then the other side, repeat, repeat, and repeat.  However, holding my leg completely still in the air for that long a time is impossible.

I bend my knee to pull my leg up on the bed to keep it still and avoid leaning over to reach my toes.  My repeated pulling is not always symmetrical so I watch to see if my sock is twisting.
To prevent the heel from ending up on the side of my foot, I go back down to straighten the toe if needed.  When the toe is straight, the heel of the sock ends up on the heel of my foot.  homeafterstroke.blogspot.com

February 11, 2021

Animal Therapy

Lots of people have adopted pets during the covid pandemic.  Animals help people because they spend most of their lives in the present instead of obsessing about the past or future.  However,      I lived with a dog and a cat as a child so i know this is not an option for me now.  When I was ten I was walking our german shepard on a leash when she pulled me off my feet.  She felt she had to protect me from a loose dog who was barking feriously at us.  I did not have the strength to stop her.  I also cannot walk a dog on a lawn and bend down to pick up feces.  Walking on uneven ground is a fall hazard for me.  My friend Janet reminded me that cats can trip you when they crawl around your feet while you preparing food or walking across the room.  I also cannot empty a litter box one-handed.  

I get animals in my life by watching TV shows about veternarians and zoos.  I like these shows because the drama is real.  Drama on human reality shows is often manufactured by the show's producer.  Videotaped "private thoughts" are often preceded by the producer asking leading questions or making a comment, like "XXX is telling everyone you are a b****.   The producer's actions are deleted to preserve the illusion that what we see is genuine.  In animal based shows, cows and lions are not pretending to be sick or upset.  What vets and zoo staff do is repetitive so I watch the animals faces and the way they move after a procedure is over.  Short video clips show them happily running around a month after being treated.  The relief I feel when an animal looks better or happier is cathartic.  homeafterstroke.blogspot.com    

February 4, 2021

Janet Saved Me - Again

Janet is a dear friend I have known for over 40 years.  We have kept in touch no matter how many times we moved.  She is a person who can speak truth with kindness.  She gently talked me into paying a grocery store employee to shop for me during the winter.  Thanks to Janet, I did not become hysterical about being stuck in my house with no grocercies because of a blizzard.  When weather reports became dire, I ordered groceries on-line and picked them up before the snow storm hit.  This photo shows I was right to worry.

Normally I use handicapped parking because these spaces are wide enough for me to put a cart next to my car door to unload groceries.  The regular parking spaces I have to use for on-line shopping are narrow, so I put groceries in my trunk.  I am glad I put boxes and a cooler in my trunk before my 1st attempt at
on-line shopping.  I do not want to use my cane to fish around for cans and round produce that could roll to the back of my trunk.   

Note to self: The milk and bread I ordered were out of stock because so many people were doing last minute shopping.  Next time I will not check "no substitutions."  homeafterstroke.blogspot.com

February 2, 2021

Linda Schooled Me

Linda wrote a post in Leading a Healthy Life about dislocating her hip when she bent at the waist instead of bending her knees while reaching down to pick up something.  She screamed when her hip slipped out of its socket, when family members helped her sit on a chair, when the EMTs moved her to a transport chair, when they carried her up the basement stairs, when they put her in the ambulance, etc.  I also take chances when I reach down to pick up an object.  Even though I know better, it is frustrating to not be able to move the way I used to as an able-bodied person. 

I am grateful that Linda shared her painful experience.  Her description was so vivid it has changed my behavior.  For example, I put heavy bags on the top step (red circle) so I can I load them first into a rolling cart inside my front door.  I do not want them to crush fragile products like bread.  When I leaned way down to grab lighter bags on a lower step I thought "don't do this."  Now I use a safer strategy.  I expend the energy to walk down to a lower step (green circle) before I lift the lighter bags up to the top step.    

A few days later I felt my heels come off the floor while I was struggling to maintain my balance as I squatted to pick up an object under a chair.  Again I thought "don't do this."  I moved the chair.  In the coming weeks I will look for instances when I put my body in a precarious position.  Linda, thank you for reminding me to be careful.  homeafterstroke.blogspot.com