Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sunday Stroke Survival: Assistance

Over the past few decades, the term assistive technology has become muddled with modern technological advances. It is actually a very thin line that differentiates the two these days.

Speakers added to telephones for hand free communication, touch screens, and assorted other devices are available for the general public's consumption and not just the handicapped. It wasn't always so. It makes life and doing easier for everyone.

What sort of new fangled stuff did I buy after my stroke to make me capable of doing what I needed to be done in spite of my limitations? Very little. A hemi walker, raised toilet seat, a wheelchair, and Swedish adaptive cutting board, a rocker T knife which was quickly replaced by an Ulu (thanks John Anderson), a steering knob, a shower chair, a long handled bath scrubber, and a cane. That's it.

$3.99 + shipping on amazon.com
Having listed the above, what am I still using after almost three years? The Ulu, cutting board,steering knob, the cane, the bath scrubber, hand held spraying shower head, and the raised seat toilet (sort of). Which items are considered a specialty medical item or durable goods...The cane, the toilet and the cutting board. Notice how small the list of actual assistive technology is? My cane is only used when traveling rough terrain so it's a part-time use thing now.

Of course I did remodel my bathroom so it was handicap assessable too. I now have a walk-in tub and handicapped toilet in my bathroom eliminating the need for a shower chair and the shower head. My old porcelain throne needed to be replaced so smart shopping at my local Re-Store (habitat for humanity) had a used, raised seat one for $40. A girl has got to have a luxurious soak in the tub once in a while...with bubbles!

The other major "can't live without" for me is the Ulu and my kitchen shears (both are normal use items) because I love to cook. The Swedish cutting board, I'm still finding adaptive uses for that are not what it is designed for like holding my grater.

The steering knob on the steering wheel of my car only truly comes in handy when I'm making hard turns. The rest of the time I can drive just fine without it.

So why did I buy all this stuff to begin with that is now collecting dust in my house...because someone told me I needed to. I only used my wheelchair a couple of times just after I got out of the hospital. Did I get the over $600 use out of it? Not for my benefit over the few months it took me to transition out of it and onto a cane. Although it does make moving my hubby around easier now. The raised portable potty is now a fixture in my living room for my hubby's use also. I only used it in my bathroom for about six months. The hemi walker is now used as a catch all for my hubby's benefit. As goes to most of the other durable medical supplies I bought for me after my stroke...now used for my hubby's benefit. Thank goodness or I'd really be upset.

Now I'll admit that I'm luckier than quite a few other stroke survivors out there because I need few adaptive equipment. I'm also more creatively thinking outside the box than most which is an added plus. I honestly hate spending hard earned money on short-lived things in this disposable era.

Oh, I almost forgot a bigger in my new life...my elevated raised garden beds. But that's mostly for these old bones of mine. They were making too many old woman complaints and I really don't feel that old. I would have eventually transitioned into them anyhow.

Adaptive...assistive, it's all the same thing. My stubbornness allows for hard scrutiny before I run out and buy something. I have to be darn sure I can't do  without it. I'll use whatever I have available first. It has to be a need. Sure I could run out and spend $1,000's on this or that to making this or that job easier but my question is this...why?

5 comments:

Rebecca Dutton said...

Having a 2nd stroke sent me backwards so I learned to give away very few adaptive devices. Using adaptive devices does not make me sad. Because I live alone they stopped me from going to a long-term care facility at 58 years old. Adaptive devices also help me do activities I enjoy. These two things are huge!

J.L. Murphey said...

Yes, Rebeca. Adaptive devices do make independent living possible.

I've had my second stroke too. But at least most have found renewed use with my hubby.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You might not have used those things for long, but as you said, they are benefiting your husband now.

Zan Marie said...

As I say about so many things nowadays, it's all good. I'm glad you "graduated" from the need, but also glad you had what you needed for your hubby.
{{{{hugs}}}}

Elizabeth, John, Jack, and Luke said...

I was lucky enough to only need a few things right away. It was a huge celebration the day I no longer needed the suction cup grab bars in the shower and we passed them along to my grandma. I used the stroller like a walker in the early days, which was really helpful out in our community.