Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday Stroke Survival~The Mouth Piece or Lip Service

Ever since I was an infant, I loved the sensitivity and tactile pleasures of things in my mouth. Fingers, toes, pencils and a few other things. This is one of the problems with my weight being so out of sorts.But since my stroke this love relationship has taken a turn, into a living need to get things done. My love affair has diminished over the last two years to become a semi pleasurable experience of living a life with one functioning arm and hand. My mouth has been my other hand.
This one is full of clothes

It's the only way I've found to tie full trash bags tight. UGH! I use the cinch, drawstring bags. Holding it against my leg to tie it never ties it tight enough and getting them unfolded after they come out of the box is challenging at best because of the heat crimping that holds it together. Luckily due to recycling and composting it's only three bags a week.

Using my teeth to twist off stubborn caps like on toothpaste. Somehow, anything mechanically screwed on, that is supposed to be twisted off gets harder and harder to twist off. While I could position the tube at my waist, hold it tight with my belly, and twist it off that way, sometimes the tube just twists instead of the cap. Only five more tube in my pantry like this because the rest have flip tops.

Any zip locking bag type. Closing it I can place it on the counter and use my affected elbow to hold it in place, but opening it in the first place...into the mouth it goes.

My husband's heater needed to be plugged in. Of course, the closest outlet was behind my side board. I bent over at the waist and tried to plug it in. Drat my short arms. Maybe kneeling I could reach. Nope. Okay, so I'm now lying on my back to see and reach the outlet. With my teeth, I held the plug so my hand could move my Cherry wood silver chest. Success! But then I was trying to get up from that position between the side board and the dining table. Remember the AFO foot doesn't bend and has to be flat on the floor to hold me up. I shimmied on my back to a clear space, got up, and turned on his heater and was greeted by his heater was on the fritz. Back to Tractor Supply to buy another one. Down on the floor, plugged it in, and finally when I turned it on I was greeted by heat. The room was a toasty 77 degrees instead of 65. After I did all of that, it dawned on me, I should have plugged in an extension cord instead, but there was no way I was going to lay down and get up again to do it right then...maybe next week.

My lips and teeth have held onto things while I've opened doors, or had my hand full. It sure beats carrying one thing at a time to and fro. With the Botox for my spasticity finally kicking in again, I can hold things under my arm again. What a blessing an armpit can be.

On a lighter note of lip service, Monday through Thursday found me crying more than laughing because of frustration. Thursday about mid morning, my #1 daughter popped in. She lives an hour away. "You've got me until 2:30. What do you need?"

This time I had tears of joy running down my face. I hugged her tight and asked her how did she know that I needed her? She said she got this undeniable urge to come home. God answers prayers. God bless her. She changed Terry's bed again because of another mishap. Put clean sheets on my bed. Took the clothes to the laundry for me. Vacuumed the carpets. Dusted the ceiling fans, walls, and ceiling. Cat changed burned out light bulbs. (All the things I can't do because it requires me to look up  ) She took out all of the trash and put it on the road. She even had time to spend and cared for her stepfather while I got a nap in. I felt like a queen for a day. She even went out for lunch! I'm smiling again and back to my old self. That's what four hours of down time will do for you.

Nothing is impossible with determination and faith.


  1. My first OT told me to forget the concept that "teeth are petals, not tool." I'd never heard it, but I've tried to embrace the concept that my mouth can sometimes replace my hand. But sometimes it's just I kier than I can stand. I studied biology in college, and worked in a sterile lab. I see germs and nasties everywhere. You know the 10-second rule people use to evaluate whether to eat something off the floor? Well, my rule is to not eat ANYTHING off the floor. Ditto for anything that drops on the table in a restaurant. Pulling up a sleeve, putting on a mitten? I'm okay with those.

  2. For me the worst part of having to put objects in my mouth so my sound hand could manipulate those objects was a loss of dignity. I would have been mortified if someone had seen me put a deodorant bottle in my mouth.

  3. I agree with Barb, I do not eat food on the floor etc and my rule is to be “polite” (I understand and ignore the rule “10 second”). I will use my mouth / strap / jig / screws /... to do:
    * mouth - zip bag etc,
    * strap - take my trike apart and put back together with great grease and enjoyment,
    * jig - various wood/metal to glue/solder/...
    * screws - instead of nails i.e. building a deck...
    I have only 1 useful hand but there are many ways to withmouth / strap / jig / screws /... but you have use you mind to figure out how...

  4. I don't have an excuse, but I use my month and teeth for tons of things.


  5. You make do with what you had. Although glad you're almost out of those screw-top toothpastes.
    God did send your daughter to you when you needed her. He always knows.


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