Simplifying Single-handed Life

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rocker_knife3http://www.handicappedequipment.orgIn the almost 3 years since I’ve been making do with just one working hand, I’ve made a few discoveries that simplify single-handed living.

Dressing can still be a challenge. If a shirt doesn’t stretch or button up the front, it simply won’t work for me. L.I.D.A. continues to clamp tightly to my rib cage limiting the amount of movement a sleeve can make between arm and torso. I have learned this the hard way, returning many adorable unworn tops I found impossible to wiggle into.

Zippers ought to be easy, but they’re only easy to unzip. I never realized that it takes both hands to zip a jacket, you have to put both sides of the zipper together at the bottom, then hold the entire zipper relatively straight to zip it up.

I’m proud to announce I no longer wear my ankle foot orthotic so I’m wearing regular shoes, as long as they have elastic laces or Velcro closures. My favorite exception is Chaco sandals. I’m in the process of breaking in a new pair of Birkenstocks; a style with a strap around the back of the heel. I found a pair of Frye boots that zip up the back. I can usually put these on and take them off by myself. My left foot still curves inward a bit, but the spasticity does not cause much distress.

I am now showering by myself. I still sit down in the shower much of the time. But have accomplished a single shower standing up throughout. A hand wand added to the showerhead is essential, as are grab bars.

Most of the gadgets I have collected reside in the kitchen. At my house you will see 4”x4” nonskid pads scattered on most horizontal surfaces.

The most important but least recognized function of my left hand was holding things still. Without it, when I write on a tablet the tablet moves. When I stir batter in a bowl the bowl moves. The nonskid pads help.

I have several gadgets specifically for cutting food. I’ve got a fancy cutting board especially for one-handed cooks. I also have a hinged cutter that chops things into regular square pieces with a slam of the lid. I have one of those nut choppers that you pound on. And a very dangerous mandolin for thinly slicing everything including fingertips if not used properly.

I cut many unusual things with scissors: lettuce, cherry tomatoes, fresh herbs.

I also use a pizza cutter to cut sandwiches and half, to slice the tough ribs out of fresh greens such as kale.

Thanks to Brian Sredd at ‘Life after My Stroke’ video blog on YouTube. I now have what is called a rocker knife. I can cut my own steak!

In the garden, I have a collapsible plastic stool that I sit on when I pull weeds or plant seeds or dig in the dirt. I have removed the long handles from several of my garden tools and just use the metal part as gigantic hand tools.

Except for driving and belly dancing, I am pretty much enjoying all the activities I loved pre-stroke. I am even taking a pottery class 🙂

I try to write every day. I could not do this without my Dragon voice recognition software. I highly recommended to anyone who has difficulty keyboarding. The initial getting to know you period was sometimes frustrating. And every now and then when I’m tired and don’t enunciate clearly, Dragon and I become alienated.

Time and patience are the most important aspects of stroke recovery. Attitude plays a big part as well. Sometimes a different approach to a mundane task makes things easier. Like cleaning potatoes. I’ll write about cleaning potatoes in another post. Standby for excitement!

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About Vic Cobb Fountain

Empowered Stroke survivor: appreciating where I've been, anticipating where I'm going.
This entry was posted in life, stroke, stroke recovery, stroke survivor, writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Simplifying Single-handed Life

  1. oc1dean says:

    Have you solved making PBJs?

    • yes, I have a vice contraption on a fancy cutting board. it holds the jars still while I scoop out peanut butter & jelly. nonskid pad under an old fashioned paper plate keeps the bread relatively still

  2. Empowered – you could not have framed it better.

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