Using Things To Make Life Easier
POSTED BY SON:
I am always amazed when I get out of my house and things are not handicapped accessible like I am used to and I find that these things make our lives so much easier and yet people will not use them because they think it makes them look old or whatever.
My parents would not use handicap things like the handicap seat for the toilet and hated the walkers they were supposed to use. My mother wanted them kept in the other room. When asked why? Their response was “it makes us look old”. They were 83 and thought the people in the assisted living were old people, not them. And so, both my parents fell, broke a hip, had surgery, developed MRSA and died. All because of pride.
Maybe because I was disabled at such a young age…in my early forties and really disabled in my thirties but did not get on disability until my early forties…that I handled having handicap things better. Having the handicap toilet, the grab bars, the utensils with bigger handles, higher hospital bed bed, power chair, forearm crutches, remote control lights, etc all make my life easier. And when we go to the doctor or have to stay in a motel to be there for medical things at the hospital, I realize just how much easier that these things make my life. They help me save my energy so that I have the energy to do things I enjoy and to be with my loved ones and enjoy them.
Son is so awesome at handicap stuff and is always making or fixing things to make it safer for me or to make it easier. For example, on the door frames going out of the house is a grab bar so that I can hold on to it to answer the door. There was a grab bar right beside where the coffee pot was on the old cabinets that son just pulled out so that I could hold on to make my coffee. The little shelf was a telephone nook and low so you could sit on a stool but because I was standing to get my coffee, he raised the little shelf up. He removed those big bulky cabinets to make it easier for me to get around in my power chair that I am having to use right now and will probably have to use more and more as time goes on.
Having a chair in the shower and a handheld shower nozzle is probably the most wonderful thing in the world because it does not wear me out to take a shower as bad. Before, just taking a shower meant a nap after I got out and dressed because it took all my energy. Son helped me shampoo my hair at the kitchen sing..and another nap before I could dry it and I never did both on the same day. And yet here I can with my new shower chair with arms on the side.
But, the hardest thing for people to accept is help when they start getting limited mobility. It does not have to mean you are totally disabled. It can mean that you get exhausted easily like from CFS or Fibro. It can be all sorts of things and there is no shame in using these things. It took me a while to use the scooters in the stores when I first became disabled because I was afraid of what people would say. Before I got a hospital bed, son put two mattresses stacked so that I did not have to sit so low to get up and down. And then I learned that it did not matter what people said. Those that loved me and knew I had problems would understand and those that were not willing to really see the real me really did not matter. What mattered is taking care of me.
I learned to keep things in every room to save me energy of which I have precious little. I had notepads, ink pens, lotion, reading glasses, a fleece cover, even a brush in case someone showed up…all by every place I would use in each room. Why? Because it saved me a trip to get them. People who live on two floors should do the same on each floor to cut down the trips up and down the stairs.
I have had people tell me that they could no longer get on the computer because it hurt too much to sit at the desk and yet when I would suggest moving the computer to the table by their recliner or by their bed, you would have thought I was crazy and they would say “I am not ready for that yet”. What are they waiting on? To be so bad that by the time they are “ready” they will not even be able to enjoy that? Think of the joy they could have now if they conserved their spoons now and used ways to conserve their precious energy.
Look on the side of my page here and you will see my hospital bed with my computer monitor and flat screen tv. I type laying on my back with the keyboard on a pillow on my stomach. It allows me to continue having online friends and social interaction plus doing something I enjoy BUT had I not been willing to use an easier method…I would not be doing this. Assistive methods mean just that…ways to assist us and to make things easier. They are not something to be ashamed of. They do not make us old or look old. It is making our lives where we can enjoy more in spite of the things we have wrong whether it be limited ability or totally disabled.
And it comes back to that word I preach so much…choice. It is our choice. We can choose to use things to make life easier so that we do not use what little energy we have or we can choose to let pride rule us and we make life harder and that in turn takes life away from us. I realize how much it helps me to use the things available, to change my home to help me no matter if it no longer looks like a Good Housekeeping Home or like everyone else’s home.
And I have learned that it is important for me to do the things I can do for me and if people do not understand, that is ok. That is their problem, not mine. My problem is to take care of me, to make life easier for me which in turn makes life’s good moments more frequent.
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