Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Adapt (or How Do I Do That Now?)

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Ok, for some reason better not discussed (diet, life style, physical condition) you have been ‘blessed’ with a disability. Suddenly, you have limitations imposed on you that just a few days ago you would have smiled or even laughed out loud at the thought. Well, you’re not laughing now. It has happened but your life isn’t over. Your friends look at you strangely as if to say,
”What a shame.” You feel like giving up because you can’t walk down the hall like you used to do. Or you talk ‘funny’, or your vision is impaired as if someone flipped a switch. Yep! You, my friend, have survived a stroke. Survived? Yes, SURVIVED! It’s nothing to smile about. For those of you who haven’t thought about it, a stroke is the SAME THING as a heart attack except for the location. You can recover, perhaps 100%. Maybe not that much, but you will get better.

So, the question is, how do you cope while you recover. How do you do the little things? You only have one hand to type, write, drink a cup of coffee, eat a bagel. What can you do?
You adapt. Yourself and things.

Yourself: You learn how to dress yourself. Easy you say? Well, yes. An exercise for you to try. Put on a T-shirt with one hand. properly without moving one arm AND hand. Hint: slip the shirt on the immoveable arm first. No fair not putting both arms in the sleeves. You learn how to feed yourself. Try cutting a steak using one hand, (If you can, you are eating one fine steak.) You learn how it prepare your meals. Basically, you start from scratch.

Computer and Desk: If you’re a touch typist, you have a major problem. Old habits don’t work. Typing by touch REQUIRES both hands. You have to go back to the old ‘hunt and peck’ method. Your typing speed drops to almost nothing. Typos are a given. You find yourself hitting the Alt key instead of the space bar which is next to it. So, you practice typing one handed. Takes a little time but it does work. If you need to write things (like blog postings) you use software that includes really good spell checker systems. You adapt.

Paper tablets. I had a problem with this. My solution? Any kind of foam rubber pad placed under the tablet keeps it stable – a mouse pad! Hey, that works! Post-it notes? Easy! Remove the backing sheet or bottom sheet and use the sticky part on the last note sheet to stick to the desk. Doesn’t move! Hey, we’re on a roll.

You're bed ridden and want to use the computer. Ever try to balance a keyboard on your stomach, or use a mouse like that? Can’t be done, right? Wrong! Have someone go buy you a bed tray and a couple hand clamps. Home Depot or Lowes carries the Irwin Quick-Grip clamp. Get a couple of them. They’re cheap and can be used all sorts of ways. Get the 4 inch ones. These things can be operated with one hand. Clamp something; it stays where you want it. Squeeze the trigger lever and it releases. So, clamp the keyboard so it won’t slide around and go to town. A lap top will work well this way. Not enough room to use a clamp? Put a spare mouse pad under the keyboard/lap top and it stays in place. It's amazing what you can do with a mouse pad besides running a mouse on it.

Mouse: Avoid the run-a-way mouse. RubberMaid make a chair arm tray that has partitions. One of them will hold a 'standard' mouse pad and is deep enough to provide a barrier to keep the mouse from racing off. The other areas will hold a note pad and pen, and there's a place to put a cup.

OK. You get the idea? How about some help, folks? This post is an Audience Participation post. Put your thinking caps on and try to come up with a way to do something useful one handed (that you can do in public and not offend someone’s sensibilities). Send me your ideas and I’ll post them. Silly, crazy, creative, doesn’t matter. Let’s get an idea of what YOU would do if YOU were disabled. Use the gmail icon or the comment area to submit your ideas.



At 12:34 PM CDT, Blogger WizzieBob said...

Thinking about it. It would be really hard to open a bottle or can with the use of only one hand... And I can't really think of a way to do it. I spose you could use a deep cup holder type thing, to keep it steady.

By the way. Thankyou for this post, it really opened my eyes and made em realise just how lucky I am. Thank you so very much!


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