I get by with a little help from…

All this stuff…

In writing about my compression stockings for Wednesday’s post, I was reminded of all the other things that I use, either currently or have in the past, that have made my Chronic life a bit easier.

I feel like they also need a little blog post of recognition, if only to assure these inanimate objects that I love them and appreciate their service.

Wheelchair

First off, I have to address the tricky, tricky Chronic controversy here. There are some POTS camps that say that you should never use a wheelchair, because you will get lazy and grow dependent on it and your muscles will atrophy and you will NEVER EVER GET BETTER (I’m sure they are not truly that drastic, but that’s what it sounds like to me when they get on their soapboxes and start talking…). Listen, I am not lazy. I have never been lazy, I doubt I ever will develop laziness outside of the normal and societally acceptable I-watch-TV-for-an-extra-hour-on-the-weekends laziness. But for a good amount of time (2008-2010ish) I could not walk by my self more than just around the house. I would get all fainty and weird and have to sit every few steps, which makes doing anything take a lot of time. Plus it’s gross if there isn’t actually anywhere to sit and you end up on the sidewalk because you need to sit down RIGHT NOW. Also, when you faint or near-faint, your body becomes dead-weight. I am apparently really heavy when I am dead-weight. I wouldn’t know, but my mother and her thrown-out back agree that it was much easier to just wheel me out of the way instead of trying to pick me up off the floor. I will have to take her word for it.

So I used a wheelchair. This is my wheelchair, which a group of POTSies in 2009 agreed was cooler than all other wheelchairs, as it is plaid. At one point it had a name (you know you have a Chronic illness if you start naming your assistance devices!) but I don’t remember it anymore (you know your Chronic illness is improving if you can’t recall the names of your assistance devices! Or you just have brain fog…). Also, there is only one picture in existence of me using my wheelchair, as it made me super self-conscious at the time. But I really wanted a picture with that Barbie Bug at the Barbie Convention (long story-random fact, I like Collector Barbies), so there it is.

IMG_0491barbiecar Shower Chair

There are lots of chairs involved when you have POTS or other illnesses that involve fatigue. This guy can be used in the shower, when showering is exhausting, and also doubles as a regular old chair that sits next to the sink to use when brushing your teeth, drying your hair, painting your nails, putting on your makeup, or anything else you might do in the bathroom, becomes exhausting.

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Detachable Shower Head

Besties with the shower chair, the detachable showerhead comes in handy when you are sitting in the shower. It’s much nicer than trying to figure out just where to put the shower chair so that you are actually under the water, but not drowning. Added bonus in that it makes cleaning the shower much easier!

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Shower Bars

My shower is full of things to grab onto. A few years ago we had a horrible toxic mold problem stemming from a pinhole leak in a pipe in the wall that we had no way of knowing about until it was Too Late. So we had to have the entire bathroom redone, which was horrible (home construction in any form is an Ordeal), but also not so bad as I got to have safety bars drilled into the shower tiles. I’ve got the standard one in the middle, plus one on each end. We got these nifty shelf-safety bar combos at Home Depot and they are the greatestthingever. Also take note that I have suction cups to hold my razor and loofah sponge at eye level- the less reaching the better!

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Sound Machine

This one’s not just for Chronics! I have a lot of trouble sleeping. My mind is in constant motion and the only thing that helps is to turn this baby on and up. My sister hates it because she thinks it sounds like water running (not good when you’re trying to sleep) so I don’t bring it with me when we go on vacation and have to share a room (see, I make Sacrifices, too!). But any other time, this guy is right by my bedside, lulling me to sweet, sweet dreamland.

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Reading Glasses and Large Print Books

I am really a 90 year old woman. There are a number of things I do that would lead you to conclude this, namely my penchant for compression stockings and the fact that I don’t always think 8:30 is such an unreasonable time to go to bed. If that didn’t convince you, the fact that at the ripe old age of 20something, I need reading glasses and I prefer large print books from the library would. And why shouldn’t I get large print? If they print it and I can read it without triggering a migraine (because some of those printings are small in regular books) then I am going for it. I read all of the Hunger Games books this way. It was fantastic.

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Iphone

I think a lot of people would agree that a smartphone has made their lives, Chronic or not, a little (or a lot) easier. For me it was nothing short of miraculous. The ability to make a never-ending list of alarms to match my never-ending list of medications-at-different-times was key. Basic stuff like ICE (in case of emergency) apps make me feel a bit more secure. Plus I can do fun stuff like check this blog and its Facebook page, and take pictures of all my super helpful appliances to upload.

I am quite sure that the list of things I use to make my Chronic life a little easier could go on and on. These were the first things that came to mind. I hope my other appliances and apparatuses and devices of assistive nature don’t get jealous that they weren’t included. I’m sure they’ll pop up in another post eventually!

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