Well today is my 9th ME-versary and I didn’t know how to mark it. Looking back on the year things have improved drastically as I said in yesterday’s post. So on today’s ME-versary I’m feeling much more positive than last. After 9 years of being ill, I’ve nothing to really grumble about – I’m moving in the right direction – and no one wants to read a blog post full of moans anyway!
Bearing this in mind I have decided on a post I hope will be useful to some, and give an insight into my life for others. So without further ado I present to you…My Essential Aids to Living. A post full of all the things I need in order to have a bit of independence and get out of the house. Some are shop-bought, others are ingenious ideas but they all help me in some way.
The Perching Stool
|My perching stool post washing up.
For any task that requires standing for a length of time I often require my perching stool. Ironing, washing up, preparing food, sometimes even just making a drink can involve me needing to have something to sit on as it doesn’t take as much energy as standing. Besides there are occasions when my legs absolutely refuse to support me! I recently discovered when washing up or preparing food it’s much easier to have an open cupboard in front of me rather than wedging my knees against the cupboard door!
|My shower stool in the shower.
Chunky Handled Cutlery
|Our polka dot chunky handled cutlery.
Large Handled Mugs
|My large handled mugs for cold drinks.
Something I discovered early on in my illness is that glasses were more dangerous than anything else – they just slip through my fingers and I end up very wet! So we’ve had to invest in a number of mugs with suitable sized handles; not always an easy task when buying a mug without going to a store! But after a number of years we now have a collection of useable mugs for me. I’ve got some large mugs – often described as latte mugs I believe – which I use for cold drinks.
|My large handled mugs for hot drinks.
I always have one of these filled with a soft drink whether it be day or night as it helps keep the dizziness at bay as well as soothes my constantly sore throat.The ‘normal’ sized mugs are used for any hot drinks I have throughout the day. The advantage of having this large handle is I can have my hand around the mug (if the drink is cool enough of course!) and my fingers through the handle meaning it’s almost impossible to drop the mug completely and I’m less likely to spill my drink down me.
|My toothbrush complete with foam curlers.
|My crutches for downstairs and going out.
I have a potentially strange setup with my crutches. I own two pairs; one provided by the NHS, the other bought off the internet. I’m betting you can tell the difference from my pictures! Currently I have one pair, my posh web-bought pair, at the bottom of the stairs. These are used around the house and garden when necessary as well as when I go out. This pair has some comfy grips on the handles which reduces the pain of using them for a lengthy period. They are also have an open cuff meaning wearing a thick coat isn’t a problem!
|At the top of the stairs.
|In my room.
I keep my NHS pair upstairs. When I’m very bad they’ll both be at the top of the stairs if I’m downstairs, or in my room with me if I’m up there. Currently because I’m not too bad I have one at the top of the stairs and one in my room. This means if I get up in the morning and find my legs aren’t great I have one with me for support or if I get upstairs and find I need a bit of support there’s one there to grab too. If at any time I’m going upstairs and feel I’ll need both when I reach the top, I ask my parents to get the one from my room and put it at the top of the stairs with it’s partner! My NHS pair also have pipe insulation and sweatbands on the handles so they don’t hurt my hands quite as much; I used to get horribly sore and blistered hands from using them so we had to come up with a solution for that and of course pipe insulation was the obvious answer!
The Folding Walking Stick
Whenever I go out without my crutches (a very rare occasion right now) I carry a folding walking stick in my handbag, ‘just in case’. It has it’s own plastic bag to keep it folded up and any dirt out of my bag! However this is starting to fall to pieces and I will have to see about getting a new bag, maybe even making one. This stick has been a regular in my handbag since around 2009, when I was at my best but still occasionally needed some support when walking. The best part of this stick in my opinion is that not only does it fold up but it has a jazzy floral design AND gives me an excuse for a large handbag! In recent years it has had a bit of a break since I’ve required my crutches more, so it’s been left resting in a handbag under my bed.
|My Posh One
The Dark Sunglasses
|My dark glasses.
The must have accessory for any person with ME. For me it’s been a struggle to find any cheap sunglasses for this purpose – wearing glasses all the time and not being able to see without them I can’t just go out and buy any old sunglasses. While my eye sight is still changing each year I refuse to buy prescription sunglasses on top of the price of my glasses. So I have two of this rather unstylish pair which fit over the top of my existing glasses; one lying around the house and another in my handbag, as you probably guessed! I find these help not only for the sunlight outdoors but sometimes for the sunlight indoors, the main lights and also the fluorescent lights many shops and doctors surgeries have. All of these hurt my eyes and can leave me with horrific headaches. I even use them when on my laptop or tablet whether I’m studying or just browsing the web!
|The brush fitted as a lid on the pot.
|The brush and pot.
And not forgetting ‘Bob’ my Wheelchair
|Meet ‘Bob’ with an extra cushion.
Yes I’ve named my wheelchair ‘Bob’! I figured since I rely on it so much to get out it might as well have a name and is often referred to as ‘Bob’ and as such a male! He is the best wheelchair I’ve had by far (I’ve had one other but used a total of 4 during my 9 years of M.E.) I can even manage to self-propel myself a little bit these days which gives me a little bit of independence in shops. Without ‘Bob’ I wouldn’t be able to get out much at all; I can just about make it up the road to the corner shop on crutches at the moment and even that takes requires a long rest afterwards!
|‘Bob’ can even hold crutches!