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Coping with a disability
Old 05-27-2015, 08:44 AM   #1
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Coping with a disability

An invitation for suggestions on any type of disability, but at this point, specific to a personal relatively minor problem.

DW tripped while going up the stairs to our campground home. Putting out her left hand to break the fall, she suffered a distal radius fracture... (a broken lower armbone) at the wrist. A trip to the emergency room, and a temporary splint, it appears that the break was clean, and while a short cast may be in the future, she'll likely be limited in the use of her left hand for four to six weeks. (she's right handed)

Certainly not a catastrophic event, and little pain, but it presents some challenges... sooo... soliciting ideas to help cope with this inconvenience.

The major problems come from those simple activities that require two hands.
Opening jars, lifting light objects that are too wide to grip with one hand.
Writing notes, letters or checks... paper slips on writing surface.
Using computer ... where both hands are necessary... ie. control/alt /delete.
Fastening seat belt
Pill containers... snap top multi-day
Washing, rinsing dishes, cleaning pots or pans.
Showering
Eating utensils... mainly, ability to slice with a knife.
Opening food packaging- frozen food packages, zip sealed containers
Reading newspapers, books.

Imagine going through the day with one arm in a sling, and you'll get the idea. Yes, some minor help from the fingertips in the injured arm, but no strength or grip.

So far, a few minor adjustments:
rubberized place mats to stabilize slippery items
cast cover for showering
makeshift clamp, lockjaw pliers.
arm sling
rubber fingertip

What seems to be the missing link, is some type of artificial hand... a clamp or vise type of gripper tool that can sit on a counter or table, to lock in an object to be opened or manipulated.

This is not a life changing event, and we're taking this in stride. It's not disruptive to anything of importance in out lives... simply a wake up call for whatever comes in the future. It's a reminder of how lucky we are and have been. At the same time, it grows our empathy for those who go through this or other types of disability on a temporary or permanent basis.

Open for any kind of experience or discussion that might be of help to those who are, or may be... dealing with a disability.
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Old 05-27-2015, 09:12 AM   #2
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In Windows 8 and above there are features to help for one handed typing, see: Accessibility in Windows 8
In particular down towards the bottom see sticky keys.
As to bathing there is always the sponge bath, as you would get in the hospital.
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Old 05-27-2015, 09:29 AM   #3
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My empathy, no fun. I lost the use of my dominant right hand due to cervical radiculopathy, for 4 weeks. It really came as a shock to my the things I couldn't do.

My DW helped to no end, I felt silly asking for the help. Simple things like the computer have improved their interfaces. Course there's always mouse options too. One improvisation I did was use my upper arm and chest as a clamp. Sorry no great answers, hope she's well soon.

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Old 05-27-2015, 09:51 AM   #4
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No advice, best wishes for a speedy and pain-free recovery.
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Old 05-27-2015, 10:00 AM   #5
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Just be there to help her when she needs it (kitchen, yard, etc).


My wife has a chronic problem with her right hand.


Hope she gets better soon.
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Old 05-27-2015, 10:41 AM   #6
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Just be there to help her when she needs it (kitchen, yard, etc).
+1

DH is unable to walk (MS) but is still fiercely independent. Two years ago he fell and broke two bones in his left hand. He was shocked by how much this affected his independence - and it would have been much worse had it been his right hand.

What seemed to work best was for me to offer help or just do things (cut up meat, for example) before he asked. He really didn't like asking for help. YMMV. Speedy healing to your wife!
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Old 05-27-2015, 10:44 AM   #7
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So sorry to hear this happened to your DW, Imoldernu!

As for reading, if she doesn't have a Kindle this might be a nice gift for her right now.

I had a condition that left me with one functional hand/arm (just for a year or two, a quarter century ago). So, I can tell you from experience, that if she is driving a car with a manual transmission then you need to step in. I continued to drive it, taking my hand off the steering wheel to shift and just letting the steering wheel "float" for a few seconds while shifting. Frankly, that was very dangerous.
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Old 05-27-2015, 10:51 AM   #8
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Over the course of the last couple of decades I have had carpal tunnel surgery, broken hand, broken elbow, tennis elbow surgery and two rotator cuff surgeries all on my right (dominant) hand/arm and all requiring weeks of not being able to use. You just learn to deal with it. My worst problems were putting on makeup left-handed (mascara pokes in the eye) , fixing my hair (it's sort of long and I wear it pulled up/back in various barrettes, clips and bands), pulling up pantyhose (back when we still wore pantyhose) , and driving a stick shift. Around the house I would just holler for help to husband/kids. I learned to write somewhat legibly left-handed. I went to work each day with my hair down and the girls in my department would fix it up for me each day. Other people would carry things for me that required two hands. You get by and laugh at what you can't do. This too shall pass. Hope she feels better soon.
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Old 05-27-2015, 12:16 PM   #9
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Like Big Hitter said, you are now her left hand for about 8 weeks. It's very inconvenient, but she will be surprised how adapted she becomes. [ I broke my primary wrist, then about 4 weeks later lost the thumb flexure tendon on the same hand. It makes for a boring summer]
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Old 05-27-2015, 01:08 PM   #10
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I fell off a ladder and broke both legs. Was in bed 7 weeks without putting an ounce of weight on either leg. When in rehab, I realized how fortunate I was--with all the stroke victims in their '40's.

I now have my wheelchair ramp into the house. The accident did slow me down for a couple of weeks, but I learned to live with The Chair. I'm just fortunate to have the arm strength to get into the wheel chair and getting around.

And I've recovered fully.
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Old 05-27-2015, 01:56 PM   #11
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Like Big Hitter said, you are now her left hand for about 8 weeks.
It sure didn't work that way in my house! In fact, I'm not sure it's a good idea to be that dependent, for that long, unless the break was complicated/displaced/has some other problem. After I broke my right wrist in the gym, I relied on others the least I possibly could. After all, it was only one hand and the other hand was fine.

Enough of my fingers projected from the cast that I could manage most things that didn't involve much lifting. After one week, I was cleared to drive short distances (e.g. to work) and trained myself to use my left arm/hand to open doors, etc.

I was advised to use my fingers as much as possible, and I did! I made dinner every night. For bathing, I had to put a newspaper bag over the cast and secure it with a rubber band, which was a pain. For keyboarding, I used a pen to strike the right-hand letters. For using the hair dryer, I just did the best I could. An experiment with Mr. A. using the dryer on me did not go well....

The cast came off at 4 weeks. As my forearm shrank inside the cast, the cast got loose until almost my whole hand was sticking out. In fact, I used my right hand so much that I broke the part of the cast that goes across the palm! For 3 more weeks, I was in a temporary Velcro "wrap" to support the healing "bone scab." Really, I could do almost anything at that point, except lift weights or support myself on my wrists (that's still not 100%, and could take up to a year).

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Old 05-27-2015, 02:12 PM   #12
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Yeah, I assumed but didn't say "left hand for anything not achievable without help"
You do make a good case for my adaptation point!
I also had my thumb in a cast, so that was a bit harder. Amazing what you can learn to do when you need things to work.
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Old 05-27-2015, 03:10 PM   #13
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I can't add much to what the others have said, but this works great. I got it for DW when she had a problem with her wrist. It's not as fast as by hand but it works well.

Amazon.com: Hamilton Beach Open Ease Automatic Jar Opener: Home & Kitchen
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File Type: jpg jar_opener.JPG (46.3 KB, 5 views)
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Old 05-27-2015, 03:38 PM   #14
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Good to have in mind for when disabilities become permanent, as with arthritis!

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I can't add much to what the others have said, but this works great. I got it for DW when she had a problem with her wrist. It's not as fast as by hand but it works well.

Amazon.com: Hamilton Beach Open Ease Automatic Jar Opener: Home & Kitchen
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Old 05-27-2015, 03:48 PM   #15
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Good to have in mind for when disabilities become permanent, as with arthritis!
If there isn't already I'm sure there will be a small industry catering to such issues with the baby boomers creating a large market for them.

That jar opener works great on glass but not plastic jars, which will crush. It's powered by two AA batteries but they gear the motor down so much it creates a huge amount of torque. That's what makes it so slow though.
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Old 05-27-2015, 03:55 PM   #16
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Imoldernu, It's only for a few weeks why can't you do most of those things for her? Do you have a disability that prevents your helping her? Washing pots and pans......one word "takeout"!!
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Old 05-27-2015, 04:37 PM   #17
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Sheesh, and here I am, telling him to let her get on with it, and not to baby her!

LOL - I'm sure the Oldernus have one a them there newfangled dishwashing machines...

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Imoldernu, It's only for a few weeks why can't you do most of those things for her? Do you have a disability that prevents your helping her? Washing pots and pans......one word "takeout"!!
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Old 05-27-2015, 07:15 PM   #18
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If she ends up with a cast ask about one of the fiberglass waterproof ones. It made a huge difference when our son broke his arm. The lining is a material that evaporates water very quickly so you can still shower, swim, etc. It's lighter, more comfortable and can be washed when dirty.

Sorry to hear about her injury. I hope she has a quick and uneventful recovery.
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Old 05-27-2015, 07:33 PM   #19
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This could help for jar opening.


Amazon.com: under the cabinet jar opener
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Old 05-27-2015, 08:58 PM   #20
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Sheesh, and here I am, telling him to let her get on with it, and not to baby her!

LOL - I'm sure the Oldernus have one a them there newfangled dishwashing machines...
Even if they do, it sounds like Mr. Old doesn't know how to use it....
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