Clothing DIY Everyday Gear Kids

Locking Shoe Laces

Lock LacesThese interesting items make up a Lock Laces kit. The idea is that you thread the elastic laces through your shoe eyelets, push the ends through the cord locks, and then through the cord caps. Voila! No more tying and untying shoelaces — just open and shut the cordlocks by squeezing.

Everyday Gear Gifts Good Stuff Nursing Home

Alzheimer’s Doll — We All Need Someone to Love

People with middle-to-late-Alzheimer’s (and sometimes just plain humans) often respond well to the emotions a baby doll evokes. Lee Middleton, a well-known ‘collector’ doll designer, offers a doll she calls “Someone to Care For” which she designed specifically for people with Alzheimer’s. The doll’s face and limbs are extremely realistic, and he/she can even suck a tiny thumb. It’s available in light and dark skin tones, and various hair and eye colors.

Someone to Care For Doll

Medical Practice Wheelchairs

Rant — “You Ain’t No ‘Count to Me”

So, Medicare has denied my dad’s claim for a powerchair. They need to know whether it’s a sale or a rental. The supplier of the powerchair, which was delivered and PAID FOR last July, apparently failed to mention this when they submitted the claim (two months later).

Everyday Gear Good Stuff Shows and Expos Travel Wheelchairs

Coolest Van — No, SUV — Conversion Ever

Coolest existing product at the WCD Expo? Without a doubt, the Honda Element XWav wheelchair conversion. Forget the van — this SUV gets 26 MPH, and the conversion is a marvel of simple good sense. Freedom Motors had a passenger side conversion at the show. They dropped the right front floor ten inches, leaving a level floor where the front seats go, and an opening an amazing 56 inches tall.

Element conversion open doors

At Home Everyday Gear Shows and Expos

Innovative Cane — Walkin’ Strong

At the WCD Expo this past fall, I tried out a new cane from Strong Arm Mobility. The site’s designed badly with a flash screen to discourage you, but this link will get you to a description of the innovative design.

Essentially, it serves the function of a standard cane, but relying on forearm support rather than just the wrist. It’s kind of aStrong Arm Mobility Curved Arm Cane cane/forearm crutch hybrid, without the clumsiness of a forearm crutch.



As of March of this last year, my stepfather is living on the east coast, where my husband and I live. I brought him here in an air ambulance, certified to fly by ambulance only and in pretty shaky shape. When his most recent pneumonia got him, the only nursing home where he lived on the west coast that could take him turned out to be awful. (“You think this is bad?” a social-worker friend said when he visited. “I’ve seen lots worse.”)


Who am I?

To see me now, you’d never guess my medical history. I’m female, petite, possessed of clear skin and a healthy glow, and look (at least on good days) far younger than I am (good genes — you can’t beat ’em). I have only one physical characteristic that anyone might wonder about, but it’s not so uncommon — I wilt excessively in heat much above 75 degrees.

You can’t, though, judge a book by its cover. I have a history of what were once diagnosed as strokes, but which science may one day determine possibly has determined (March, 2008) were are a rare form of migraine. Result: paralysis, lasting up to ten days, of my left leg, arm and face. I have a several decades-long history of mini-strokes, or TIAs neurological events , resulting in numbness and paralysis for periods of time up to twenty-four hours duration. Twelve years ago nerve damage was discovered in my left eye, perhaps from the “strokes,” neurological events, and I was unable to drive for a period of time. About ten years ago, after some time without difficulties, my left arm and face went numb — the arm for three months.

The “strokes” These neurological events first happened to me when I was a young adult, but I didn’t get a pass from “normal” stuff just because of them. Last fall, while gesturing happily in the kitchen, I nearly severed the two first fingers on my left hand. They’ve been numb for fourteen months now, and they just don’t work all that well. I have osteoporosis in my lower spine (you’d never guess it — not yet, anyway), and apparently may have coronary artery disease, in spite of a lifetime spent as a quasi-vegetarian and with very low blood pressure.

So I’ve had a little experience considering life from the other side of the room, as it were. I’ve also nursed one family member through tubercular meningitis, another through terminal Hodgkin’s Disease, and, more recently, helped my stepfather through six years (so far) of spine surgeries, other health problems and life changes. Maybe you could say that I’ve been all around the room — out in the open, around the edges, and in the corners where navigation’s a little tougher.

After the bigger strokes more serious neurological events, I always assumed that I’d end up in a wheelchair, and it seemed reasonable to assume that I might need some help in daily living — forks I could hold onto with a clumsy hand, that sort of thing. Now I’m healthier than I’ve ever been, but I’ve spent a lifetime observing how small things can make a life with limitations easier — and critiquing how small and large things can make it more difficult. Here’s where I get to share the fruits of my labors, and my observations.

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