Assistive Aids – Part Two – The Top Half

I mentioned yesterday that I have a subluxated left shoulder.  It’s an awkward injury and apparently a common one after stroke.  It’s where the upper arm bone (humerus) drops out of the shoulder socket due to weakness or spasticity.I have often wished I just dislocated it so it could be popped back in with some type of brute force.  You just have to have off-the-charts patience and determination to see this one through.  Sadly, you get used to it.

18 months later, I still have it although I can close the gap by holding my hands tightly together, thinking hard and exerting upward pressure through my elbow and up to my shoulder through my clenched hands.  Half effort will do the trick most times.

Giv- Mohr Shoulder Sling

For this type of injury a special support device is used its pronounced Give-more and it’s ackward to put on but holds your shoulder in place.  It’s helpful to have your shoulder secured when walking and exercising – for balance and gait issues.  I wore this for the better part of a year but as the gap in my shoulder has mostly closed now with exercise and the mind-shoulder  upward pressure technique and I am able to close it myself I found the give-mohr is no longer as helpful.  I did purchase this on Amazon for $79.99 CAD but can’t find a link to the product at the moment.  There are other shoulder slings but the only one I have any personal experience with is the Giv-Mohr.

Other Useful Aids

Hand Therapy

I used this plastic web to grab and squeeze to stimulate movement in my left hand and fingers.  Use it while engaged in otherwise mind-numbing activities like watching TV or riding as the passenger in a long car drive.There are different levels of resistance – I have this one but I think the blue-red version is more difficult.  For your interest I have some movement in my right arm but very little in my fingers.  Perhaps I need to practice more.

You can purchase most of your assistive aids on Amazon and it’s my preferred way to buy most things.  Delivery is prompt and accurate.  Some Advice for your Family and Friends:  Set them up with a paypal account to purchase online – rather than a credit card.  I have a lot of reasons why this is a great idea for them and for you but my morning is drifting away and I need to be publishing this and moving on.  If you are really interested, drop me a note and I’ll explain why I set it up for myself.  One final note:  Your local Red Cross will often have assistive devices that they will loan you or offer to you for a small monthly rental charge.  A good option especially if you believe your disability is a temporary stop-over on your way back to Awesome.  Although having said that, things like shower seating and other bathroom aids may become necessary again in your senior years (sorry but it’s true.  I find myself staring down that fact that as I get my full awesome back I’m also getting older.

Bras

Sadly, I have no magic bullet.  Best advice remains, if you must do it yourself, to place your bra on the floor and step into it.  Wiggle it up your legs and torso.  Engage shoulder straps and adjust as desired.  There are some good “how-to” videos on Youtube, where people successfully put on their bras with one hand.  I tried these techniques and have now moved on to other options like t- and tank-shirts with a  built  in “shelf bra”  Keeps them lifted but still a little more free-form  than we like or are used to.  I am not afraid or embarassed to ask for help with my bra.  After all, what’s to be embarrassed about?  They look great al fresco and even better in a pretty bra.

In Other Updates

  • It’s still snowing here in Fernie although much lighter than on the weekend.
  • Stu made it back to Calgary safely on Sunday morning.
  • I’m planning a trip to Portugal – more on this tomorrow.
  • “Griz Days” are coming up in our town this weekend. (more on this once I have experienced the various fun activities.)

AFO – The Old and the New

On the left is the custom AFO that was fabricated for me while I was in the hospital.  Rigid plastic encased my calf from knee to foot and made it possible for me to walk.  With prolonged use and as I got faster on my feet, I developed a “snap-back” feeling in my knee that I am now working to eliminate as I break in my new Smart-Step AFO on the right.  It’s  a lot less obvious that I’m wearing a brace and my walking is smoother, more agile and its much more comfortable to wear.  In addition it fits into a “normal” size shoe which is more comfortable, safer and looks much nicer.  It’s the little things  in life and this is a “big deal” for me!  My husband has a different assist planned for me once I start running.(As an aside: I have a treadmill and my husband has purchased or McGyvered a harness for me to wear while using it  This should be fun – more later. )

Have a great day, See you tomorrow!

 

 

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