Monday, 27 October 2014

Things I now can't live without

Since getting sick my world has changed in ways that had I not been ill it never would had. Gone has my desire to fill my home with the latest material whim - just as well because I had expensive tastes and did not have the budget to indulge it.


My home is now filled with things that make life easier or more comfortable for me. Design is very important, labels no longer are. This principle extends to clothes, shoes, household appliances  all manner of things. Comfort and ease of use are paramount when your manual dexterity goes. So I thought I would compile a list of things that I can't live without should the zombie apocalypse come or should I be sent away to a desert island. I would be screwed on both counts anyway due to their being no electricity to power some of these items.


Disclaimer: I am not being paid by any company to endorse their products. These are simply the ones I use and will receive no financial reward for mentioning them on my blog.


Eye mask collection.

Since getting sick I have found eye masks brilliant for when I want to sleep during the day. My favourite one is the F Off one as this usually lets people know how I am feeling should they wish to try to disturb me. Both of these eye masks were bought for me by my sister. It's very important when buying an eye mask that you try it on as it does need to be comfortable. If I have ptosis or sinus pain I can't wear the F Off one as it feels too tight. The lion mask is ideal in these situations as it is quite loose. It's not as good as the other eye mask for keeping the light out but it works well enough. They are great for when I have a migraine that makes me light-sensitive. So if you have never tried an eye mask they are well worth a try. The F Off one can be bought from Amazon in the UK - I am sure other retailers will sell it also!



Wrist splints and arthritis gloves.


I have had problems with my wrists / fingers causing me pain on and off for years, even before my health took a turn for the worse back in 2007. I find if I have done a lot of writing or anything where the movement is repetitive I end up with wrist / finger pain. I pop these splints on and find they are very effective in holding my wrists in a neutral position and thus resting my whole hand. I did own a black pair of splints a few years ago and that was a massive mistake. I was constantly having to clean the dog hair off them! With having three dogs the amount of hair they shed can be quite impressive. My black pair ended up being re homed with my parents. Do shop around for splints as prices vary wildly, also make sure you order the correct side as in a left brace for the left wrist. Make sure you get someone to measure your wrist for you so you can buy the correct size. A splint really needs to be comfortable and not rub around the base of your thumb as you will end up not using it. 

The gloves also featured in the photo are of my arthritis gloves. Due to Dysautonomia my hands get very cold, my fingernails turn blue with alarming regularity. When my hands get cold I suffer from joint pain in my fingers. During the winter these gloves are an absolute boon. They are thin enough that you don't lose whatever manual dexterity you have, however they do keep your hands warm. When my husbands psoriasis had a bad flare up earlier this year I got him a pair of these gloves to wear whilst he was at work to protect his hands. They really are very good, they were bought from a famous online retailer named after a large rain forest! 




Sunglasses collection


I have developed light sensitivity since becoming ill. I was always light-sensitive even as a child any sunlight at all would leave me squinting and going for my sunglasses. It's not just the light sensitivity though with suffering ptosis I feel very self-conscious when I am out and about so the sunglasses hide that. I have different levels of tints for different times of the year. Normal sunglasses on a cloudy winters day are far too dark so I wear normal glasses with tinted lenses that have no prescription - the green ones. My red / pink-tinted glasses are for when I have to spend a lot of time using the computer. I find the wave length of the light can leaving me feeling like my optic nerve is being burned! So the red lenses just drop the light levels down. My Gucci sunglasses were purchased before I became ill and they have the darkest lenses of all my glasses. I have another pair which I forgot to photograph, they have a much bigger lens so that if my eyebrow is drooping through ptosis the size of the lens covers it up nicely.




Wedge Pillow


The photograph above is of my wedge-shaped pillow. On days when I am stuck in bed feeling faint this is brilliant, it has one thin end that you can sit just under your bum and then the thicker end you can put your legs on and it raises you legs up for you. I was very lucky that my mum happened to spot it when she was shopping in a German based supermarket that is popular in the UK and got it at a bargain price. It is quite large to store away when it's not in use but hubby always manages to get it in the airing cupboard......somehow!

In the photograph below is a little smorgasbord of items that I use pretty regularly. The lap tray that everything is balanced on is a brilliant item. When I first got ill my friend Ellie suggested I got one so that I would be able to use my laptop whilst in bed. It's not only great for using my laptop but when I am too sick to go downstairs for meals it also serves as a dining table. It is easy to wipe clean and the legs fold away so that it can be stored next to my bedside cabinet. It's also nice and light which means I am usually able to set it up without help.

The large red item on the right of the picture is my heat wrap. I have a tendency to burn myself when I use hot water bottles. If I am unwell and hubby is out or at work I can just flick a switch and I have instant heat on my back or stomach or whatever else is hurting me that day. I did have a blue one but unfortunately it died this year. It was one of my most used items and I went a few months before I found something I felt would replace it. I like heat wraps and hot water bottles to be very hot, luckily my heat wrap comes with three settings and it automatically cuts out after a set period of time. This new one can also be washed which is an added bonus.

I have spoken about my shower cap before on my blog many years ago and this is the same one. I love my shower cap and although many people may feel it is rather old-fashioned, it saves me so much energy by not having to wash my hair. I can't go in the shower without it if I am not going to wash my hair as a drop of moisture and my hair is a mass of curls. I like my hair straight so avoiding frizz is good. I don't like having a wash at a sink, if I am not well enough for a shower I will simply wait until I am, unless I am having visitors. What I haven't taken a photograph of simply because I forgot was my shower stool. I love my shower stool as it means I can have a shower without standing. Much safer for me!

I also use dry shampoo when I have been able to wash my hair for a while. I am sure there are many brands of dry shampoo this is just the one I use. You do have to be careful that you don't spray it too close to the roots of your hair otherwise you end up looking like you have gone prematurely grey. It freshens your hair up whilst getting rid of the grease so you don't feel so grotty when you aren't well enough to wash your hair.

The last item on my lap tray is a shower gel by Burts Bee's. My skin has become incredibly dry and sensitive since becoming ill. I have to be very careful what products I apply to my skin as I will have an allergic reaction, even to things I have used for months. This shower gel doesn't foam up but leaves your skin feeling clean and it smells heavenly. As it is only me that uses it a bottle of this (although expensive) will last me several months. I really couldn't live without this.

Lap tray, shower cap, heat wrap, dry shampoo and shower gel.



V-shaped pillow, boudoir cushion, Russian Doll hot water bottle, Babushka hot water bottle.
The last photograph contains two of my most treasured possessions my hot water bottles. The red one was a Christmas present from Ellie who must have searched high and low to find me a Russian doll hot water bottle cover and the pink one is a Babushka hot water bottle cover I received as a present from my sister. I don't think a day has gone by in the last 6 months that I haven't used them, it's actually probably longer. Heat is the only thing that my chronic pain responds to. At least if there was a zombie apocalypse I should in theory be able to get my hands on some hot water!

At the front of the picture on the left hand side is one (of two) boudoir cushions - they match my bedroom curtains. They were initially bought purely as decoration but they are just the right size to pop under a sore knee or to prop my head up when I want to watch tv in bed. I am amazed at how much I use them. Just as well because they weren't cheap.

At the back of the photograph is my V-shaped pillow and this is also used daily when I am resting in bed. I have rest periods every day and the v shaped pillow helps keep me propped up comfortably. Its also great for when I want to read a book. If you put it around your middle whilst lying in bed you can rest your book against it saving your wrist joints. I find holding a book is very hard as my wrists are quite weak. I found this out by accident one day and its been an enormous help to me, it has enabled me to continue reading when I had almost given up.

There were literally too many things to choose from when considering writing this post. I had to think very long and hard about what things I used on a daily basis and what was nice to feature but didn't get used an awful lot. Everything featured in this post gets used heavily. I haven't included any modern technology but of course I couldn't live without my mobile (cell) phone, my Nexus 10 (tablet computer) and my chromebook. I am very lucky that I am able to afford to buy these things. Without them I would be very isolated as social media, text messages and phone calls keep me connected to the outside world.

I haven't included the adaptations that have been made to my home such as grab rails or an extra banister going up my stairs. Nor have I photographed my chemical toilet or numerous walking aids simply because they aren't very glamorous despite the fact they too are used daily.

I just wanted to give you a little peek into my world and find out if there was anything that you would also find useful. As always thank you for reading xx

2 comments:

Ellie Garratt said...

My memory is so bad, I can't remember where I got the hot water bottle. I want to say Paperchase, but I'm not sure. I'm so happy it's something you've found incredibly useful.

Rachel Morris-McGee said...

Hi Ellie,

Thanks for reading and commenting on my blog post.

I love the hot water bottle / cover you got me. Its just a perfect dinky size!

Thanks

Rach xx