Friday, July 23, 2010

Discovering Devices

Living with the destructive effects of cancer on Ernie's sacrum has proven to be a challenge in so many ways. Daily tasks that one takes for granted cannot be taken for granted anymore and alternative ways of doing things must be discovered. Along the way we have had to think outside the box and find devices that allow for somewhat of a return to "normalcy" in areas such as walking, sleeping, bending and sitting. Never again will we take these activities for granted, and we sympathize greatly with those who are handicapped and struggle every day to do these things. Here are a few pieces of equipment we have come to appreciate:

1. The Winnie Walker - Never imagining the need for a walker at 58, Ernie used crutches when the nerve pain in his left leg became really bad. However, crutches aren't always stable if you feel weak, and you aren't able to carry anything if your hands are on the crutches. The traditional walker we had was cumbersome and difficult to use outside. This walker has big rubber wheels for "off-roading", brakes to stabilize it when not walking, and a basket he can use to carry his laptop, water bottle, camera and whatever else he might need. I found it hard to do all the carrying for both of us when heading to long appointments at the Cancer Center or Duke and now he can help!
2. The Bed Cane - When Ern was able move out of the hospital bed and back to our king bed for sleeping at night, he needed something to grab for turning onto his side or getting in and out of bed. This was just the thing he needed as an alternative to a bed rail, and even came with a convenient pouch for the TV remote, his glasses and iphone all within easy reach!

3. The Pikstik - Unable to bend (due to nerve pain from his damaged sacrum) can be very limiting. You drop something and can't pick it up, you can hardly pull up your own pants to get dressed, you can't reach things just across the table...then, along came the Pikstik and Ernie is great with it, giving him a lot more independence!

4. The Food Tray - Being unable to sit at the table for meals, Ernie needed something to reduce the distance between the counter and his mouth when eating while standing. He thought of a tray he had seen at Tara's and it has proven to be just what he needed, making life a bit easier, and keeping his shirts a bit cleaner, while standing to eat!

4. The Relaxer Lift Chair by Golden - This was our latest discovery and after 5 months of only being able to "sit" reclined in a hospital bed in our bedroom, Ernie has now rejoined us in the family room! Traditional recliners are too low for him to get in to without bending, and therefore he had no way to watch a movie or visit with family and friends, outside the bedroom (unless he was standing). We decided to try lift chairs out and were so pleased to find a model he could actually use to get from standing to reclining with very little pain! We are so happy to have him back out where the action is and look forward to using this chair while in the apartment at Duke.

I am thankful every day for Ernie's engineering mind because this is precisely what has helped him adapt and cope with the effects of myeloma on his sacrum. Always discovering, always pressing on, always engineering new ways to do things...that's my man!

1 comment:

  1. I'd forgotten that Ernie is an engineer. Thankful that he can continue to use his gifts even in these circumstances. Love the chair!