I had a supervisor one time that said, “you are only as good as your tools.” She was referring to the splinting supplies in the occupational therapy clinic that included state-of-the-art warming trays. Thermoplastics used in making upper extremity splints must be heated to the correct temperature or they become gummy; they also might burn your patient’s forearm when it gets too hot! They had a thermometer on the splinting cart which was a luxury in those days. Now with so many choices of materials from which to choose at a variety of temperature specs, having the right tools is standard practice.
Splinting never was my forte but the advice stuck with me. My words came back to me when the men in my life would often repeat this phrase when faced with a decision of whether or not to add to the man cave “tool box!” Yeah, it was usually o.k. with me. Usually a new kitchen gadget jumped into the shopping cart too. 🙂 These days my tools relate more to gardening and my own health care. Here’s a new spin on the latter: your recovery is only as good as the tools you employ for recovery. This post is an addendum to an earlier blog entitled, Keeping Sane While Recovering from Serious Illness. With some tools that are tongue-in-cheek and not necessarily in this order, here goes:
1) Treatment journal, online or in a notebook. Keeping track of medications, supplements, medical appointments, changes in treatment plan, etc. is critical to success. Who wants to make the same mistake twice? My hand-written journal entries are more truncated these days since I’ve got my routine stuff down better and more social supports in place. I do go back to earlier postings and am grateful for some progress. Even if I am not doing better in other areas, I know that I am coping better overall; thank you Lord!
2) Smart phone. When stuck in bed I can still stay connected to the outside world via my social media favs, email, and text. The Bible App is awesome and keeps me in the Word on a daily basis with its Bible-in-a-Year reading program. On my mobile I can also look up what the heck is going on in my body and boost my lame brain with reminders of this or that on my calendar. I was a late-adapter to the world of 4G+ and cannot see going back to a flip phone anytime soon!
3) Fingertip less gloves. My hands and extremities get chilled in the evening. It’s a battle trying to do a few things when I am awake and feeling better in the middle of the night but feel like I’m freezing! The drop in body temp can trigger noxious symptoms so I needed to find a strategy for keeping my hands warm. I was Christmas shopping at Macy’s this past year and there they were in a colorful display: a table filled with mittens that had removable mitts so you could expose your fingertips. Your hands stay warm from the middle knuckles through the wrists. Success! These even come in handy when taking frozen foods out of the freezer or grocery shopping. Grocery stores give me the chills year round. Know what I mean?
4) A really warm fleece jacket with pockets. For the reasons noted above, I finally have something to keep me warm when roaming about the house later in the evening. The softness of the fabric is comforting too. What did we ever do before Polartec? Or maybe for you it is a handheld fan?
5) Fuzzy socks! Yes they are warm. It’s the cute designs and fun colors that make me smile a little when my feet are cold. My cow socks (which were a gift from when my Aunt Patty lived in Vermont) are my favorite. The thicker the better, over the ankle, and loose-fitting too. Such a simple pleasure.
6) Breakfast from a traditional lunch bag. Mornings are the hardest for me. Most days I awaken in elevated pain with noxious symptoms that make it difficult to use the bathroom let alone make breakfast. Finally the Lord led me to a solution of making my breakfast the night before much like I used to make my lunch to take to work each day. The freezer pack keeps it cold until morning. Many times I am eating food cold that others might microwave/heat up before mealtime but that is not a requirement for me anymore. I just gotta get food in my belly to feel better so a chunk of meatloaf for breakfast it is sometimes!
7) Making the effort to cook or purchase special snack foods that fit within my restricted diet. For example, I think I’ve finally mastered coconut flour pumpkin (or squash) muffins to comply with my Candida/mold-free/low oxalate diet. Pulling a little essence of home-baked goodness out of my breakfast bag in the morning with Earth Balance Organic Coconut Spread, I no longer feel deprived! The recipe is a bit challenging so I double it and freeze them for yummy goodness each morning.
8) Emergency remedies on hand at all times. For me this includes high CBD hemp oil and a charcoal-filter face mask that have arrested an oncoming seizure attack when in a public place more than once. We need to be proactive in managing the crises of our health condition where possible, saving the real emergencies for situations beyond our control, eh?
9) Slip-on shoes and slippers. Who wants to bend over and risk falling on one’s head when weak from illness and needing to cover one’s feet? Yeah, not me either.
10) Something or someone warm and fuzzy. Yes, this can include the stuffed kind or your man with generous amounts of chest hair to comfort us when needed. (O.k. maybe your lady in soft flannel pajamas would apply here instead!) When my beloved is not home our German Shepherd pup gets a little extra massaging. Who knew that a big, protective dog breed would love to cuddle? Elle, you rock.
Well there you have it: my top 10 list of recovery tools. Have some of your own? I’d love to hear about them! Please feel free to add your comments below.