June 17, 2019

#573 – Live Better with RA – Tip #8

Tip #8 – Use Tools and Gadgets

Tools and gadgets may seem extraneous, but to a person with RA, they are lifesavers! I use them constantly. Not only do they allow me to be independent, but they save my joints and often, my energy and frustration.

There are so many reasonably-priced tools and gadgets available today, unlike when I was first diagnosed over 40 years ago. “In the olden days,” as my niece would say, you’d have to visit an occupational therapist if you needed something specialized for your needs.

Look under the category “Tools,” to see the things I use, or have adapted to make my journey with RA easier.

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May 20, 2019

#572 – Live Better with RA – Tip #7

Teamholding-hands-2-1309232-639x231

Image courtesy of B S K.

Build Your Team

When you have RA, you may have a tendency to figuratively withdraw and move to an “island,” but don’t.

Your healthcare team is an important part of your journey with RA. Doctors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, naturopaths, nutritionists, coaches, osteopaths, chiropractors, acupuncturists, therapists and friends all have a role in your health and well-being. You may not need them all, or you may need different ones at different times in your life.

Choose them with care.

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May 8, 2019

#571 – Live Better with RA – Tip #6

Tip #6 – Accentuate the Positive

We’re hard-wired to scan our environment for danger. Unfortunately, for some, our experiences have us performing this operation far too often.

In one study, optimistic subjects had increased cell-mediated immunity, whereas a drop in optimism showed a decrease in immunity. Other studies show that an optimistic attitude about aging can help people live longer, and optimistic cardiac patients are less likely to be readmitted to hospital.

One way to flip your perspective is by practicing gratitude on a regular basis. Another is to do stress techniques, which help to lighten the load and carry you into a better frame of mind.

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April 30, 2019

“Paw-blem” Solving

HollysBoots

Holly is still with us, despite her diagnosis in December 2017.

Unlike the boys, Harley and Murphy, Holly is more high maintenance, which is understandable, given her rough beginning. “Just like her ‘mamma’,” says my husband! (RA tends to make one high maintenance, but that’s a post for another day.)

She has an inexplicable skin condition, which is extremely itchy. Her nerves are impacted because of the location of the tumour. As a result, she doesn’t feel when she has the urge to poop. The solution is to put a diaper on her when she is in the house.

She drags her feet when we go on walks, which has worn down her nails so much, that several of them bleed. Whenever we go out, we now have to put boots on her. It’s like getting a toddler ready to go out to play in below zero weather. It takes us about 10 minutes just to get out the door. It is what it is, though.

It’s a challenge to find something that is suitable for both of us. With my loss of hand strength and dexterity, it is difficult to tighten the straps enough so that the boots stay on during our walks. It helps if the straps are long enough so that I can get a good grip on them.

Here are some of boots we’ve bought (and returned):

  • Jawz for Paws Dog Boots  – Impossible for me to stretch the boot enough to get it onto the  “Jawz” – the device that is supposed to make it easy to put on.
  • Puppy Socks – I liked these, but they wore out in 1 week. It says that the toe is covered in rubber. If that were the case, I’m sure that they would have lasted longer.
  • North Fetch Silicone Dog Boots  – I brought XXXL home from the pet store. Couldn’t even get it on her foot. Even if they were a proper size, they’re not tall enough, so you couldn’t tie the boots on tight enough.
  • Waterproof Mesh Dog Boots – My husband uses these. I find that the velcro is not long enough for me to pinch and give a good tightening tug.

Since I couldn’t find any boots that worked, I decided to get some made for Holly. (I’d do it myself, but I don’t have a heavy-duty sewing machine.) We had an old boot that belonged to Harley, which worked pretty well, until she wore a hole in it.

I stopped at the shoemaker to ask him to sew a pair for Holly from a pattern I had traced from Harley’s boot. He told me that he didn’t have any appropriate material from which to make it.

Undaunted, I stopped a thrift store, where I found a pair of men’s heavy duty work gloves that would work. I brought them and my pattern back to the shoemaker. To prolong the life of the boots, I asked him to sew leather over the toes. They were ready in a couple of hours.

DogBoots

To keep them on, I wrap a strip of velcro around the boot and off we go. If they do fall off, which isn’t often, when I can get the velcro pulled tight enough, the bright orange boots are easy to spot.

“Pawblem”solved!

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