Archive for ‘Pain/Joint Relief’

September 25, 2018

#553 – Swimming Through Life with RA

MariannaPaulsonShallowEnd340

 

What an honour it is to be featured on the Arthritis.ca’s Flourish – Helping You Move Through Life with Arthritis section.

See: A Mentor Among Us.

 

Challenges are a part of life, whether they be emotional, mental or physical. Sometimes all you can do is tread water and hope that some rogue wave doesn’t pull you under. Other times, you swim to distant shores, if not always easily, but with practised determination.

Swimming has been a constant for me. Little did I know that all those years I spent in the pool, prior to being diagnosed with RA at 20, would become the thing that keeps me mobile and fit. It brings me joy and allows me to move easily when my land-lubber self doesn’t always do so.

Granted, because of surgeries and the way my body has changed because of RA, I have had to modify how I do things. For example, I no longer do bilateral breathing when I swim front crawl because of my fused C-1 and C-2 joints. So, instead I use a snorkel. While I can still use my arms in the breast stroke, whip kick is ill-advised with my hip replacements and wonky ankle. Speaking of hands, I often use hand paddles which not only provide resistance, but also protect my fingers. Admittedly, it took some work to reconcile myself with the fact that I can no longer execute my swimming strokes as well as I once did. I’ve had to learn to adapt as the years flow by, which incidentally, is a strategy I use to help me age well. I do the best I can for each given day.

Just as certain as there is an ebb and flow to the tides, I will continue to swim my way through life with RA.

I have RA, it doesn’t have me!

Will I see you in the pool?

September 18, 2018

Disabled Canadians: Discrimination at the Gas Pumps?

HandicapParkGasPump

After seeing this sign at a Shell Station in Washington state, I wondered if disabled Canadians were being discriminated against at the gas pumps. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that assistance is available at self-serve gas stations. There is no such legislation in Canada.

Well-Kept Secret?

I just discovered that if you have a handicapped parking placard, it is possible to get help at the gas pumps at the following companies:

It’s a well-kept secret, though. I have never seen any signage that offers this kind of help, have you? As it stands now, I have to use a wrench to open my gas cap. I’d rather not get started on the frustrating problem I encounter with the credit card slot! Obviously, those slots are designed for the nimble-fingered!

Full-Serve at a Cost

After all these decades of driving, there have been many times when I considered going to the full-service pumps, where gas costs more per litre than at the self-serve pumps. However, if you live in Port Coquitlam, B.C. or Richmond, B.C., full-serve is the only option available. Wouldn’t it be great to turn back the clock when every service stations offered service? Without a policy in place, pain at the pumps becomes a little sharper. Let me know if you are aware of accessibility services at the gas companies that are not mentioned here.

The Cost of a Disability

A disability is expensive, emotionally, mentally, physically and financially. Why do Canadians with disabilities have to take another physical and financial hit that could be quashed by legislation similar to The Americans with Disabilities Act, which the posted sign clearly reiterates:

Vehicle refueling services will be provided upon request at self-service prices to motorists with disabilities. If the vehicle displays an official state or locally issued disabled motorist plate or placard.

Refueling services will not be provided when there is only one employee on duty.

To obtain refueling services, honk your car horn twice and an employee on duty will pump your gasoline for you. If one is available, you may use the intercom for this purpose.

If you are pumping your own gasoline and the card reader is inaccessible to you, the employee on duty will remotely turn on the pump for you when you lift the nozzle, raise the lever, and select the desired grade of gasoline. After you have pumped your gasoline, please enter the facility and pay the employee on duty.

This facility also provides assistance in obtaining goods for purchase for our customers with disabilities. If you require this assistance, please ask the employee on duty.

I have questions with no answers:

  • It appears that gas companies are self-regulated in terms of offering assistance to those with disabilities. Why is there no such legislation in Canada?
  • Where do the organizations who support people with disabilities stand on this issue?
  • Has there been any sort of Canadian government lobbying to address this lack of support?
  • Are you aware of any other communities that offer full-service like those found in Port Coquitlam and Richmond, B.C.?

Related:

May 10, 2018

Boo-Boos, Helichrysum Essential Oil and Epsom Salts

Boo-boos – we all get them. Big ones and small ones. Nor are our four-legged friends immune from them! I first witnessed the miracle of Helichrysum essential oil when I used it on the hematoma in Holly’s ear. Imagine half a ping pong ball in your ear. No wonder poor Holly was constantly shaking her head.

HollyEar

The vet told us that it would take a couple of months before the blood in the hematoma would be reabsorbed and her ear would return to normal.

I didn’t want her to suffer that long, though. I had learned about the wonders of Helichrysum essential oil from an aromatherapist. I wanted a superior product, so I ordered some Helichrysum from Purify Skin Therapy. It worked like magic! Within a week of daily applications of a few diluted drops, Holly’s ear had almost returned to normal. I was sold!

Last week, I stumbled on a step. Fortunately, I didn’t break anything, but I did hurt myself in several places. I had bad bruising and swelling in my left ring finger, as well my left ankle and toes.

finger

When I awoke the next morning, I was concerned that I would have to get my rings cut off as my finger looked like a sausage. Not a breakfast one, neither, but more like a Bratwurst. (Yes, a wee bit of exaggeration!) Then, I remembered that I had some Helichrysum essential oil. I prepared a dilution and applied it to my finger and foot. By the evening, my finger had returned to an almost normal size, even though it was still bruised. My toes and ankle are taking longer, especially since they weren’t in great shape to begin with. In addition to using Helichrysum essential oil, I’ve been soaking in Epsom salts, which has helped to reduce the pain. Oh, that magnesium! By the way, it is not uncommon for RA patients to be deficient in magnesium.

Note to self: If I ever injure my ring finger again, remember to remove my rings while the removin’ is still good!

 

About essential oils:

You want a trusted source. You pay more for this precious oil. A good quality (and effective) Helichrysum oil is very expensive, but when you learn about the harvest, you’ll understand why.

Helichrysum

Holly Draper, who owns Purify Skin Therapy, is a certified clinical aromatherapist. She cares about her products and she cares about you! If you have questions, she’ll take the time to answer them. (Like whether it is safe to use her Peppermint oil in baking? “Yes, experiment with it, ours is ingestible, being USDA certified organic. But use only very small amounts. It’s really strong.”)

Besides Helichrysum essential oil and epsom salts, what else do you have in your first aid kit?

In my next post, learn about the one trick I taught Holly that every dog should know in case of a medical emergency.

 

Related posts:

April 19, 2018

#550 – Pastry Blender to Potato Masher

PastryBlenderPotatoMasher (1)

If you have compromised hand and wrist function, kitchen chores, like mashing potatoes, can be a challenge. Good tools are essential, as is finding creative uses for the items you already have.

I have a pointy-ended potato masher (see bottom image, on the right), which doubles as a torture device. I had to press down on the end of the handle to apply enough pressure to mash those spuds. While I was getting the job done, I was also gouging my palm. (A mixer or food processor works, but sometimes I don’t feel like hauling out or dirtying those items.)

I was delighted when I found a pastry blender with a handle that is ergonomically-suited to me. It allows me to keep my wrist in a neutral position while I mash, mash, mash those potatoes. My mother-in-law blesses me each time she uses the one I gave to her. My sister-in-law used it at Christmas and she raved about it. Guess what she’s getting as a gift? Shhh, don’t tell her!

If you’re new to stocking a kitchen, or are new to RA, I’d suggest that you select a potato masher, or a pastry blender, with a handle that is horizontal. If you can’t find one, at least choose a potato masher that has a rounded tip on the handle. (See bottom image, left side.)

More creative uses for things you already have:

 

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