Saturday, August 27, 2016

Hands of Stone

This is not about the movie. I imagine it in the movie having hands of stone is a good thing. Not for me. This blog post will be about the contraptions I use to get through my day having hands of stone.

Yeah, I've been literally climbing to the tops of mountains and virtually pounding my chest like Tarzan when I get there. But those accomplishments have all been about my lower limbs. My upper limbs have not been healing that fast.

To get through my day I need a little help. The thing that's been helping me for a long time I can't show you a picture of. I couldn't write this blog without the help of Dragon. It's the software that allows my PC to take dictation for me. I don't use all its features because I can awkwardly use a mouse, but for more than a few sentences the keyboard really doesn't work for me. I used to need a joystick mouse to move the cursor around and a big pushbutton mouse to click. But now I can use a regular mouse.

I get a lot of help in the gym from a active hands (to the right) and a cock up split (left). The splint simply keeps my wrist from stepping back when I work out on the resistance machines that I have to push. But most of the upper body workout machines are bars that you pull. And using the active hands I am able to slide my hands over the bars and get a grate upper body workout. I need to use these on both hands and cannot put them on myself. But if I get some help putting on the active hands at the beginning of my workout and then switch to the splints in the middle I can handle everything else by myself. When I started going to the gym I couldn't handle adjusting the seats or moving the pins around on the weights. I can do that now

In order to hold an eating tool or a pen I have what is called a universal cuff.  I keep the one to the left with me when I go out so if I wind up in a restaurant I can have something to hold my fork or spoon with. The slot that the utensil goes into rotates 360°, so it is also good for a pen if someone insists that I actually sign my name. I use it on my right hand and I can get up there without any assistance from someone else. I can also get the fork into it if I start with the fork in my mouth. The universal grip at right works much better because it supports my wrist. I keep it at home because it's so bulky.

To the right is a device I just discovered and I wish I found a long time ago. Most people don't think of how many times they need to open a package or a baggie. Until I got this is a sealed bag was a stopper for me. Now I can open the mail or bag of chips without asking for help.

It is called a push down tabletop scissor, I call it independence

Thanks eBay vendor McDonald832.

To the left is a handy device I also should've got a long time ago. For a while now I've been able to go out of the house and walk around the park or the neighborhood. But I couldn't get back into my apartment in less someone was there to open the door. With this I could lock or unlock the door. I also looped some TheraBands around the knob so I can pull the door shut. Without them I had to use two hands to pull the knob closed and would inevitably shut the door on my own thumb.

The front door of my apartment building is part of a landmarked block, and changing the doorknob or even the lock would require lawyers. One of my occupational therapists told me that I could sue my building to get them to install something so I can get in and out. I told her that I'm on the board of my co-op and I can just get a pushbutton lock and a lever installed on the back door.

That was easy

I can put my socks on with the help of this...

And my shoes on with this

And they stay laced up with these

I can cut my fingernails with these. I'm still working on the toenails though....

I can take a shower and wash all my parts with this loofa. I actually recommended to all people. ($1.49 shipped all the way from China!)

I'm sure I'll be getting a few more contraptions to help me through my daily life. I really have just one barrier to complete independence and that is as my friend Josh put it the Holy Grail of contraptions. Soon, I'll be able to climb the mountain and pound my chest with joy.


  1. Thank you for sharing this Michael. Now I can recommend these useful things for other people or check back if I need them later myself.

    1. This stuff is only the tip of the iceberg. There are some other contraptions that I don't need any more and lots of other things that help me scratch my fingers. Don't hesitate to contact me directly..............


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