I’m not one to sit still, unless I’m working and/or typing a blog post. I move and explore new places whenever I have an opportunity, so my functional limitations related to walking, standing, driving and focusing did have an impact on my freedoms and activity. As I reflect, I also share what I found to help others who find themselves looking for solutions.
Simply traveling “outside” was a challenge due the my fear of falling or not being able to make it back inside before the fatigue took over. My solution, a tripod stool that I could carry with me when I ventured out alone or with someone else. I could hold it and my cane and be ready to put it down to sit in a moment. No, I couldn’t do much when I got outside, but I could sit and at least follow my family and friends. I could even feel safe risking a short hike with my husband – knowing I could sit on a stool and more easily stand given my floppy feet. Later, I found a stool with telescoping legs – which I wish I had had at my worse. A higher seat would have made standing easier and faster.
Then came the car. Getting into my Mountaineer was like climbing Mt. Everest. Getting out, was more like a controlled slide/fall. In a regular car the two experiences were reversed. After getting in or out, I was usually exhausted from the effort. Part of the problem was finding the right place to grab on to support me. I later learned of the Metro Car Handle, which is inserted in the door strike for more support in the rise and fall process.
I had my cane, but really needed more for a while. But, I didn’t like the walkers I found. They were too big and bulky and looked like they were for “old” people. I wanted something leaner and meaner that I could easily fold, carry and put into the car. Or, when I went to visit my parents so I could show my mom I was OK, take on the plane with me. The lightweight and trimline EZ Fold Walker was what I needed.
I also really needed a bedrail at home in addition to my foot stool. But, I also thought about those who travel and probably need to take a portable bedrail along. I found two options the Traveler Bed Rail Advantage and Econo Bedrail . This is mostly a personal preference and budget decision.
Traveling also means bringing along a toothbrush. I had an awful grip and hard time grasping and actually using a toothbrush. I was introduced to Dr. Plotka’s Travel Toothbrush and used it at both home and while traveling because of its chunky handle and the silver flossing bristles that helped me do a much better job cleaning my teeth. My fears of several cavities disappeared when I began using this toothbrush! Today, I just use the traveling one for travel and have a regular one for home.
One last thing…. driving means bringing a bottle of water with me or picking up a Coke at a stop during a road trip. There is nothing worse than fighting to open the bottle, including medication or ibuprofen, only to fatigue yourself. Yep, it can wear you out. So, I recommend some sort of non slip bottle/jar opener in the car; as well as, in the kitchen and bathroom. One I found is from Dycem that fits a variety of cap/top sizes. In addition, it doubles as a portable grip for opening doors.
If you have found anything that makes your travel just a bit easier, please feel free to share it below. Who knows, maybe it will be something I can add to my shop to make it easier for patients like us to find.