Friday, October 21, 2011

Hooray! Two Disabled Accessories To Make Life Easier and Better

I’ve discovered two disabled accessories I want to share. I recently wrote a post about walker pouches and how important they are for every person who uses a walker.
But I was lamenting the fact that there is a large supply of boring utilitarian-looking ones, but very few fun, fashionable ones. I ended the post with a call to crafters to start sewing some attractive products.
A friend found someone who does just that. Her name is Kathy and she sews quilted walker pouches in almost 40 different patterns.
She says her mom needed a walker after knee surgery and her therapist hung a plastic bag from it to tote stuff around.  "Yuck", Kathy said, or so she told me. I can make something better than that, she thought. And she did.
One of Kathy's pouches
She offers a fabulous array of colorful patterns and has some that would be appealing to men, soon to be expanded.
Kathy sells them on Etsy, the internet marketplace for handmade items. 
The second disabled accessory is a day planner for caregivers. It’s written by blogger Tory Zellick, who provides a wonderful complement to my blog: she gives insight and advice for the people who care for the sick. Zellick was 18 when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and she was a full-time caregiver for the rest of her mom’s life, more than six years
She says her caregiving  would have been easier had someone handed her a day planner to keep track of all the important information. So she wrote one to help others who find themselves in similar situations.
“The Medical Day Planner: The Guide to Help Navigate the Medical Maze” is available to pre-order from Amazon

It centralizes all the information one needs when caring for a sick person. Whether you are alone in taking care of your loved one, or you share that duty with siblings or professionals, a planner where you can write stuff down is vital.
When you get a diagnosis of cancer or something else serious, your brain immediately gets fuzzy. While the doctor is talking to you, it’s hard to digest what he or she is saying. And it’s even harder to remember it.
A book I just read, “Carter Beats the Devil” which is historical fiction about magic and has nothing to do with serious illness, captured how I felt when I first got the news I may have lymphoma. In a scene where two people are having a conversation, the author writes not that one character’s mind was elsewhere, but that it “flew up, around the room and out the window.” 
When you get a life-altering diagnosis, your brain finally comes back to earth. Hours or days later, you ask yourself, “Now, what did the doctor say?”
Many people advise you to write things down, questions and answers for your doctor. It’s good to have something to consult when your memory differs from that of someone who was with you.
Later, as you go through the treatment and healing process, there are multiple medications, tests and appointments to juggle. And often, several people involved.
In my years-long case, I had voluntary caregivers, my wonderful husband and family and friends, a paid caregiver and a host of nurses who would visit my home to give me infusions or injections.
My kitchen island looked like a pharmacy, with mountains of meds (including two bottles that were so high, I called them the Twin Towers). Making sure I got the right doses of stuff at the right time was a confusing job with many participants.
When I first got sick, I started keeping a folder of my test results and notes. Sometimes a friend or my husband would write things down while I talked to the doctor. And we added it all to the folder. It got huge.
A day planner would have kept essential information in a central, organized spot, so anyone visiting my home could consult it. It would have assisted in the continuity of my care. As Zellick points out, it would even be useful for an able-bodied sick person  to keep track of his own medical journey.
My mother-in-law is fighting cancer now. She has a blend of family and professionals taking care of her. At one point about four months ago in the middle of what seemed like tag-team care, my sister-in-law said to me: “I need to get a book where we can all write things down and leave it at the house.”
The Medical Day Planner could not only be used at the house, caregivers could bring it to appointments. Too bad it won’t come out until March. We could have used it in our family for the past 10 months.
It would be a good gift for someone who has received a serious diagnosis of cancer or anything else, when you are not sure what to do or say. He may not even know he needs it (his mind might be still out the window). But he does.


  1. I want to get one of those books! When you have more than one doctor and multiple caregivers it will be really helpful! Thanks for the idea!

  2. Thank you for the kind words :) I am looking forward to seeing the final product myself.