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Archive for November, 2010

I have to say, I’m very grateful to The Wright Stuff for allowing me to showcase some of their products that I find very useful. This one, the Leg Loop Leg Lifter, is one I’m very interested in because my knees and hips are getting really painful and stiff. They are making some crackly sounds, too. I’m having some problems getting in and out of the car from time to time, too, so I definitely think one of these is in my future.

I prefer this one to the others I have looked at because it doesn’t require hand strength. I can slip my foot into the foot loop, and slide my arm into the inaccurately named hand loop. So I will save my hand joints and use my larger joints to help lift my leg into the car. That’s where I most need it. But if you have problems with lifting your legs onto a wheel chair foot rest, or lifting your legs into bed, this device will shortly become your best friend! It’s a great idea for those with hip replacement or knee replacement, or for that waiting period before you can have the surgery.

The manufacturer has made the middle of this device rigid – almost like a pole. This gives a bit more control than just a strap.

Leg Loop Leg Lifter

Leg Loop Leg Lifter

Although the picture shows the model using his hand on the rigid portion, that is not necessary. It can be used simply by resting the hand loop on your forearm. You can also brace the loop arm with your other forearm to get a double-arm effect.

Another one, the Triple Loop Quad Leg Lifter may be appropriate, too. It does not have the rigid mid-portion of the Leg Loop Leg Lifter which is the aspect I, personally, find more appealing.

Triple Loop Quad Leg Lifter

Triple Loop Quad Leg Lifter

The Triple Loop Quad Leg Lifter is designed for quadriplegics, and has three loops so one can choose the loop or loops most helpful for you. Although designed for quadriplegics, it can be very helpful for those of us who simply have weak legs and hands.

The Wright Stuff has a number of other styles of leg lifters. If these two don’t look like they will work for you, perhaps one of the other styles will.

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Many of us with chronic pain problems have difficulty sleeping. I know, I do. I wake up multiple times at night, even if I use a sleeping aid. What I have found, though, is that it isn’t so much the waking up as getting back to sleep that counts. I wake when I turn over, I wake when Himself turns over, I wake when either of us needs to go to the Loo. And, then, I wake up in between times. All-in-all, I guess I become wakeful about 6 times a night.

But – if I can just drop right back off, I’m fine. And that’s where my Hibermate comes in: I don’t stay awake. I don’t even open my eyes. Sound is muffled.

Hibermate Sleep Mask - Black

The Hibermate is about the best sleepmask around. I have three that I have used for years – one by my bed that I use EVERY NIGHT without fail, one in the pocket of my chair for napping during the day, and one in my suitcase for traveling. I rotate them, from time to time so they get approximately equal amounts of wear. I’ve bought several for friends, too.

When I awaken at night, I can feel the sleep mask against my eyelids, and I’m unable to “see” any light. Sound is muffled down, so I do not get hyperstimulated. I can turn over, find a comfortable position and spot in bed, then drift back off – never having been fully awake to begin with. No more do I need to take major sleeping aids. I am able to sleep well only using Tylenol PM and Lyrica (which, in addition to helping me sleep, helps keep my muscles free from pain). I’ve left off my Hibermate to see if it really makes a difference – and it does! I can better leave off the Tylenol PM and the Lyrica than my Hibermate when it comes to getting a really good night’s sleep.

Hibermate Sleep Mask - Pink

Hibermate Sleep Mask - Pink

As you can see, they come in different colors. The thing that distinguishes the Hibermate from all the others I’ve tried (and I’ve tried most of them) is that is it soft – no sharp edges jabbing me when I turn over at night. Additionally, it has soft ear pillows. Not really ear muffs, but a soft pillow that covers my ears. It doesn’t block all sound – I can hear my alarm, after a fashion, in the mornings.

Hibermate Sleep Mask - Burgundy

Hibermate Sleep Mask - Burgundy

Now, most people will be a bit taken aback at the price, but these sleep masks last practically forever. I think they are well worth the price. If I have to save up $3.50 a month for 10 months (or $10.00 a month for 4 months – or somewhere in between), I will do that.

Chris, at Hibermate , is very accommodating, and will follow up to see if you received your package, and if it is to your liking. I’m hoping that at some point he will make a purple one – then I will have one to wear for our Red Hat Pajama Breakfast Buffets at the local Holiday Inn!

When you order, tell Chris that Elizabeth Riggs recommended Hibermate to you. He’ll probably send you an e-mail telling you just how many I’ve ordered and that I am very satisfied with them! On the business side, the Hibermate is extremely well-made (no seams give way). It is washable and dryable (take off the ear pillows and only wash the coverings). The colors do not run.

Price is $49.95, shipping included, but currently there is a sale, and you can get a Hibermate for only $35.95.

Thumbs Up!

Thumbs Up!

Thumbs Up!

Thumbs Up!

Thumbs Up!

Thumbs Up!

Thumbs Up!

Thumbs Up!

Thumbs Up!

Thumbs Up!

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As winter weather approaches, those of us with sensitivity to the cold need to make preparations. For me, that means turning in my red plaid, fringed lap blanket (left over from college football games 50 years ago!) for the lovely, double-thick turquoise paisley fleece lap blanket my daughter made for me several years ago. In addition, I have an electric lap blanket that I keep nearby.  Thick socks are a necessity, too. Because I have a problem with sweaty feet that really stink, I nearly always wear white athletic socks. I have a pair of wildly patterned fleece socks that keep me nice and warm, but I wear them OVER a pair of cotton socks.

My fingerless gloves, highlighted in the previous post, are also kept nearby.

It’s time to bring out the thick, fuzzy green robe that I mention from time to time. It’s made with a micro-fiber, and I originally purchased it for my husband. It turned out to be TOO WARM for him! So, I took it over. It almost comes down to my ankles, and wraps around me 1 1/2 times. The sleeves are long, and keep my wrists warm even when I’m not wearing my long fingerless gloves.

Warm foods help: hot tea, hot coffee, hot meals. I  keep hot tea by me all morning in a large, insulated “to-go” cup. In the winter I make more tea right after lunch so I’ll have warm tea the rest of the day.

In these days of economic privations, we keep our home much cooler than we used to, so all the above are important for me.

Moving around generates heat in our muscles, so I move around a good bit in the winter. I have to keep the joints moving, and the muscles warm.

Now, here are the usual tips about keeping warm in winter:

Be sure your windows are closed properly. Heavy drapes help keep heat in and cold out. Existing, lightweight drapes can be hung back-to-back with another set of drapes, or even three sets of drapes can be used. Old sheets can be used to line drapes, or you can even use old quilts in place of the drapes. Use clear shrink-wrap for windows. You tape all around the inside of the pane and apply sheets of polythene wrap. You then blast the wrap with a hairdryer (much fun!) and it seals up the window keeping drafts out for winter.

If your floors are bare wood, as ours are, you may want to put down some occasional rugs to insulate the floor a bit. They are relatively inexpensive at Lowes and Home Depot, and you may be able to find some even cheaper at your local thrift shop or second-hand store.

If your attic or crawlspace is poorly insulated, adding the proper amount of insulation will help. Even putting extra heavy aluminum foil down on top or beneath the inadequate insulation will help amazingly. If you live in an apartment, you can even tack extra heavy aluminum foil across the ceiling. I know it sounds weird, but it really will help!

Be sure any air leaks around windows and doors are sealed. However, remember that your home needs to “breathe.” You need air exchange to reduce stale air problems and to reduce allergies.

Wearing a hat will help prevent heat loss. Remember “Ma in her kerchief and I in my cap – had just settled down for a long winter’s nap?” This actually referred to the habit of wearing a sleeping cap or a kerchief to reduce heat loss from the head. Wearing warm socks in bed will help, too. Wool socks and cap is the best suggestion.

Interestingly enough, silk is a good insulator, and there are many types of silk winter underwear for both men and women. Silk and wool blend socks are very warm, and breathe.

You may want to wear silk tights – two pairs at a time – to help keep your legs warm. Rather than tights, I get knit leg warmers. Guys can wear tights, too. If you can knit, there are free patterns for making leg warmers.

A lap-cat or lap-dog will provide warmth, too. My lap-cat is Magnus. He’s getting old, and wants to keep his feet warm, so more and more, he wants to lie in my lap and purr – even when I’m typing. So, I keep him warm, and he keeps me warm!  He, a harmless, necessary cat! [Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice, Act 4, Scene I] Emmy is not a lap-dog – too large, and as a service dog, she cannot do that. But she comes over and puts her head on my feet from time to time.

One other suggestion – if you cannot afford to heat your home, go “visiting” to places that are well heated – the library, a senior center, a restaurant (order a coffee and sit for a loooooong time), a church, or a friend’s house. Other possibilities include going shopping in a mall, going to a bank, going to a gas station. Don’t forget, Dunkin’ Donuts!

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I remember seeing pictures of people with fingerless gloves when I was a child. My impression then was that these were poor people who didn’t have the money to buy “real” gloves that weren’t worn out.

Well, things are different now. I’m more grown-up (ya’ think?) and I frequently wear fingerless gloves. They allow me to keep my hands, and at least the bottoms of my fingers, warm. This is important for those of  us with rheumatoid arthritis – keeping joints warm reduces pain and stiffness while increasing the ability of the joint to move and be used with much less pain.

We keep our home fairly cool, because my husband overheats very easily. As we both say, it’s easier to put stuff on than take stuff off. So I use fingerless gloves frequently – mainly in the winter, but frequently in the summer when the AC is on.

I ordered mine from Amazon. They have many different styles and colors during the fall and early winter – this is the best time to buy. They are not overly expensive, and if you need other items from Amazon, group them so that you will have no shipping. This is cool!

Fingerless gloves

Fingerless gloves in my favorite color.

They make typing a lot more comfortable. When I’m not typing, or using my fingers, I frequently pull the finger-stubs of my fingerless gloves up to cover all of my fingers. You may notice that these are getting frayed from being used a lot! It’s about time for a new pair. I like this style, so I will stick to it. I may get the Rainbow or Fuchsia ones. I like happy colors around me to make me smile and feel good. And THAT’s good for my arthritis, too!

Fingerless gloves in my favorite color.

Mine are long so my wrists and lower forearms are kept warm, too. You may want shorter ones like THESE or THESE.

OR, you can simply search the web from Google using the search term: fingerless gloves. You will get hundreds of thousands “hits.” All colors and lengths. There are also patterns for knitting your own – if you or someone you know knits.

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The RA Ribbon

Lots of people seem to be unaware that rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has its own ribbon. It is blue on one side and purple on the other, so when it is twisted into the ribbon shape, it shows one color on one “tail” and the other on the other “tail.”

The RA Ribbon

The RA Ribbon

This is OUR ribbon! Please feel free to copy and save it to your computer, then share on various sites – Facebook, Twitter, your blog, etc.

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