A Christmas Wish List For Arthritis Sufferers

Pattye Snyder Health Guide


    For a wide variety of reasons, Christmas is not my favorite time of year. I know several other people who feel the same way. This holiday has become so commercialized that
    the magic and fun no longer seem to be there. Although I've been making lots of gingerbread boys, biscochitos, fudge, and my "famous" cashew brittle, it seems to be required rather than enjoyed. To add to my excitement, I slipped and fell in my house and now am sporting a broken fibula, a cast, and some lovely crutches!!!


    Although I am not a frequent church-attendee, I somehow feel that the quiet serenity and peace I feel at church somehow helps my winter doldrums. I even attended church frequently while living in Africa -- the rhythms of singing and dancing somehow gave me an even deeper faith. On Thanksgiving, I did something I had wanted to do for years, but never seemed to get around to it. I delivered meals to many shut-ins in our town. The gratitude of those people actually helped give me hope.

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    It also made me think about living with osteoarthritis. As a long-standing (limping) osteoarthritis patient, I've found there are many things that make my life much easier. Maybe you can find some things for yourself or for loved ones with arthritis:


    Rubber bands. I keep a large variety of rubber bands in my office, kitchen, and SUV. They are wonderful for those of us who find opening many objects a challenge.


    Multi-tool or Swiss Army Knife. I also keep a multi-tool in my vehicle as well as scissors in my kitchen. Fiskars, the scissors company, has a line of tools designed with special handles for arthritis patients


    Yak Trax. Because I live in snow country, I've found walking on snow and ice to be not only treacherous but scary. Yak Trax is a commercial product originally designed for runners in the winter-time. Much to my relief, they slide over the sides and bottom of most shoes, giving much needed traction. They are available in many sporting goods stores and usually cost about $20.


    Rubber bathroom mats. Because I travel a great deal, I've learned to carry a small rubber bathtub mat, since all hotels don't always have these, and I have a major fear of falling due to my problems with balance.

    2-Step Ladder. I also keep a 2-step ladder in my kitchen. I no longer climb ladders, but this is great for holding cookie sheets when I'm doing a lot of baking. Here is an example of a two-step ladder, but they're pretty easy to find online and in hardware or home improvement stores.


    Heated Mattress Pad. Another favorite item is a heated mattress pad which is wonderful to slide into a warm bed on those cold winter nights (I turn it off once I'm in bed).


    Modified Tennis Shoes. I also have discovered a favorite shoe repair person. Tennis shoes couldn't be worn after a steel plate was put in my ankle. When I explained the problem, he was able to stitch the tongue of my shoe so it wouldn't move.


    Collapsible monopod. Because I have a variety of artificial joints, I removed all of the throw rugs from my house (of course I fell anyway, but I've found balance to be a major problem for me and I have to learn to live with it). I always keep a collapsible monopod with me while traveling. They're used to steady cameras, but ther are also  inexpensive, lightweight and great to use as a cane.


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    Aids for Arthritis. There is also a web-site called Aids for Arthritis if you need more help.


    Donations to young orphans. Two friends of mine founded an orphanage in Africa called the Matumaini Child Care Center. You can get some shopping done and donate to their charity at the same time by visiting GoodShop.com. You list the Knock Foundation as the charity you want to benefit from your purchases at more than 700 well-known online stores. You can also contact them at kim@knockfoundation.org



Published On: December 10, 2008