Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Persistence and Creativity

As I’ve become more disabled, we’ve had to invent new ways to accomplish even the simplest tasks. Kim and I have developed processes for me to brush my teeth, shave, and eat various foods. We’ve also figured out ways for her to help me shower, get dressed, and get into and out of bed. The list goes on. Because my condition is not stable, we often have to tweak our processes, or throw them out completely in favor of new ones. Our secret to success? We practice persistence and cultivate creativity, and we often apply alliteration (obviously optional).


Sometimes we simply can’t come up with a good solution, and that’s when we call in the expert – my occupational therapist, Maren. Once in a while she has the magic answer, such as, “Oh, they make a gizmo for that. Let’s google it.” But more often than not we just start brainstorming, and she’s really good at that. She has a collection of materials in her car, duct tape included, which we have used to build prototype assistive devices many times. We are persistent, because most ideas are bad ones, and it sometimes takes many tries to find a good one. We are creative, because some of the best ideas sound crazy at first, but make perfect sense in the end.

Lately, due to spasticity, my feet have been falling off my foot pedals a lot, and I’ve had trouble getting them back on. Earlier today I had an idea. If I could raise my wheelchair up high enough, I could put my feet down on my bed, and then tug on my pant legs to get my feet onto the wheelchair’s foot pedals. I tried it, but it didn’t work. The bed was too high, and the blankets held too tightly to the soles of my shoes. I was disappointed, but only for a moment.

I noticed a footstool at the end of the bed. It’s there so our dog Phoebe can jump up onto the mattress. After getting the okay from Phoebe, I tried the same process with her footstool as I had with our bed. It worked! I was quite pleased with myself.

Persistence and creativity, essential tools for everyone, but especially the disabled.

5 comments:

  1. Right now I am trying to get out of my section 8 housing. Live alone and can't afford decent living conditions.

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    Replies
    1. Good luck. Your challenges are greater than mine.

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  2. You should offer your services as a consultant!

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  3. Our 'life hacks' are so different from those in the normal, able-bodied world. We become inventive due to necessity, but our end products are usually brilliant -- even if they're only footstools!

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    1. Yup, necessity is the mother of invention

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