Adaptations

Last week, I met with a wonderful occupational therapist about how to better manage tasks I do with my hands while my ulcers heal. She was a great listener, compassionate and insightful. And I learned a thing or two.

Adaptive tools have come a long way in the decades since I last had a consult of this type. I’m still skimming the catalog she gave me to figure out what will be most useful.  Already on order: a tool to help with personal hygiene, which is one of my biggest challenges right now.

In addition, I cut a piece of the foam tubing she gave me to slip on my computer stylus, and now I can use it in my right hand for typing along with two fingers on my left hand. The dictation software is good, but it does not allow for fluid writing for my more creative projects. So this is a stopgap.

And now for a really neat trick that she taught me — a new and improved way to tie my sneakers. There are plenty of gadgets, including elastic laces, that can make this easier. But this trick is just too cool, so I pass along to you:

Step 1: Tie lace left over right.

Step 2: Tie lace right over left. (If you sail or were a scout, you’ll recognize this as the beginning of a square knot. And, yes, you can also do it right-over-left and then left-over-right!)

Step 3: Insert the two ends of the laces through the center of the knot, leaving a loop on either side to form a loose bow.

Step 4: Pull each loop evenly at the same time to either side, and, voila, you have a neatly tied shoe! You may have to play with the size of the knot opening to make it work; a little practice makes perfect.

You can easily tie a double knot to secure it. Whoever was the genius who figured this out, my heartfelt thanks. May the adaptive force be with you!

Evelyn Herwitz blogs weekly about living fully with chronic disease, the inside of baseballs, turtles and frogs, J.S. Bach, the meaning of life and whatever else she happens to be thinking about at livingwithscleroderma.com.

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