Tags: arthritis, dycem.com, grip, non-slip solutions, occupational therapist, occupational therapy, OT, RA, Rheumatoid arthritis
I consider myself very lucky that my rheumatology department runs this early arthritis clinic, even if it is a little tricky to get into it (as you’ll know if you’ve read the two previous posts). I don’t think someone with symptoms as mild as mine would normally have access to an OT. Silly little things have become very frustrating over the last few weeks – opening jars, turning on the kitchen tap, which gets quite stiff, and, on bad days, gripping anything that’s smaller than an inch or so in diameter. I wouldn’t have thought to bother a doctor about any of these things but it was great to talk to someone who not only really understood the frustration, but actually had some practical advice to offer. She’s suggested simple pipe lagging, which comes in a rang of diameters, can be slid over things like toothbrushes, hair brushes etc. to make the grip softer and wider, and she’s given me a bit to take away and try. She’s also given me a bit of magic plastic grippy non-slippy semi-sticky stuff. It’s officially known as a piece cut from a Dycem non-slip reel but I just call it magic! It does the gripping for me so I just drape it over the very stiff tap and I can turn it on just using the palm of my hand! I expect one can open jars and things with it too, but they do also make a jar opener so I might look into that. I’ve got a cane with a moulded hand grip for really bad days … although if my knee’s bad then my hands will probably be too bad to use it … at least I have the option though. And finally I’ve got her phone number … which if she actually answers and is happy to give advice over the phone, could be worth its weight in gold.
I really shouldn’t say this, because she was so lovely, but we obviously didn’t share a sense of humour. ‘What do you use to open jars?’ she asked, before providing me with the little slice of blue magic mentioned above. ‘My husband,’ I answered, with a grin, or something as close to a grin as I could manage given my mood. Now everyone else I’ve said this too has laughed, or at worst chuckled, but she took me deadly seriously … and in fairness I was serious, I suppose. I do use hubby to open jars, but that’s never worried me unduly. ‘Hmm,’ she said, ‘now we must maintain our independence, mustn’t we?’ One of my pet hates is being referred to as ‘we’ but I let it go, because really, she was so lovely and helpful.