Clothing (2)

I thought when I posted yesterday that I’d said all I had to say on the subject, but I realised overnight that I’d forgotten a few things, and I just wanted to jot them down lest I forget.

One of the other things, I got quite close to yesterday, but didn’t actually say it. If you imagine your waist, let’s assume you have 360° there. If you’re able-bodied, let’s also say that this boils down, approximately, to 180° per hand, if you imagine things in a zonal kind of way. So I used to be able to pull my trousers up no problem, for example, easily being able to tuck shirts in etc. and generally looking pretty competent.

But now, with only one functioning arm, the good hand now has to cover 360° all on its own, which makes it more difficult to e.g. get a shirt fully tucked inside trousers. I often end up with an almost-but-not-quite solution.

This problem manifests itself in terms e.g. of my dressing gown, too. Putting it on is one thing (it is always bad arm first, for anything), which I wanted to mention briefly below, but actually tying the cord a whole ‘nother ball game! On my dressing gown, the cord is at the very extreme of my reach.

I don’t say that this is a major issue, but it is A, N. Other thing to make things a little bit harder. I won’t dwell on how I actually tie the knot, but again, teeth are involved.

Also on the subject of loungewear, another issue is to do with my slippers. Basically, I have no movement in my left foot. The ankle is buggered, and I can’t wiggle my toes on that foot. This leads to a state known technically as foot drop (you must be able to Google it!), which is basically where gravity takes over.

I won’t go into massive detail here, but when we walk (as able-bodied people) we naturally put our heel down first. When I walk, the front of the foot goes down first. Imagine a simple hinge. And bear in mind here that on top of this, I can’t wiggle my toas. Enter slippers. By their very nature, these are quite loose-fitting. They slip on. They also slip off! The last thing to add into this mix is that, although I have movement in my upper leg, there is a tendency for it to flop outwards a little. This is basically what happens when your muscles totally relax. To compensate, I suppose, my foot tends to rest on its outside edge. Only slightly.

So, you add all these things together, and two things happen. First, my slipper has a tendency to “slip” right off my foot when I walk. Second, I have a tendency to put my foot down such that the sidewall of the slipper, rather than the sole, is in contact with the ground. Inside the house, these things are an irritation, a trip-hazard. They get less pleasant in the garden, where they become shitty, especially at this time of year.

As a result, I wash my slippers every now and again, which I’m sure was not what the manufacturer intended, and probably shortens the life of the slippers. But it has two advantages for me. First, and obviously, it takes layers of muck on the slippers, and second, it makes the slipper shrink, albeit temporarily. This tightens the slipper on my foot, making it far easier to keep it on.

This is still an issue, in the sense that it still happens today. I did have an idea of putting elastic into the slippers so as to keep them taught on my foot, but sewing elastic onto suede is easier said than done.

The last issue – I’m conscious that my tiny addendum is now longer than my original post – was just about putting things like coats and jackets on.

The woman whose blog I read mentioned that the technique here is to make sure that your bad arm goes in first, which is entirely consistent with what I was told way back in hospital. But that’s not the whole picture. When you get the bad arm in, it is surprisingly difficult to find the other armhole. I mean, you know that it exists, but it is a faff to find it. This is one of those mind-over-matter scenarios, where you just rely on your brain telling you that the hole has to be there somewhere, you just haven’t found it yet.

Again, not a biggie, but something else which adds a twist of complication to the event.


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