Thursday, July 24, 2014

Problem Solving

I'm a tall person, and I think of myself as fairly resourceful too, so I'm always surprised when I can't figure out how to get something from our high kitchen cabinets now.  It was never a problem before the stroke.

Obviously it's harder physically now. But I think there's something else going on. Maybe mild cognitive impairment? Or learned helplessness? Or mind-body connections that are still being forged? Maybe all three.

For instance, the other day I wanted to make a smoothie. But our immersion blender was in the back of the top shelf of the cabinet, just out of reach. Usually, I just ask my husband or my children (who can climb up onto the counter) to get something I need. But I was alone, and after a few failed attempts to reach with my good arm, I was about to give up on the smoothie idea. Then I spotted the container of cooking utensils on the counter. I picked out a big cooking spoon, reached up, and gently dragged the immersion blender right up the the edge of the shelf. From there, I could grab it. When the kids got home, we shared a blueberry smoothie.

I was pleased that I figured out how to get what I needed. But later, I thought: wow, it took me more than four years (and a cooking spoon) to solve this problem.


  1. It took me 2 years to think of using a dough scraper to pick up chopped onions. Labeling objects is powerful, but not always in a good way. Labels like cooking spoon can limit how we think of an object. That is true whether you have a stroke or not.

  2. But you solved it. Onward and upward...

  3. When we remodeled our pantry recently, we were careful to design it so that I could reach every shelf. Unfortunately, we never considered the fact that every horizontal surface gets covered, and since the pantry was finished, we've stowed some things on the TOP of the shelf unit. I, of course, put only light things on top - extra packages of paper towels, etc. Tom, though used it to save space on the lower shelves - two jars of peanut butter were up there because one was accessible on a lower shelf. But when I finished one jar and needed another, using a cane to pull one of the spare jars to the edge was too dangerous for me to try - either a jar bashing into my head or me not catching the jar before it hit the floor. I had yogurt.

  4. Medical professionals all say it, “Stroke is a disease of minutes and seconds. Time lost is brain loss”. What do you recommend as a STROKE READINESS PLAN to save minutes and seconds?