Retooling My Attitude

tool_belt

“If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.”

Abraham Maslow (1908-1970)

The right tool makes every job easier, whether you’re a cook or a carpenter, a seamstress or a surgeon.  And sometimes, the simplest tool can make a world of difference.

A few days ago I received a grabber as a gift.  You’ve seen them advertised on TV — a trigger at one end operates a claw mechanism at the other.  You can get them as fancy as you want — foldable, extendable, super heavy duty.  I opted for off-the-rack at Walmart, less than $15. But what a little miracle it is!

You see, the stiffness and scarring caused by my disease limits my lung capacity.  That’s why any activity causes my O2 saturation to drop like a rock.  When I bend over, I get even more breathless because my innards compress against my lungs, further reducing my breathing capacity.  This makes simple tasks, like picking up clothes off the floor, a feat that requires planning. Bending twice makes me dizzy. A third time requires a rest break and pursed lip breathing.  grabber

As a result, I let things pile up.  I’d kick clothes into a mound for several days and then gather them up all at once. Errant kleenex and nebulizer ampules dotted the floor around my chair.  When I did get around to picking up, it took half a day of crawling, reaching, gathering and breathing breaks to finally see the carpet again. Not anymore!  With my grabber, I spend less than 30 seconds each morning picking up my room without a huff or a puff.  If something slips off the hanger in my closet, no worries!  Even the long lost socks behind the dryer are back in play.

I never realized something so simple could have such an impact on my day.  Breathing easier is a definite plus.  But I think the biggest benefit is that I feel just a little more in control. When I walk into my bedroom, it isn’t littered with the detritus of my disease.  It’s neat and clean, no longer screaming a constant reminder of the little things that seem to get harder and harder to do.  I know that my disease will take its course, there’s really nothing I can do to change that. But I can affect my attitude and my outlook — and those are the most powerful tools I have.

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