“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.
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.