when i got back from the nursing home, all of the “stuff” that became part of my life was upsetting to me as a 36 year-old. i had a wheelchair, wheelchair seat pad, bars on the toilet, a shower bench and many other things. this as a woman who had traveled so light that i managed to avoid carrying a purse until i was about 30 – keys, cash, and my chapstick all fit in my pockets.
but then, like a good daughter of the 70s, i started to think like barbie. i realized that i was temporarily disabled barbie, and these were my accessories. once i started to think this way, i carried my accessories with pride, like barbie with a new handbag. my enormous and garish pill case made me smile, as i remembered having to learn how to swallow pills my last week in the hospital so that i could have the feeding tube removed. it was a symbol of progress.
we all got in the spirit – my mom and i found a cup-holder for my walker, and when i got up in the morning there was a beer in it. since at the time walking wasn’t my specialty, i usually used it to transport water or a coffee if i was out on the town.
i realized that my accessories allowed me to have more independence. at the coffee shop, my hands were full with the walker, but i could finally bring my own drink to the table. my pill case allowed me to manage my meds myself, a step towards being able to live on my own again. and all of the bathroom accessories meant that eventually i could use the toilet and take a bath on my own, which certainly made me feel more like an adult.
now my accessories are a little more stealth and easier to haul around. i bought myself some lovely yarn to crochet myself a scarf during my upcoming travels, and i found an “ergonomic” crochet hook – should make things a little easier (crocheting is good occupational therapy for my weak left hand).
speaking of my weak left hand, it has made keeping my nails short a real problem. my mom happened to buy a foam nail buffer, which is large enough that i can use it with my left hand. voila! nail problem solved, and i added a cool new accessory.
accessories are about accessibility. barbie knows what’s up.