When I saw an Occupational Therapist, (OT), a while ago, I took the opportunity to ask her if she knew of anything that might help me become a bit more independent in the kitchen. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, then you’ll know that cooking is something I’m keen to get better at. I’ve even made it one of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2014.
She said that the hospital could loan me some pieces of equipment that I could I try to see how they worked for me and figure out if they would be worth me buying. She loaned me a chopping board with spikes on a while ago, and said that she would try and get hold of something called a rocker knife so me to have a go with one of those too.
The one she loaned me is pictured above, and I suppose it is the kind that you would use to eat your dinner with on an evening and things like that, but she said that they come in other types as well, like bread knives, if I found them useful and wanted to buy some.
I’ve been looking forward to trying out the knife since she mentioned it, because cutting up food is something that I find quite hard at times. How hard depends on what food it is. Things like bananas don’t cause me too many problems, but things like certain types of meat, sandwiches with a few fillings in, and pizza do, to name but a few. I still struggle to use a piazza cutter.
Of course, the size of the plate makes a difference too because I find cutting things harder if they’re on a small one. I often say that people sitting close to me at the table may not want to sit too close in case they end up wearing my meal. How much I’m joking will depend on what the meal is.
I tried using this knife because the OT suggested that it might be easier for me. I’m not a professional so I can’t say if these would work, or be suitable for other people to use. I can only write this post as a reflection of how I felt using this kind of knife worked for me.
The rocker knife is curved so that you cut your food by moving it in rocking motion, rather than pushing and pulling your knife back and forth to cut food. For the purposes of this blog post I used it when I was eating a jacket potato because I was making the meal for myself and I find them really quick to make, and I only have to use the microwave to do it.
I know that jacket potatoes are usually quite soft on the inside. I sometimes have trouble cutting through the skin, especially if I’ve left it cooking for a bit too long. This happens more than I would care to admit.
At first, it was a little strange getting used to moving the cutlery a different way to what I am used to, but this passed pretty quickly. Although some of the skin still took a bit of getting through, I got the feeling it was probably easier than it would have been otherwise.
Because it is quite wide at the edge, I also found it helped when using the knife to push food onto my fork too, which I’d never really considered before I started using it.
I’ll also be experimenting with how easy I find it to use with other foods before I have to return it, although I don’t know what these will be yet. Then I’ll make a decision about if I want to buy one for myself or not.
My serial casting pots got taken off yesterday which I was very happy about, and my new day time splints (also called AFOs) have also arrived.
I had the pots taken off yesterday morning and then went straight round to the department that deals with the splints to get them fitted.
It looks like the serial casting has helped to make my ankles less tight, which is what we wanted. I’m not entirely sure how much difference it has made, but I have an appointment with the physio in a couple of weeks so she’ll be able to give me a better idea.
When I first came out of the casts my ankles ached for quite a while afterwards but my mum and I did a bit of stretching and that has passed now, which is really quite nice.
The thing that took me by surprise the most was how strange I found it when I first put my new splints on yesterday. I had them for most of my childhood but stopped wearing them about a year ago when it was decided that we would try to see how well callipers worked for me.
Although I’m sure they work well for a lot of people, this wasn’t the case for me because I had a lot of problems with blistering. This is why we made the choice to give splints another go after we had relieved some of the tightness in my ankles by doing the serial casting.
I kind of thought that because I’d worn splints for so long before that it wouldn’t really feel odd to me, but it did. Now I just have to go through the process of bedding them in slowly a couple of hours at time until I get used to it again, which could take a while.
As I’m only on day two of the process, I’ll update you all about it a bit later on when I’ve got a bit more to say about it.
They fit inside a pair shoes that you can buy in the shops too although I have to buy them a size bigger than I would normally take without them and make sure that I get a pair that is wide enough to accommodate them.
I guess it’s time that I dug out my old collection of over-the-knee socks that I used to wear with my old ones. I find that helps to make them more comfy because it stops them sticking to the back of my legs.
Believe it or not, I don’t actually remember being told I have Cerebral Palsy.
My parents were told when I was diagnosed at around the age of two, so I know that there was a time when they didn’t know that I had CP, but I don’t remember a time that I didn’t.
I’m sure there must have been an occasion when Mum and Dad sat me down and explained it all to me, but try as hard as I might, I can’t remember that conversation. Oddly enough, neither can they. It’s a strange feeling sometimes, knowing that you know something really important but not really understanding where that knowledge came from in the first place. I suppose it’s a bit like being aware that you know the answer to that crossword puzzle that you’ve been trying to do for days, but you just can’t bring the solution to the front of your mind so that you can fill in the little boxes.
The thing is, I never really remember feeling different either. At school, while all the other children sat on the carpet and story time, I was allowed to sit on a special chair, and for a long time at my primary school, I was the only person there with a walking frame. I knew that none of the other children needed these things, but I didn’t feel the odd one out at all. I needed them and everyone could see why so it didn’t matter. All these things felt normal to me in my head because I’d always used them, so when I sat in my wooden chair to listen to the teacher, it felt no different to me than sitting cross-legged on the floor did to anyone else. At home, I would run down the hill outside my house playing Tag with everyone else. If anyone never asked me what was wrong with my legs, the answer would just trip off my tongue the way that telling someone my name or age would.
Maybe that’s why none of my family remember having The Talk (The CP talk that is, not the other talk. I remember that one, believe me). Maybe we didn’t actually have one at all, maybe it was just talked about so naturally in our house that the information just sank in somewhere without me really having to be told. I don’t know if this is possible – I don’t understand psychology and the brain that way.
I guess in the end it doesn’t really matter how I bacame aware of my disability. In many ways, I personally think that I’m very lucky to have always known that I have Cerebral Palsy.