Wednesday, September 27, 2017

It's Great to be Loved by a Gear Head.

The topic for RA Blog Week day 3 is partners. I've got a great one. Almost all of my tips and tricks  for surviving RA were brought to me by my gearhead husband.

It is easy for me to tease my husband, because when he develops a new passion he goes a little overboard. When he wanted a fish tank, no lonely beta fish in a bowl would do. We had a full-fledged salt water reef tank complete with day, night, and moonlight lighting, daily chemical water tests, and intricate filter systems. Interests in photography and guitars have followed a similar pattern. When he starts something, my sweetheart needs all the tools to be satisfied that he is doing it right.

This attention, or obsession, with detail ties right into my sweetheart's core skill. He is a problem solver. Professionally, he helps big companies fix computer issues. Personally, he fixes our finances, plans for retirement, makes sure that everything works.

Except me. My illnesses really frustrate my husband because he sees me suffer and struggle, but he can't fix the problem. The closest he can come is to notice the details and obtain the gear that will make my life a little bit easier.

For a long time, our goal was to keep me teaching as long as possible. If I could work until I was fifty-three, put in those thirty years required for a full pension, we would have a dependable income source for the rest of our lives.

Teaching takes a huge toll physically and psychologically. I thought my job was killing me even before RA. My problem solver did everything he could to make life easier.
This tool would have kept me in the classroom.

I keep asking, but no one will buy me a gravity belt.
Standing through an eight-hour day is impossible. My love got me a computer chair I could (and did) sleep in and a stool that was perfect for perching on in front of the classroom. He made no objection to my buying the one shoe that worked (Minnetonka Moccasins for me) in every available color. I think I own nine pairs right now.

 One year my Christmas gift was the most gorgeous wooden cane, which was sometimes necessary for me to get outside for fire drills. My arms got tired too, so before I was able to steal a rostrum from a retiring colleague, he researched buying one.
I could replace (or repair) my doctor with a medical tricorder.

At home, the food budget was expanded to allow for as much take out as necessary, but my kitchen was upgraded with subtle helps as well.

The floor of my work triangle is now covered with a wonderfully padded rubber mat. It saves my feet, my legs, and my dishes. I was a clutz pre RA, now dropping things is a daily occurrence, but most dishes can bounce on this floor.

The fish tank taught my husband about the importance of natural, full-spectrum lighting. I have a big window in my kitchen, but it faces north, there is no sunshine. He installed  a new florescent fixture and found the right bulbs. The heart of our house is now a possible treatment for seasonal affective  disorder.
I hope to postpone joint replacement until it can be done right. 

I did have to leave teaching early, but my love has continued to provide technical support for my health. We moved our bedroom into the basement because that is where the laundry room is. I can navigate the stairs now, but knew a great lady with MS who died after falling down stairs carrying a laundry basket. I am terrified of walking on stairs and being unable to see my feet.

We now have remote controls for several sets of lights, so I never have to stumble through a dark room. Despite my reluctance and tendency to lose or wash small machines, I am on the verge of having an iPhone to keep me always within reach of help.
DRDs are way better than Roombas. 

Now that I am looking for a second, physically gentle career,  my husband is eager to help me in any way he can. He has guided and improved my photography for the blog. As soon as I expressed an interest in podcasting (about poetry, details to come), he was ready with tech links and thoughts about the gear we can get to make it work well.

Just this past weekend, we went into a furniture store to look at computer chairs to help my husband put in the long seated hours his work requires. I looked longingly at a set of pillows that help me sleep semi-upright with my knees raised. I suggested Christmas, but we came home with them.
The only way to fly.


I really loved all the gear that was introduced in other people's blogs about tips and tricks yesterday. I am making a list and will share it with my darling gearhead soon.

I am spending my week knitting and writing to be able to participate fully in blog week. Luckily hats are quick and I had just enough of that beautiful Shetland left. This is very loose-filling and I like how intricate the cables look. I may have to keep it for myself.

Besides, another thing my husband does for me is try to take me walking every day and fall weather is here. He has mentioned bicycles. Neither of us has ridden for about three decades, but there are some great places around here to ride, what do you think?


  1. "he can't fix the problem" that is the hard one for our husbands. I am glad that you have a wonderful partner.

  2. Thank you. I've enjoyed reading your blog. As a mom of now adult boys, I feel like we'd get along well.