Chronic Illness has a way of turning every day tasks upside down. I've set out on a mission to find items that will help make my life, and even pain management, at least a bit easier. Click to read more about my top 5 favorite gadgets for making the day to day of illness more manageable.

5 Useful Gadgets That Actually Make A Difference For Me

 

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Chronic illness has single-handedly turned my health and day-to-day into a jigsaw puzzle. From navigating all my symptoms to pain management, life looks much different for me these last few years.

Normal things that I used to never think twice about, I have to plan for (or around) in order to make them possible. A myriad of other adjustments have had to happen.

I subconsciously (and sometimes vocally…color me weird) ask myself questions that I never did before. “Can I load the dishwasher today?” “How much will my body have to pay for taking a shower right now…can I still make dinner after?”

Some symptoms are harder to manage than others. Managing pain can often feel like playing hide and seek with a ghost. Fatigue is another beast that’s really hard to wrangle.

But for some of my symptoms, I’ve found tools – aids, if you will – that make my life just a bit easier. And that little bit means a whole lot to this girl! From saving me effort to supporting me (literally), these have become my must-haves for navigating my day-to-day. All while living with a list of diagnoses I’m working hard to heal.

Update: I’ve actually been able to stop using some of these wonderful aides after starting a program called DNRS that has helped me begin to heal! You can catch up here.

Slim-Fit Earplugs

Do you suffer from sound sensitivity? These slim fit earplugs have been a godsend for me! Super soft and comfortable on sensitive skin, too. Click to read more about these and other handy gadgets I use to help me navigate chronic pain and symptoms!

One of my top 5 most debilitating symptoms might surprise the healthy, but for those who live with sensitivities YOU FEEL ME. I’m not talking about emotional sensitivities, but sensory. I’m highly sensitive to noises, some triggering me more than others.

The simple sound of plastic crumpling, glasses tinking, or the faucet running, for instance feels like someone is taking a bristled bottle brush, adding electricity and shoving it through both ears. Yeah, it’s fun. With continued healing I’m confident this symptom will get better, but for now: earplugs are a must!

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These slim-fit earplugs by Mack were recommended to me by a dear friend who uses them for the same purpose. And boy are they a godsend! They’re smaller than regular earplugs which makes them more comfortable for me. The set of 10 even comes with a travel tube so I can always have them on hand and easy to find in my bag!

Neck pillow

A couple of years ago I noticed that my head and neck pain would consistently rise in the car. Once I realized how much having neck support would help, Trev picked up a basic neck pillow for me. I was amazed at the difference it made!

As with anything I’ve purchased to help me manage my day-to-day, this doesn’t remove my pain, but it makes riding in the car more manageable. Even short rides used to spike my pain more than they do now that I have that bit of support.

I actually attach my neck pillow to our headrest in the passenger seat by turning it backwards and “hugging” the top portion. Not all seats will allow this, but thankfully the design of ours does. It feels more comfortable to me that way.

Walking Cane

Healing with a chronic illness looks different for every person and every illness. But through the process of healing and treating, we can find ways to offer support and relief to our overwhelmed bodies. Click here to check out my top 5 tools that have made a difference for me!

 

If you follow me here or on social media you may already know this, but I like to name things. My oxygen concentrator is formally known as O2D2 (I grew up watching Star Wars with my siblings, can you tell?). So I couldn’t help myself to name my cane Hugo. It was easy since his tag said so.

My husband suggested I get one that had more than one pod on the bottom for extra stability since my balance varies from day to day. And, as he would smile and tell you – I wasn’t thrilled with that idea. Oh vanity. As if four prongs somehow makes my cane more noticeable. 😉

I found this one and thought it was a perfect fit. And after using it for over six months now I can say I’m so happy I went for the quadpod version. It gets a good grip on the surface and the handle has enough traction that your hand is not likely to slip. I even used it in a snow-packed icy parking lot recently, while also being supported by Trev on the other side and it worked really well supporting my weak side.

Pill Organizer

This is, by far, the BEST pill organizer out there. Each day's doses are in individual containers which makes it easy to grab and go to doctor's appointments, meals out, and a day or two of travel. Soft silicone lids make for easy opening on arthritic hands. Click to read more about this and 4 other handy gadgets that have actually helped me LIVE, even if in small ways, in spite of chronic illness.

Okay, I’ve been raving about this since I bought it so I HAD to include it here. I saw someone share the link for it in one of my Lyme support groups and I loved it at first sight. I’m a romantic, after all.

Why was I willing to drop $35 for a pill organizer, you ask? Because I was confident it would make my pill routine easier. From accidental missed doses, to opening pill bottles every day with sensitive hands, to packing meds for travel – I saw this as a huge help. And it has been just that.

Its soft silicone lids make it ultra easy for opening and the ‘x’ opening easy for sliding in each day’s supplements. My hands are so much happier! Not to mention individual containers make for easy access when you have a meal you’re eating out or a day or two of travel. Since I’ve already sorted out the week’s doses, it’s just grab and go! This had made for less occurrences of late or missed doses which is always a positive.

Motion Sickness Bands

For a year and a half, nausea was a frequent – if not constant – companion to me on this healing road. I’ve always had motion sickness, but this was different. And it grew worse when coupled with driving.

I always ride in the front seat and I’m pretty cautious about anyone else driving besides Trev because of how sensitive my bod is. He’s the only one who knows just how fast things can turn for me.

Motion sickness bands like these made by Sea Band have actually helped this for me. It took me a bit to figure out the right spot for the pressure point, but once I did I noticed a difference. You do need to put them on at the start of the car ride, I’ve learned – and adjust them if you’re not feeling the benefit.

Be gentle with yourself.

In the chronic life there are many things we can’t change immediately. Healing that doesn’t come overnight. But if we can take even a bit of the burden off by making a few aspects lighter, why not?!

You’ve just heard my top 5 current faves for navigating my day-to-day symptoms so now I want to hear yours! What is your favorite(s) pain/symptom/make life easier gadget?? Let me know in the comments!

Have you snagged your copy of the FIVE gifts to give yourself when going through a hard time? Be sure to download yours here.

These 5 gadgets were my go-tos in moments I needed them most. From pain management to coping with symptoms, these tools were so helpful to me! Click to read the full list.

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11 comments

  1. Brittany W says:

    I have tried those motion sickness bands several times and they don’t work for me, which is super disappointing. I know so many people who swear by them, and I really want them to work for me! Those ear plugs are great though! I use those and a neck pillow whenever I travel.

    • Kami says:

      Oh that’s such a bummer they don’t work for you! Have you found anything else that works? I’d love to know. So glad the earplugs and neck pillow help you, too.

  2. Valerie says:

    What a wonderful list. I love my neck pillow and those ear plugs look like something I should get! I have such major sensory overload, it drives my husband crazy. 😉 This way he could enjoy his music, while I enjoy a pain free evening. Hugs and hope 2017 is filled with joy and healing. Valerie

    • Kami says:

      The earplugs do wonders for me and, in turn – the hubs! The sensory overload gets really old but it’s nice to have at least a partial protection with these for the sound aspect! I find it substantially softens the most painful aspects of certain tones. So grateful! Thanks for reading and commenting, Valerie! Hugs to you

  3. Rochelle Stark says:

    I love my Bose noise-canceling headphones for dampening sound when my ears are sensitive (sometimes it’s my roommate’s voice that makes me want to jump out a window – how awful! I just had to assure her that I wear the headphones for both of our sakes.) and listening to calming music or white noise when I can’t sleep. I’m going to look for those smaller earplugs. I have the bigger ones in a tube, but they’re so uncomfortable in my ears that I rarely use them.

    I also love my neck pillow and use it often in the car or just at home when I’m weary but resisting going to my bed.

    I’d definitely have to list my TENS unit in this list; it relieves myalgia on my high pain days. I move it all over my body throughout the day. Along with that is my roll-on bottle of Biofreeze for painful muscle spasms or joints that get inflamed for no reason other than….., LYME!

    Hard to think of all the little items I’ve discovered to make my days a bit easier. I use disposable adult washcloths when I’m too weary to shower (i.e.: most days), and disposable face wipes to clean my face at bedtime. I have an Aerolatte milk frother that I use for all kinds of things that need less blending than a blender, but more than my hand can manage alone. I carry a Tervis cup everywhere to ensure I drink enough water but also minimize spills when I’m clumsy. I’m sure there are lots more, but my brain just emptied itself of all thoughts so I’m going to quit while I’m ahead.

    • Kami says:

      I loved reading all of your favorite tools! I have a pair of noise canceling headphones a friend sent me and they’re so helpful too. One of the ways I can actually enjoy listening to music occasionally! And white noise helps me sleep too – I usually need my husband to turn it in after I’ve already fallen asleep though. It’s usually too much for me right in the beginning of the night. I am keeping the TENS unit in mind! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and reading, Rochelle!

    • Kami says:

      I’d love to read your list if you make one, Genevieve! Its always so great to find new resources and tools through others’ experiences. The pill situation can get so crazy! Anything to help the madness is golden in my book 😉 thanks for reading and commenting!

  4. Spoonie says:

    My TENS unit is the BEST!!! thing ever for pain. You can buy them cheap online. I use an expensive one on my main problem and the $20 ones to stick all over. It makes me feel like some sort of robot. Not as cute as R2D2, or O2D2 (love the name). I encourage everyone to try a cheap one to see if it helps. It doesn’t work for everyone but then you’re not out much money and you could pass it along to someone else.

    I’ve been wearing earplugs for years but didn’t know they came in slim fit! Wow! Guess what my next batch will be. With those and the noise-cancelling headphones, I’m all set.

    I’ve never found a pill organizer big enough for all my meds and supplements. I have HUGE pills and a lot of them. It probably saves space to carry the bottles.

    If the nausea bands don’t work for you (they don’t work for me or my mom), try ginger capsules. Or candied ginger. If it doesn’t work, at least it’ll taste better when it comes back up. :/ Works when your stomach is cranky from food too.

    • Kami says:

      I have yet to try a TENS unit, but have heard such great things! Haha, I’m glad you love the name for my oxygen 😉 Thanks for the tip on ginger capsules! I did keep ginger candies awhile back, but the capsules would be even better since I try to avoid sugar. Thanks for reading and leaving such a thoughtful comment! 🙂

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