Gimpy Spice

Sometimes it’s possible to find something as simple as spices and herbs that can reduce pain and treat inflammation.   Here are some of the ones I use.

 

Capsaicin:

This is of course not a food itself, but a chemical compound found in peppers. You can purchase it in pill or a cream, but it is so easy to add to your diet. You will find the highest concentration in chili peppers, but it is also in bell peppers, jalapeno peppers and cayenne peppers. Capsaicin has little to no side effects overall, but if you have an allergy to peppers or sensitive to hot food you would probably want to stay away from it.

Capsaicin is still being studied, but it has shown positive results in arthritis,  lupus, and other types of inflammation. Recent studies are also showing that muscle pain specifically is affected by the Capsaicin because it has phytochemicals that target it.

Turmeric:

The Mayo clinic and other prevalent research institutions are still studying the exact reason that turmeric is so effective, but it is known to treat pain such as joint swelling and stiffness. One of the chemical compounds in turmeric that has anti-inflammatory properties is curcumin. If you don’t want to go through the entire process of making a meal with turmeric in it, you can take it in pill form. If you notice that you have some stomach upset after you take your turmeric you will want to cut back the dose, higher doses can occasionally cause digestive tract discomfort.

Cherries:

I love cherries so I was very excited to find out about this one. The chemical compound in cherries that makes them turn red is also the compound that will help fight pain in your body, that compound is anthocyanins. It is these nutrients that are antioxidants that help to boost your immune system response and fight off inflammation. Those who have studied how the body responds to anthocyanins will tell you that they have the same effect on your brain receptors as the compounds in basic pain relievers such as aspirin and Aleve.  You can also drink fresh cherry juice or use frozen cherries in your morning smoothie.

Ginger:

This is another spice that can be added to foods or made into a tea. Ginger has been a favorite for calming upset stomachs. Ginger is known to block the certain receptors in the brain that causes vomiting, but calming your stomach shouldn’t be the only reason you reach for the ginger. It is known to help with inflammation, chronic joint pain, migraines, standard headache pain and arthritis. Ginger is a very easy supplement to take because you can put it in so many different things.  Ginger ale contains little or no ginger and a lot of sugar so it’s best to avoid it. You can, however, use ginger in smoothies, juice, make tea as well as cooking with it. There are lots of great recipes with ginger, but my favorite is Asian style stir fry. It can take 7 days to start working, so be patient.

Yogurt:

Chances are you have seen commercials about yogurt being good for your digestive tract, but you likely haven’t heard that it can also help you when it comes to chronic pain. The same bacterial strains that help with the bloating you can get in your stomach attack inflammation if you start ingesting it on a regular basis. The key is making sure the container says active live cultures on it. If you don’t have a yogurt with those cultures in them, chances are it will not work.

I am certainly not a doctor and can’t give you medical advice.  I just wanted to share some of things that have helped me based on my own experience.

All About Me

I have been asked several questions about me in a personal sense rather than general gimpy questions so I decided to dedicate my first podcast to my personal life.   If I missed anything,  please let me know.   I am not sure if I can post the podcast here so I just decided to post the transcripts.  I will try to correct any mistakes,  but I think the speech to text function has finally learned my accent.

 

Me: Welcome to the first episode of “Gimpin Ain’t Easy”.  I’m joined by —

A: Hi, I’m Artemis.  I’m G G’s sister from another mister.

T: Hi, This is Tammy, the token able bodied person

A: weirdo

Me:  Although Tammy is not disabled,  she has known us for long enough to be gimpy adjacent.

A:  OMG!  Did you just say “gimpy adjacent?”  That’s amazing.   I’m totally stealing it!

T:  Y’all are so hilarious!  I know this is going to be fun!

Me:  I certainly hope so.   I was a little worried about how to dive into this so I think having y’all here will give a more balanced view. I thought it would be nice to have an AB person reacting all of this because Tammy obviously knows I’m a wheelchair user,  but she doesn’t know the full story.  Why don’t we start with a little bio on each of you and how we know each other.

A:  We met in the 2nd grade, right?

Me:  Probably.   I think we have always been friends so I don’t really remember.

A: You don’t remember a lot so I won’t take offense to that.  (Laughing)  I am a mom of two, a 9 year old boy and a 2 year old girl.  My husband works out of town so I have traveled quite a bit.  I have a invisible disability, generalized anxiety and type 2 diabetes, so a lot of times I don’t really fit into either the disabled or able community.

Me: You know,  I really don’t understand why that is, but I have heard it from many people.   Looking normal and still having to deal with health problems on a daily basis is harder in my opinion.  Some people cut me some slack because they can see how I am struggling,  but a lot of them don’t give the same compassion to N when he has a meltdown in public.  I have even had a old lady yell “Your mother shouldn’t have to put up with this in her shape!”

T: Are you kidding me?!?  How was that supposed to be helpful?  Did her screaming cure his autism?  We all have our trials to deal with. Everyone’s pain is valid.

A: You are so wise and should pass the wisdom onto the normals for us  (odd voice)

T: shut up, you goofy butt! (Laughing) Wait….I’ve got a question—

Me: you just can just can’t follow the schedule can you?  Troublemaker! (Laughing)

T: you shut up, too! (Laughing) Seriously,  why are you calling your kid, N?

A: Now we must be SERIOUS (odd voice)

Me: Come on, we have already annoyed her enough.  (Laughing)  Tammy, I thought I should protect his identity since he can’t really give consent for me to air his dirty autistic laundry.

A: she didn’t even notice that I called you GG.  That’s for Gimpy Girl, T.

T: you’re right!  I didn’t even notice  (Laughing)  ok, so I am a law student who still mooches off her mom.  I met you at church a few years ago.  Once I said i wanted to focus on civil rights, you tracked me down and asked if disabled people are included in that.

Me:  What did you think about that?  I bet it was weird.

T:  to be honest….it was a little weird.  (Laughing)  I had not ever really thought about disability rights and it had not been covered by school yet.   The professor looked taken back when I asked.

Me: really?

T: yeah, but that kind of shows how much awareness is needed.

A: okay,  enough stalling.  Gg, let’s get down to business …

T: and defeat the Huns?

Me: Holy crap!  A Mulan joke?  I love you  (Laughing)

A:  since you don’t usually make us laugh like big donkeys,  I think we need a Tammy Scoreboard.   It’s at one right now.

Me:  Y’all almost made me pee!  Ok, we could do this all day so let’s get started.

A: question one- what is your official diagnosis?  Well, this could take all night! (Laughing)

Me: my primary is marfan syndrome with hypermobility, variant strain.

T: wait… you need to explain each of them because we aren’t doctors.

Me: well, half the time, new doctors don’t know what these are either.  I always call ahead and say “look this stuff up so I don’t spend half the appointment explaining it”.  (Laughing)  Marfan Syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects the elastin in your connective tissue.  It causes the ligaments and tendons to stretch and tear so it  causes severe joint damage.  That’s the hypermobility part.  It also affects the skins so my skin will strech and tear.  Like if it get stitches, they just tear out of my skin.  Thankfully,  we have a variant strain so we don’t have the heart problems usually associated with marfans.

A: So that’s why your incisions open up so easily after surgery.  I remember when you had your butt surgery and the incisions on your belly kept popping open.  Speaking of your butt…

Me: What a beautiful segway!  Yes, because my tissue is so damaged, I developed a rectal prolapse, which is when the rectum separates and falls out of the body.

T:  wait– your butt is inside out?!?

Me: it was but it was pulled up and nailed down to my sacrum. (Laughing)

A: when was this?

Me: I was 29 the first time, 30 the second time, 32, 34, and 36 the other times.

T: didn’t they do it right the first time?

Me: oh, yeah, but my tissue continues to streach and tear so it doesn’t last more than a couple of years.  It’s worth it so that I don’t have the pain or problems with it, but the surgery sucks big time.

A: What about your spine?

Me: Again, it’s because of the weakened ligaments, but I have spinal instability.  That means that I have partial paralysis in my lower spine.  I can stand, but I can’t walk and I don’t have a lot of feeling in my lower half.

A: and your neck and brain?

Me: my neck is unstable too so it created a Chiari Malformation.  Basically it means that my brain has drooped down into my spinal column.

T:  How are you alive right now?!?

Me: by the grace of God?  It sounded horrible to me too, but I have managed it okay.  We decided not to try surgery because I have had some serious side effects complications from minor surgery and this certainly not simple surgery.

T:So the plan is to just walk around with a fallen brain?

Me: I don’t walk. (Laughing)

A:  OMG !  What would we do if we couldn’t laugh at Tammy’s shock at all this?

Me: see, this is why I am kind of vague about it.  It scares away the normals!  (Laughing)

A:  so we are running out of time.  Let’s just do some rapid fire questions to wrap it all up.  How many surgeries have you had and what was the last one?

Me: 22 and I had the rest of my teeth pulled a couple of months ago.

A: The best thing about being in a wheelchair?

Me: I always have a comfortable seat while hubby has to stand most of the time.  Oh, and wheelchair seating at events are always awesome.

A:  The worst part?

Me: I always have to call ahead to check if a place is accessible.

T: ADA laws have been around for literally decades.  Are there really places that are still not accessible?

Me: Loads of places aren’t or they have strange instructions like “drive around back, call us, we’ll put out the piece of plywood that we use as a ramp, then drive back around and park.  When you leave, give us 20 minutes notice to get the plywood and have someone lock the backdoor again”

T: are you serious?

A: OMG,  do we have to be SERIOUS again? (Odd voice) This isn’t how you do rapid fire questions!

Me: Oh we will get back on track.  Tammy, to answer your question,  yes, it happens,  but I just don’t go there.  I’m not going to fall of some ghetto plywood ramp.

A: what’s the biggest misconception about your life?

Me: so many people assume that if I’m not crying about being gimpy then I must be a sicko that enjoys being “broken” or they see me doing something mundane like grocery shopping and call me inspirational.   I don’t know why buying cereal is inspiring,  but apparently it is.

A: What are your hobbies?  Let me guess, wheelchair basketball!  (Laughing)

Me: yeah, my brain injury would love it.   No, I watch way too much tv with my husband,  build crazy stuff with N, read crazy books, cook, and I have a huge yarn addiction.

T: that’s true.  I saw you crochet in your sleep once.

A: Aside from medical equipment,  what is your favorite thing to help you feel AB?

Me: Definitely the internet.   I can buy almost anything from Amazon.   I can network with others and I have a lot of friends who I only see on Skype or Facebook.   I was also surprised to find women in my same position — homeschooling moms with special needs children who have a disability of their own to deal with.   It made me feel kind of normal.

A: What is the one thing you would do if you weren’t disabled that you can’t do now?

Me: Smile pretty? ( laughing)  I really think that my life wouldnot be all that differentif I was AB.   I have found ways to adapt most of the things that normal people do.  It’s more about being willing do something in an unconventional way as long as you are living your life to the fullest.

A:  I don’t want to sound goofy, but that was pretty freaking inspirational.  I think this is a great place to stop.  Say goodbye, everyone!

Me and T: Goodbye everyone! (Laughing)

 

 

 

Food is Fuel

Most of us have a love—hate relationship with food.  When you have mobility problems, your metabolism is much lower,  but it’s even more important to maintain your weight because that extra 20lbs is a huge deal when trying to transfer.   However food can be healing.   Something as simple as a vitamin d deficiency can make you feel awful.   That’s why I have decided to do a series on healthy cooking and easy recipes since we are often limited on what we can do for meal prep.

The Gimpy Guide to Fidget Toys

N has had a lot of success with various fidget toys.  Since it can get expensive to buy a bunch of toys that your child might not even like, we decided to do a big round-up of the ones we have tried.   Please keep in mind that these are just the ones that N or one of his classmates have tried themselves.   I was provided samples from the companies so we could test them, but I was not compensated in any way or influenced to alter my reviews.   I am blunt to a fault so I am certainly not going to steer you wrong.

Spinners:

1.

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https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XHW95ZQ/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I2WMTVUFW88BRX&colid=F4KUX7ZGPISW

 

This is a very nice spinner for an older kid because its simple design that looks more “grown up”.  The body of it is ceramic which makes it very smooth and cool to the touch.  This is a big plus for those who like tactile stimulation,  but it is also a rather heavy material.   It could be very dangerous if thrown and the ball bearings inside are a chocking hazard.   Please use caution with younger kids, but especially chewers.

2.  Jinwen Tri Spinner

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https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06X1J1D1H/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I32SM1EJ3C51WM&colid=F4KUX7ZGPISW

This set is perfect for beginners.   It contains two spinners so you can have one for home and one for the go.  Any parent can tell their own horror story of a beloved toy that went missing.   However it is an even bigger deal for a special needs child who incorporates a toy into their daily routine.  By simply having a spare, you can avoid a complete shutdown.   These are such a good deal because it contains two spinners for around half the price of some brands.  I will be honest and say that I have seen better, but they are still loads of fun.  If your child loves them, you can get fancier ones later.  But if she doesn’t like them, then you aren’t out too much money.

3. Henata Metal Spinner

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https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0719BQ12R/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I31ATZ6P1IQDY2&colid=F4KUX7ZGPISW

This one is my favorite.   It’s moderately priced,  spins for a long time and is smaller than most of the ones on this list which makes it more comfortable for smaller hands.  Plus the unique, holographic finish makes it almost hypnotic to watch it spin.   N is , shall we say, fabulous so he loves the rainbow colors, but some boys would think of it as too “girly”.   We don’t think that being a girl is bad so N can’t get enough of rainbows, unicorns, or pink princes.  This brings up an interesting point —- since the vast majority of ASD kids are male, it is hard to find fidget toys that are marketed towards girls.

4.  Focus spinner

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https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06ZY5HJC1/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Of the many spinners that we tried, this one spun the longest.  It comes in a variety of colors so you can pick your favorite color.  You do need to exercise caution with chewers because sometimes the ball bearings inside can come out.

5. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072QBG1SY#customerReviews

Here is another 2 pack set.  It is a very good deal for the both of them and they are better quality that the other set.  They respond well to the strength of the spinner.  N usually gets a 2 minute spin and Daddy is able to get a 3 and a half minute spin.

6. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06ZZ44Q9Z/ref=twister_B06ZZDJXRR?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

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I was so excited about this one,  but it was awful.   The main selling point is that it has LED lights that light up when it spins.  It never worked properly.   It only spun for about 15 seconds and the lights never worked.   I was sent a replacement and it didn’t work either.  Sadly this is the most expensive one on this list and for $20 I expected it to be awesome.

7.  https://www.amazon.com/review/R5DEFQX55HMWW/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B071NQVWCG

Here’s another one that is rather inexpensive so it would be a great option for a beginner.   N really likes the unique design and they have a few options available.

 

Squeeze Toys or Stress Balls

1.  Gigli squishy cream scented  bread 2 piece set

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https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071YM9S5H/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I3DDOUVSUOFBL5&colid=F4KUX7ZGPISW

I have to admit that this one is my favorite.   N has a Julia Child obsession so he was so excited to see these baguettes.   They look exactly like the real thing.   They are made out of a dense memory foam that slowly inflates back to its original form.   That means that you can squeeze it as hard as you can while frustrated and then watch it grow while you calm down.   It is also scented.   The package calls it cream scented and it comes with two in the set.

2.  Squishy cake

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https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B071D9DGPV/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

This one was given to one of N’s favorite classmates for his birthday.  He played with the bread a few times so I knew he would love it.  It is super cute,  but less realistic than the baguettes.   It is more like an adorable cartoon prop.  This one is also scented,  but in my opinion it smells better.

I hope this has been helpful and that you are able to find something that works for you.

 

Gimpy Summer Fun

Summer can be a great time to have fun in the sun and spend time with friends and family.  That can be difficult for someone who has special needs,  but with the right accommodations anyone join in on the fun.

1.  Consider renting medical equipment

Personally,  I have had problems with gimpy air travel.  If you have ever been appauld to see some of the videos of how terrible they treat disabled passengers,  then you won’t be surprised by how they bang up baggage,  even if it is medical.   I love my wheelchair almost as much as my husband, but I usually rent a different  one when I travel.  Not only does it protect my gimp-mobile, it also gives me the opportunity to try out the latest technology and I usually get a power chair to conserve energy.   This also goes for beds, bathroom stuff, patient lifts, etc.

2. Don’t be a Gremlin

Thanks to medicine or certain conditions,  many of us are sensitive to the sun.  Using sunscreen is a great idea, but there are so many other options to choose from too.  Wearing extra dark sunglasses protect your eyes from those harmful rays, but it is essential for those of us with light triggered migraines.   Amazon sells clothing with extra SPF, but just a t shirt offers a little extra protection while swimming.   You can also attach a canopy to your wheelchair or go full on Scarlett Ohara and use a parasol.

3. Always ask about accessibility before you make reservations

I know that every public place is supposed to be accessible to everyone,  but it just isn’t so.  ADA laws have only been in place for a quarter century.   Maybe after a few more decades, we can expect them to finally be followed everywhere.   Until then,  you need to call ahead to make certain that your needs will be met.  Sometimes places believe they are compliant,  but they don’t really understand what that means so be specific.   Also, many special events like concerts and theaters have limited seating for wheelchair users and some historical sites are exempt from ADA.  Nothing is sadder than getting left in the gift shop because you have nowhere to sit at the stadium.

4.  Comfortable camping

I must admit that I squealed like a little girl when I got the chance to try this one.  While everyone is trying to climb over rocks or jump off waterfalls or whatever able bodied people do when they camp, I will be obeying TLC. (Don’t go chasing waterfall, please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to) and lounging around in this baby.  It can be adjusted in many ways and thanks to the new design you won’t have to worry about blowing it up or lugging around an air compressor.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B072F3HW9W/ref=yo_ii_img?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

5. Fire up the grill

Many of us have restricted diets due to allergic reactions, weight maintenance or even just a desire to have the most nutritious food.   Grills are not just for burgers and hotdogs anymore.   Even a novice griller will have no problem cooking veggies, fish and fruit with grill mats.  They provide a non stick surface that also keeps the food from falling off the tines.  They can be used over and over again plus they are super simple to clean.  Now go have a grilled peach for me.

https://www.amazon.com/Grill-Mat-Silicone-Reusable-Dishwasher/dp/B0728GL65P/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

 

As always if you have anything to add,  please share your ideas with the group.  You can find these and all of my other favorite products on my summertime shopping list on my Amazon profile.

https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/VP2EAPWY7F0D?type=wishlist&filter=all&sort=default