Surviving Ankylosing Spondylitis: The Home
Home is where the heart is. It’s also where ankylosing spondylitis patients experience the most physical and mental stress.
Home is where we keep ourselves alive and create a place where we can hopefully find comfort. However, keeping up with everything creating this nest requires is not an easy task.
Here are some of my personal methods for surviving the home.
Keeping that kitchen counter and sink clear is one of the greatest and hardest tasks I experience at home. The desire to just pile up all my plates, bowls, forks, and spoons, and just ignore them till a later date is strong.
However, the bigger the pile, the greater the task once those flies start to appear.
So, my first piece of advice is to wash those dishes as you use them.
Even on those hard nights
Yes, there will be nights when you can barely get up from the table and to the sink, but doing them one at a time will save you the mental and physical stress of a full sink.
And, if you have one of those dishwashers that can clean peanut butter off a spoon, you’re golden!
Although, avoid using your dishwasher as a cabinet. Try to empty it as soon as you can. I don’t have a hack to make that any easier. Just hope for an energy-filled day and put everything away so you can keep that sink clear.
At least for myself, doing laundry is my most difficult task. I don’t know why the movements required to clean clothes cause my body to ignite in pain, but it does without fail.
Like the kitchen sink, a laundry basket is a great place to dump your dirties and forget about it. The only problem is, again, the more you ignore, the more you need to do.
If getting clothes from the washer to the dryer and from the dryer to the basket, consider getting a grabber. It might seem a little silly, but it will save you from the constant bending required to transfer the clothes.
Like for the dishes, I prefer to keep my tasks as undaunting as possible. For this reason, I try to fold each individual garment right out of the dryer. And, fold them on a table or the top of the dryer so you don’t need to hold each shirt and do your best to keep it neat.
Staying ahead of it
Tossing everything into a basket and letting it sit might be a lot easier (it is), but you will end up with baskets of clean, yet wrinkled, clothes that you might need to toss back in the dryer. And, again, a full disorganized basket can cause a lot of stress when you finally need to put clothes away.
Finally, a little hack my wife taught me that makes organizing t-shirts a lot less stressful. We took smaller, drawer-sized boxes, cut off the flaps, and used them to store our shirts vertically. This allows you to keep your shirts together and you can see all your shirts without having to dig through and make a huge disorganized mess.
The cat box
I love my cats. I hate their box.
It’s messy, it smells, and they are always using it! Seriously! Why do they need to poop and pee so much?!
But, I digress…
With a cat box, you basically have two options. Scoop daily, or dump weekly. Keeping with the dishes and the laundry, the last thing you want is a big mess to have to clean. Little messes are much easier to handle, but I understand if you just can't kneel down every day to scoop.
To dump or not to dump
You can always just dump.
Once a week, whether I scoop daily or not, I slide a trash bag around the box and I dump the whole thing out. Scooping, especially if clumps are stuck to the box, can be very hard on your hands. Dumping and then giving the box a few pops to hopefully knock off all the clumps will save you the need to scrape.
There is also nothing wrong with taking the box out, once in a while, and hosing it off. Litter boxes can get really stinky and wiping them is both gross and exhausting. A spray with the “Jet” feature on your hose and a dousing of Nature’s Miracle, can save both your back and your nose.
You are the most important person in your life. You need to do what is best for you to save the only body you have. Unfortunately, things will get dirty and downright gross. It is inevitable. So, do whatever you can to stay as happy and pain-free as you can.
These are suggestions that work for me. Everyone is different. If you have something that works for you, feel free to tell us in the comments section.
Do you use the word disability to describe your AS?