I am at home for the weekend. This is very exciting. I’ve done some lovely everyday things: I put my left hand through it’s kneading paces, and baked a loaf of bread. I sat with Tom and Jesus (cat) on the sofa, listened to JRR, and knitted a little. I pottered about. Just like usual, then. That I am here at all is due to some carefully focused physio and OT, my own dogged persistence, and the great tools that I’m using to supplement my physical abilities. Over the past four weeks I have been inspired by the simple design of some of these tools, and filled with gratitude both to their designers and to the tools themselves. In the days immediately following the stroke, my body was extremely weak and had no idea how to manoeuvre itself : how to accommodate or deal with its own weakness. Initially, the nursing staff had to use a giant hoist to haul me out of bed. This device was time consuming for them (requiring two bodies to move my one body) and demeaning for me. To get to the bathroom, I had to first plan my functions some time in advance, before being rolled about, lifted, and suspended in a giant sling. Covered with blankets, lolling helplessly, with my bare arse exposed through a convenient fabric window, I would be wheeled in mid-air down a busy corridor to the loo. I had no idea how to get my body to work with me or how to use the tools that were available to maximise my independence. Then someone introduced me to the Sam Hall Turner.

How I love the Sam Hall Turner! This ingenious device enables someone with weakness in one part of their body, but a little strength somewhere else, to successfully transfer from one seated position to another. Its design is simplicity itself: an upright handle and two heavy circular plates, the top one of which rotates. While sitting, with my right arm, I could position my left leg and foot onto the plate, grab the handle, lock my knees securely, and rise to a standing position before someone rotated me to the angle of a waiting wheelchair. It is brilliant for the nurse because it involves no heavy lifting, and it is brilliant for the patient because no-one has to lift you. Through your own volition, you rise upright, and are simply whizzed round into place. Here is an illustration. You must picture me in the place of the woman with the specs.

I am told by experienced nurses that the turner is a relatively new invention, and that it has, in some contexts, revolutionised patient handling. I don’t know who Sam Hall was, why his name is colloquially attached to the turner, or precisely when this device first came into common use, but it really is an invention quite brilliant in its ease and simplicity.* It has also played a significant role in my recovery, since it was through repeated attempts to aim for that handle that I told my brain to “find” my left arm, and taught the arm to reach again.

I’ve now spent a month on wards with folk with a range of neurological conditions, and am constantly impressed and fascinated by the many ingenious methods of transferring different kinds of differently abled bodies from one surface to another. The most basic methods and devices –those that, not coincidentally, involve the least amount of carer intervention– are definitely the best. A simple sliding board is not just a device to get you from A to B, but a tool that you use, reinforcing the fact that your body is doing something. This is incredibly important. The role of simple tools in enabling personal independence is perhaps the first premise of Occupational Therapy, and something I’ve always been very aware of. Many moons ago, my mum was an OT, and my childhood was spent in the light of her enthusiasm for the many great devices that enhance mobility, ease, and function. I never thought I’d experience this enthusiasm from the other side, as it were, but I am so very grateful for it. Within days of my having the stroke, my mum had whipped herself up to Edinburgh with a bath board and a handy-grabber, and was making plans with Tom to make our flat accessible. Thanks to the simple tools that she thought of, and some others that my physios have equipped me with, I can now haul my wonky ass around the rooms in which I live both safely and successfully.


(please excuse mucky shoe and blurry photo)

Quite unbelievably, given the floppy and broken state of my body four weeks ago, I can now rise to my feet without the Sam Hall turner. In its absence, my gratitude and awe are now focused on two other brilliant tools: first, the humble shoe horn. Until my foot and leg were transformed into unmoveable lumps of flesh I had no idea how amazing a tool a shoe horn was. Without a shoe-horn, I would simply be unshod. With the horn, I can put my shoes on myself. And finally, the most wonderful tool of all: my toe-up leg brace (pictured here). Over the past few weeks, I’ve tried out various walking aids –frames, crutches, braces — and this brace is a real miracle. The zimmer frame was terrible for my posture, balance, and gait, and I was completely useless on the elbow crutches, because of my weak left arm. After four weeks work with the muscles of my trunk and chest, I now have reasonable upright balance, and there is a little left side movement coming through my hip, buttock and quad. Yet, despite the fact that my leg below my thigh is still basically just a huge hunk o’ useless meat, thanks to the incredible stabilising, swinging, and springing effects of this brace I can actually walk about without a wheelchair. This brace — a miracle of simple, flexible engineering — enables me to stimulate the muscles and joints that will eventually enable me to walk unaided, and also helps me to achieve the most natural gait I can under the circumstances. Next time I’ll try to write about the particular challenges of learning to walk. . .

In the meantime, you may be interested to know that, after watching my friend Mel’s deft demonstrations, and four days of frustration and persistence, I have finally managed to work my hair into two rudimentary plaits. These plaits are not neat. Indeed, they are so untidy that I fear they may merely enhance my current rather institutionalised appearance. But they are plaits, and I plaited ’em. I am pleased.

Unfortunately, I am returning to institutional life this evening in order to get the best out of my intensive physio and OT. If you felt like sending a cheering card, then please do, but there is no need to send anything else — what with Tom baking me pies etc I really have everything I need at the moment. If you include your address somewhere on the card, I can write and say thanks when I’m up and about again.

So here’s where I am for the time being:

Kate Davies
Ward 2
Charles Bell Pavillion
Astley Ainslie Hospital
133 Grange Loan
Edinburgh
EH9 2HL

thanks everyone. More progress next week, I hope.

*if anyone has any information about the provenance and invention of the Sam Hall turner, I’d really like to know more about it. And if you are involved in mobility and independence either as patient, therapist or care-giver, I’d also be really interested to hear about the tools and devices that you find indispensable.

90 thoughts on “in praise of tools

  1. Dear Kate,

    It’s so good to be able to follow your excellent progress through your wonderful blog. “Kate’s written again” goes the message around the Centre at York. Your last entry was totally moving, fascinating and brilliantly insightful, and I’m sure could become a learning tool for stroke professionals. You are such a tremendously gifted writer, Kate. So how’s the detective story going?! I’m looking forward to reading that! I’m so very glad that you are knitting again. Love, Clare

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  2. Kate, your progress is an inspiration to us all.

    I am delighted that you can plait your hair again. For many years, I plaited mine at night to give it enough kink to stay pinned up in a fancy bun. Thanks to chemotherapy I now have curls. I have grown to like them, often miss not making plaits!

    May your determination and hard work continue to pay off.

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  3. Wow. My mother has suffered 2 strokes, and she experienced left-sided hemiparesis with the first and right-sided hemiparesis with the second. She has improved greatly, but I feel that she stalled in her recovery because she just didn’t put herself into her therapy as you have. OT is a wonderful thing, and I am so happy to hear that you are improving in leaps and bounds.

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  4. Hello Kate,
    I know it’s been said before but you are an inspiration everyday.
    As an OT I work with young and older people who a lot of the time do use slings and hoists to get their everyday self care stuff done – I am always aware of how undignifying it can be – we always look for other options if possible so that someone can be as independent as they are able to be.
    Congratulations on being able to plait your hair – reading that made me smile. good on you!
    you posted about tools and so I just wanted to share with you that at the moment my favourite tool is a pair of “dual-control trainer scissors”. I have a pair of funky green handled ones that are like normal scissors except that they have finger places for two people to hold and cut paper with. I am using them to help my six year old client (who is a boy with Downs syndrome) learn how to do his cutting activities in class. It is brilliant!
    Will send you a card via snail mail, take care xx

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    1. I, too use these scissors with my clients who are struggling with cutting. I have found another pair of scissors that have a little bar that you flip up which makes the scissors spring loaded. Great for kids with low muscle tone/weakness and a good next step after the double handled scissors. The kids I have used these with love that they can cut on their own!

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  5. Hello Kate
    Every day new challenges and new achievements! Sending you some of our summer warmth to warm your toes.
    With plaited greetings…
    Lydia

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  6. Congratulations on plaits – they’ll improve rapidly, I expect, now that you’ve relearnt the basic pattern of them, or learnt the new basic pattern, whichever is the case – but especially on time at home (hoorah!), and kneading bread. There are few ordinary things I know so good for the spirit as making bread…

    I expect that self-propelled motion beats it into a cocked hat, however. Here’s to ever greater self-propulsion.

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  7. Just after reading your “handy” post, I heard an author interviewed. His daughter had died suddenly and he and his wife had moved in with their son-in-law to take care of three young grandsons. While writing a book about the experience, a friend gave him some advice: write with grace not pain. As soon as he said those words I thought of your post. You write with such grace about your experience. Thank you for sharing with us. Best wishes for your continued recovery.

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  8. Hi Kate,
    I’m so glad to read that you are making such excellent progress. I didn’t know that your mum was an OT – mine is also. In fact I’ve been forwarding your blog to her because I think she would be very interested in the way you write about your recovery – and the use of tools. She has had many stroke patients and got particularly excited about your knitting – fantastic! She’s using both hemispheres!
    I will join in on the Forza Kate! Lx

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  9. Hi Kate!
    I am so happy you are feeling better and working so hard to regain all your physical abilities!!
    Just copied your address to send you a card, but first I have to find a beautiful one for you!
    I have nearly finished the Damson shawl I had started when you got ill. I plan now to knit another Ishbel shawl with a Peruvian alpaca (distributed in Italy by Adriafil)in a heathery bluish-plum shade. I am sure you will have improved very much your legs’ movements by the time I finish it (couple of weeks?).
    Forza Kate!!!

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  10. Round of applause from WI.
    Congrats on your plaits. As they say, practice makes perfect. Perhaps consider this your bohemian experience?

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  11. thank you for sharing with us! plaits! baking bread! home! these are all good things. watching your recovery is uplifting and inspiring.

    i hope your hospital is ready for piles and piles of cards and letters!

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  12. Hey Kate! You go girl!

    I’m an OT as you may already have read…have never used a this sort of device for transfers unless someone is incredibly heavy which you are not…so I can’t help there. My experience is that therapists can transfer with much better confidence than nurses…while still keeping a patient’s body symmetrical and safe.

    You might want to check out a stroke recovery manual at the (US) National Stroke Associatin website, which I’ve given to many of my patients, it covers a wealth of information:
    http://www.stroke.org/site/PageServer?pagename=HOPE

    The big innovation over here on this side of the pond is the Bioness(R) units which have built in electrical stimulation…check it out at Bioness.com…there is a UK division. There are units for the wrist/hand and foot (for foot drop). Very exciting stuff.

    Keep up the great work!

    xo

    Wendy in SC

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  13. dear Kate,
    I just read tonight your situation. please excuse my poor english, i’m french. I’m 29 years old and i’m fashion designer in paris for a french brand. I’ve find your blog looking at a picture of sheep there is few month ago. Since then, I have a look on your creations… I love your blog and your patterns, your love for knitwear, your lovely country, and your text. I really would like to encourage you during this difficult period. I’m sure that you will make progress day after days, and you seems to be in the good way.
    Having passions like you will help you getting better and better.
    Sorry again for my english, i fell poor to express you what i feel and all the encouragement that i would like to give you.
    looking for good news about your recovery.

    with best regards,
    delphine.

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  14. Hi Kate,
    I have been reading your blog for a long time now, but never commented before. My boyfriend, who graduated from Newcastle a few years back, was reading over my shoulder once and recognized you from around campus. I just wanted to let you know that we are both, knitter and former student, thinking about you and wishing you well.
    -Chloe

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  15. Way to Go Kate !!! You seem so much better, still so bright and determined. I see no reason as to why , with your steadfast determination and youth, you can’t be doing the Hill Walking again this year ! I am so pouring my admiration for you into the spirit waves, all the way from California to Edinburgh. Keep writing to us, and knitting and designing, and teaching us all about these quirky ingenius things that only you have such an eye for !

    Sincerely, Warmly,
    ~Jen from MtVeeder , NapaValley, California

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  16. I haven’t posted here before but I wanted to say how great it is to hear of your progress. You are obviously one very determined lady and it sounds like you have achieved an awful lot in 4 weeks. I think your latest design is just beautiful.

    Look forward to hearing more from you after more cake and naps!

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  17. Splendid news – am so glad that you managed to have a weekend at home with Tom and Jesus. Hurrah indeed for the splendid enabling and independence giving tools.

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  18. Such good news about the plaits and your being at home for a while. Thinking back to the Nelson knife, I guessed that your mum would come up trumps again.
    Here’s to another week of progress.

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  19. Your progress sounds incredible – what an amazing person you are. Best wishes for continued strength and movement wing their way to you.

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  20. These are wonderful news, Kate ! I am very happy you are feeling and doing better and better every day. Sending you many positive thoughts as well as the early morning rays of sun of my Monday.

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  21. nice work!

    I’m soooo happy for the update – I’ve been eagerly checking my RSS feed reader, waiting to see how your convalescing (?) has progressed.

    I commend you on your hard work, your attitude, and on your plaits! (man. soooo hard to figure those out – i had such a troublesome time when i went off to college, and no longer had my mother to braid my 2ft+ of hair behind my head. not as difficult as what you are facing, to be sure, but I understand the confusion.)

    keep it up!

    (and – i’ve been thinking about you a lot while I knit, and sending thoughts and prayers your way. currently I’m working on a bulky cardigan for my brother, and have almost finished the first sleeve. big needles+ chunky yarn = project that might not actually take me forever as predicted…)

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  22. Dear Kate,

    Thankyou for sharing your progress through this time – I find your writings always interesting, informative and inspiring, and it’s great to hear that you’re progresssing in your recuperation. Lots of good thoughts –
    Janet

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  23. To be so steadily, so measurably, regaining control over every detail of your life must be an incredible thing. To know every step of the way that it is your choice and your will that get you there is amazing. Keep it up! We’re all here with you.

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  24. some of the many things i’m grateful to you for bringing to my attention is Brown’s A Sense of Things and Home-Made, the russian artifacts. it’s marvelous to think of things giving back to you.
    xxx

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  25. Dear Kate, last year I stumbled upon your owl-sweater on the internet and I was just blown away. It is really amazing, I think it’s so beautiful and so special. The next day I wanted to look at it again and of course I couldn’t find back the site! Didn’t even remember your name or anything. Spent months trying to find back that fabulous owl-sweater. Nothing. I’m not very good at using the computer and surfing on the internet. My daughter puts it this way: your computer skills are deplorable. But, last december, all of a sudden, there it was! This time, I made sure I could find back the owl-sweater and your lovely site! Since then I’ve also downloaded the pattern from Ravelry (with a lot of help from my lovely daughter) and I visited your site regularly. I was shocked to find out that you’ve had a stroke and I really hope that you’ll make a full recovery. You’ve made a lot of progress in a very short time and hopefully this will continue.
    It’s a thin line between health and illness. My husband was also born with a hole in his heart. It was discovered when he was 17 and he had a heart operation. If it hadn’t been found, he probably wouldn’t have reached the age of 30. And my youngest son always was a healthy boy, until he was almost 18. Then his right shoulder and arm started to hurt, and the pain was ever increasing. In just 4 months time his spine developed a distinct curvature to the right and he was diagnosed with scoliosis. But that didn’t explain the excruciating pain he was suffering and that really was disabling him. He had to stop school. The worst thing was that there were even doctors who didn’t believe him. It took more than 2 years before he was correctly diagnosed: he has dystonia, a neurological condition that prevents the muscles to work properly. He’s on medication now and it’s a lot better (his spine is much straighter now) and he’s in less pain, but there is still pain, every day, all day long. He was treated once with botox-injections in his shoulder, but it was so very very painful and gave very little relief that he’s not willing to try that again. But he will have to take this treatment again, and for a long time, and hope that eventually it will get better. But he isn’t ready for this painful treatment yet and if he’s not up to it… nothing happens. He’s facing a life with a painful, crippling disease , no work, no studies, no future basically. He’s just 22 years old, it’s very hard on him and on all of us. Often I just don’t know what to do. I told him about you and he said: I understand how it feels when a part of your body doesn’t work anymore like it should do and you can’t do much with that part of your body and it seems to have a mind of it’s own.
    Dear Kate, I do wish you the best and I hope that you may recover completely and that you come out of this ordeal a stronger woman. My thoughts are with you and all people who suffer. I hope you all may get better.

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  26. Dear Kate, lovely to hear of your excellent progress. It must be all that knitting that gave your brain that extra development and determination, lol. My husband is disabled and it is often the simplest things that help. He has cerebral palsy and the thing he couldnt do without is his silicone circle that is on his food tray. If he didnt have that the plate would be ‘ice-skating’ all over the tray. As he has no use in one arm, one other simple but useful thing is the fork that is also a knife. One side of fork is sharpened so he can cut meat with one hand.(it would be useful to everyone really) He has a wall tin opener that has a larger and wider than normal handle for more stability and grip and a platform beneath to rest a can on. A simple, one handed, screw effect underneath this raises the height and thus accommodates all sizes of can/tin. He cant use the new fangled one touch ones because he hasnt got the dexterity to do the action to put it in place before you press the button so I wasted money on that one and should have got him to try it first before I bought it! Even after many years of trial and error we can still make mistakes as as thoughtful as able bodied people can be,you have to find out what is useful to you as an individual. There are some things we wont have in the house because they lack the design flair we would wish – pardon me for being picky, lol – as most disabled goods are in white metal and plastic or black. Now if only Terence Conran designed disablity aids! Why not, because the majority of disabled people are also elderly and do they think that the elderly and disabled dont like fancy bright colours a touch ‘edgey’ , lol. Of course the first thing is to find absolutely anything that works but when you are faced with a sea of white plastic and metal and your home starts to look like an institution, then you long for a little colour in your aids! In your case, you have a real chance of getting your movement back whereas in my husbands case, he was born with his disablity, so you will probably be helped by different aids at different times perhaps. Good Luck, love hooky

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  27. Dear Kate, it is lovely to read of your indomitability (is that a word? it should be!). Your gift for reflexive thinking and writing inspires me. Good thoughts for continued progress from downunder.

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  28. Oh, that is such wonderful news, to hear that you’ve been able to plait your own hair! As someone who wears her hair braided most of the time, I completely understand how important that is.

    And hooray for being able to be at home for the weekend!

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  29. WOW. So happy to hear how much progress you’ve made and how you’re finding useful tools to help you along. I love reading your blog because you always make such intelligent insights, be it peeling back the social history of knitting and textiles or the mechanics of regaining lost function. Keep up the great work!!!!

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  30. Great news Kate. It must have been so good for you to be back in your own home if only for a short while. I’m sure the Astley Ainsley won’t have received a bigger postbag, ever, than the one that will be heading your way.
    Keep up the good work Kate. Your progress is amazing, but then so are you.

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  31. You are amazing, well done on all the hard work you are doing. I used to be a Stroke rehabilitation nurse … your post brings it all back!
    We had the most brilliant hoist (It was a super new thing at the time) that also doubled as a similar device to the Sam Hall turner. The other wards, not as well equiped as us used to try and borrow it! It did have the “baring all ” issue but sheets helped.
    The Physios were our best friends, they are so knowledgeable. Take care and keep up the good work. x

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  32. Kate – this is a wonderful read. I am so glad you are doing better. And whoever in Sam Hill Sam Hall is, thanks be to him and others who think of these tools. Glad to know you are progressing and returning to normal life, which you probably will never think of as quite normal again.

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  33. Wow I am so thrilled to hear that the show horn has a purpose, because I always used to ponder my dad’s complete attachment to his. Now I know! Glad you had a weekend at home, amazing how mundane taske like baking bread & lounging around on the coach can be completely restorative.

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  34. You are probably aware of this, but another advantage of not being in a wheel chair is that the healthy and strong parts of your body continue to function more-or-less normally, rather than weaken and atrophy from lack of use. After a broken ankle 1.5 years ago and 3 months spent mostly in a wheel chair, I am still trying to re-strengthen my back muscles. Being 60 does not help.

    Go, you!

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  35. I feel so lucky that you are sharing your progress with “us” — which means you are making super Herculean progress to deal with OT/PT and …. another part of your life that could realistically “sit.” So “we” (your fans)can only marvel at what you are doing, and take it all in. There can’t be many of us that don’t have aging relatives/family members, and we can all learn something — strange as that may sound. So good going on your efforts — full speed ahead!

    But many many extra congrats … on the hair!!

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  36. Oh Kate – I have tears in my eyes after reading your post! A very simple aid for getting in and out of a car is the humble black bin bag – if you sit on it, it makes it much easier to turn on the seat (both my Dad and Malcolm’s Dad had mobility problems after breaking a hip) Best wishes for your continued recovery, love Anne

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  37. I’m so glad to read about your progress! You’ve been on my mind a lot in the past few weeks. It’s so uplifting to hear your “voice” again, and to see that you are keeping a sense of humor about everything.
    Best hopes for speed and ease in your recovery, thank you for taking the time to write for us.

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  38. Kate, keep up the good work! Your strength and persistence is an inspiration. I imagine that each time you braid your hair it will be just that much better than the time before. Best wishes!

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  39. So happy you are getting better at going back to your real you! I was going to say the ‘old you’, but I know, because of your amazing way of telling us about your life and this phase, that you are becoming a more enriched woman in every sense.

    Your fabulous persistence and hard work will pay off to see you become a new Kate, full of movement, full of life, full of experience.

    You have a whole bunch of people cheering up for you on every single success.

    Also, I had been patiently waiting for the Manu pattern. I am now off to get it from the Ravelry link. I LOVE it!

    Cheers and love from Toronto

    Maria

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  40. Dear Kate: Excelsior! Your eloquence, dogged determination, and honesty are inspiring and healing for ME. I send good vibes and prayers as you move forward in your recovery of radiant health. Thank you for these posts and for all the beauty you have always shared with us. Marion

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  41. Great to hear from you Kate – you are an inspiration. What determination under such life-changing challenges! Being in hospital sucks for the most part until you realise it’s only temporary and you will get through it. Being home for the weekend must be a thrill. Thanks for sharing it all with us, you are encouraging us to be more patient and reflective about life.

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  42. I’m so pleased that you were able to come home for the weekend! It must have been wonderful to be in your own place, with your own stuff and kitty! Your attitude toward all this is amazing. I can only hope I could do as well if I were in this situation. I hope the hospital isn’t inundated with cards!

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  43. Kate, I had the great pleasure of meeting you in State College and hearing your terrific talk. I was deeply shocked to read about your stroke, and am deeply moved to read about the details of your recovery. You bring such curiosity, grace, and ingenuity to the work of relearning about and reteaching your body! I am having my best thoughts for you, and hope our paths cross again.

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  44. Glad to see you’re recovering well. I struggle to plait my hair tidily with two working hands, so I know where you are coming from. Keep us posted, we are all rooting for you. I shall see if I can find a suitable wee card to post off as well!

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  45. Found your post in my email this Sunday morning while my tea was steeping ~ what a welcome message. I knew last week that by this weekend the braids would be conquered! I thought a lot this week about what we need for our personal normal. Tights and plaits, kneading bread. Hair the way you want it to be. Good for you for holding on to what you need, and not giving way to a ponytail.

    And to sit on your own sofa with Jesus purring beside you too.

    How many cards are you going to receive? Hundreds, I imagine. Lois from Hamilton, Ontario

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  46. Coming out of lurkdom to say it’s really great to hear that you are making progress and that you hare getting the help from everyone and everything! I’m working on the Clouds hoodie, so I’m thinking of you every day. Wishing you continued determination and will on your road to recovery.

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  47. You are doing so well ! Working so hard.
    I feel sad that you found your hoist transfers demeaning. They are but a means to an end. I would hate for my son to feel that way about the help he requires for basic bodily functions. He has cerebral palsy and has very limited functional use of his left side. As he gets older and bigger hoisting will become a bigger part of his life. Luckily he views it as quite fun, enjoying controlling the hoist with the remote !
    It is very interesting for me, as a carer, to read of your experiences. I think you are giving so much insight into the difficulties of doing the things so many of us take for granted and so many struggle with.
    A walk-in/ wheel-in shower, with a seat, would be a wonderful adaptation, if it was at all possible. It can replace a bath, using that sort of floor space.
    Here’s to increasing independence and mobility !

    :0)

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    1. the only bit of the hoist transfer that I really found demeaning was its lack of privacy (in a hospital context) — ie — having my bare behind on display to whoever might happen to be passing.

      I love the sit down showers in the hospital and yearn for a wet room . . .

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    2. the only bit of the hoist transfer that I really found demeaning was its lack of privacy (in a hospital context) ie having my bare behind on display to whoever might happen to be passing.

      I love the sit down showers in the hospital and yearn for a wet room . . .

      I am full of massive respect and admiration for those, like you, in care-giving roles. . .

      all best wishes to you

      Kate x

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  48. Wonderful news– that you were home for the weekend AND braided your own hair! So much we take for granted. The smallest task may be a a real victory to someone else. Many good wishes and energy are being sent to you from near and far– these come to you from outskirts of Atlanta, Ga, USA. And even a few co-workers of mine now keep you in mind, too. Friends you didn’t even know you had send you their best! (PS It’s quite interesting learning of the devices and so glad you have them.)

    Melody

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  49. How lovely to be back in your own home, if only for the weekend. And I’m so pleased to hear how well your recovery is going – best wishes for continued improvement!

    (Also, every time you mention him I wonder – why is your cat called Jesus?)

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  50. so glad to hear you’ve at least gotten a brief break from hospital life and that you’re improving! much encouragement as your recovery continues. :)

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  51. What fantastic news and how wonderful to have a weekend of relative normality. You are doing so well. I think of you when I’m running and send positive thoughts. Stay strong.

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  52. You are one amazing woman! Plaits and independant walking (yes with a brace but walking no less). It must have been so lovely to be in your own home over the weekend and i’m sure Tom loved having you back there. I am watching your progress and your amazing attitude to this situation in awe. Keep at it Kate we are all wishing you a strong and speedy recovery.

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  53. Oh, how fantastic to hear about your braids! And of course it’s wonderful also about you walking, and your general regaining of mobility. It must feel wonderful to be in your own space again, even just for the weekend. You are on the mend! Good for you and keep up the good work!
    (Incidentally, it’s also fascinating to hear about these devices, about which I know very little. If you learn more, keep us informed.)

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  54. So good to hear you’re going so strong!
    Your post made me realize one thing: no matter how much we feel for our loved ones and what they go through, and no matter how involved we are in their recoveries, there are so many details and facts and effort that is known only to them, and those are the hardest. While you have all your wonderful friends and family there for you, the effort and the hard work is all yours. I bet it must be really really hard sometimes. So I admire you (and other people who have gone through similar things) even more. I hope you realize how much your strength is shining through! Keep going!
    Ivana

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  55. Home with Tom and Jesus for the week-end, with plaited hair, what great news!

    Not only is it always a relief to read news about you, that seem as good as they can be under such circumstances thanks to your extraordinary strength, but do you realize that on a more basic blog-level, you once again manage to teach us so many interesting things and give us plenty to understand, just like you’ve always done on more fiber-y subjects ? That’s well done, Kate. Well done!

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  56. Hi Kate – from what I can find (and this did involve some guesswork because I speak no Swedish!), Sam Hall is not a person, it is a Swedish state owned company that works with people with disabilities to get them back into work (as well as assisting elderly people and those with mobility issues with grocery services, home visits etc.) – they’re called Samhall (www.samhall.se).

    The company that manufactures the turner is a Swedish company called Etac, who manufacture disability aids, so I think the connection is probably that Samhall and Etac worked together on the design but I shall continue to see what else I can find tomorrow as I can’t get into the other databases we use at work from home.

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    1. I found the same information as Meghan and was able to translate it through Google when I was signed into my Gmail account. I searched “samhall” in Google and it gave me the option to translate.

      You are an inspiration every day Kate, lots of love xxx

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    2. Thanks mean! I am a healthcare worker and use the turner every day. I am slightly dissapointed to find that sam hall was not a cranky texan inventor who made disability aids in his shed in the early 1900s, just as it saddened me to discover there was never a kindly Dr simmer. … definite Alan Davies on qi moments!

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  57. Congratulations on the plaits! You’ve made amazing progress, it seems to me, through a lot of persistence and hard work. I was very impressed (in a previous post) that you had managed bramble stitch, which always seems quite hard work to me (with two fully functioning hands/arms). Google doesn’t know anything about Sam Hall in connection with turners, and it’s often spelt “samhall”, so a bit of a mystery there.

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  58. Kate, I work in a health and social care library and although the subject area of health is not my speciality – I am a systems librarian, so I mostly deal with the library management systems – I will see what info I can find for you re: the turner.

    Thank you for keeping us updated – your posts are amazing to read and your strength of mind is likewise. My best wishes, as always.

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  59. Lovely to hear from you again, Kate. It sounds like you’re coming on so well, and your attitude must be helping you (and the nursing staff) no end. Glad to hear the plaits are back too :-)

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