Why Gadgets Make My Life With Chronic Illnesses Easier

I’ve recently noticed a lot that I, and others with chronic illnesses, can be judged for having lots of gadgets around their home – from hot water machines to robot hoovers. People can be really critical of us for spending money on something they believe to be nonessential, just a toy or novelty. But for us there is so much more to what we buy and why, rather than it just being cool or fun.

I have multiple chronic conditions including Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome and craniocervical instability. Managing these day-to-day is a challenge. There are somethings I (and others) simply can’t manage because of illness, whether thats chopping vegetables, lifting a kettle, or holding a hoover. We simply can’t do some of those simple things because it leaves us with great pain and fatigue or dislocations. We may have some numbness, weakness or paralysis.

The only way to get those things done is to get someone else to do it, right? Well, not all of us live with others. Many of us live alone, and many of us don’t have, aren’t eligible for, or simply can’t get help with these things from carers or support workers. So we may buy gadgets to help us – things that allow us to take part in activities others can do in a way that is suitable for us, whether thats cooking, or maintaining a tidy home, or many other things. Our gadgets make our lives more independent and less frustrating.

One example would be having a Breville hot cup as opposed to a kettle. For those that don’t know, a Breville hot cup is filled with cold water. You then press the boil button and put a cup under the tap, and when the water has boiled, it releases a standard mug size amount of boiling water straight into your mug. For most people that would be considered a gadget, a luxury, an expense that is unnecessary.

Kettles are cheaper right? Not for everyone. Yes, a kettle is cheaper on your finances as a one off purchase, but if you can’t operate a kettle safely then the cost to your health it could have is greater than the cost of a gadget.

I dropped boiling water on my foot last year because of my condition. I had second degree burns, which were almost third degree, from just wanting a coffee. I spent the night in hospital as a result. For me, lifting a heavy kettle full of boiling water is a hazard, especially now that I have very little feeling in my legs. If it happened now, I wouldn’t necessarily noticed my foot was being burned. Whereas with the hot cup, I can have hot drinks again, because the risk of carrying boiling water in large heavy amounts isn’t there. It’s just a small mug, which is so much less of a risk!

Still unnecessary and a luxury? Not so much! So please, don’t judge us for having many appliances and gadgets, or for ordering ready made meals and similar things. To us they are enabling us to do what you likely take for granted! Living with a disability is incredibly expensive, and also difficult and frustrating. Try not to add to our frustrations and pains with your judgement!

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