When I read Nic's post about her tricks for dealing with her CMT, I was amazed. Amazed at how similar some of our tricks are, and yet how differently everyone copes. My symptoms have also been present since childhood, but most of my weakness is in my feet & legs, and not in my hands. Most days, I don't really pay too much attention to these tricks, as they have just become a normal part of my daily life, so this post really forced me to pay attention to things that I do differently each day to cope.
Every single morning, the very first thing I do before getting out of bed is put my AFO on. I have worn an AFO on my left foot since I was 15....it almost just seems like another appendage by now! As far as shoes go, I have to make sure that I am buying shoes that have a very low sole, and are preferably very very flat. Since I don't have an AFO on my right foot, but still have ankle weakness, I have to make sure the shoes are supportive enough for my right foot as well. No sandals, heels, or flip flops for me! When dealing with stairs, there always, ALWAYS needs to be a handrail for me to even attempt tackling a flight. Handrails on both sides are even better! I am always on the lookout for something to hold onto or lean up against if I have to stand in one place for a bit.
I don't have a lot of tricks that I use when getting ready each day. I would say that the thing that makes the biggest difference for me is my bathroom stool. I use it when I take a shower, since I need my AFO to stand/walk, and I don't want to ruin it in the shower. I also use it when sitting in front of the mirror to do my hair or makeup. Since it is very portable, it occasionally even accompanies me into the kitchen.
No doubt the biggest help for me when I run errands is my handicap license plate. Especially during our Utah winters with the snow, ice, and slush. Whenever possible, I try to shop at stores that provide motorized carts so I don't wear myself out buying groceries. If a store I need to go to does not have motorized carts, or shopping carts so I can at least have something to hold onto, my trick becomes taking my baby with me in her stroller so that I can hold onto that.
By far though, my biggest asset and "trick" is my supportive and helpful family and friends. My sons will carry the laundry up and down the stairs for me so that I don't have to. My sweet husband does a large amount of the cooking and housework so that I am not in a lot of pain at the end of the day. He never hesitates to give me a back rub, unload groceries from the car, or carry the baby so that I don't have to. Even my friends and extended family are amazing, and are always picking up some kind of slack for me physically. They all do it without being asked, and they are my unsung heroes every day!