Motorized Window Shading
I never thought I’d be one of those people who needed help all the time. I was raised to be feisty and independent, and believe me, growing up with four brothers kept me on my toes, every bit a tomboy, doing anything that caught my fancy – bungee jumping every opportunity I got, hiking the Colorado trails, cycling for a benefit in Venezuela, motorbiking through the Alps, skiing, rafting, swimming in the sea – if the brothers did one thing, I could do four! Anything on wheels, I could drive. The latest in my line of passions was to go skydiving! So, imagine my consternation when it became difficult for me to get off my bed, or to bend down to retrieve a fallen spoon, or climb onto my bicycle! It was all so insidious that I noticed the swelling joints and the stiffness through a haze of disbelief – as in, ‘Moi? No Way!’
But tests soon revealed that I suffer from a condition called osteoarthritis – a joint disease that can afflict any age and either sex without discrimination! It is apparently the leading cause of disability in America, with 50 million adults and 300,000 children afflicted by some form of arthritis, more common among women and people growing older, characterized by swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion, and mundane activities can seem like a mountain climb. It can cause permanent joint disfigurement, and some forms of arthritis can even affect the heart, lungs, kidneys, and eyes.
I am a basketball coach at the community sports center, and I’ve had to give up my job, and unlike thousands of others, I have a husband to support me, and a small inheritance put away for a rainy day. The skydiving has become a distant dream, living it through my children instead! I have a daredevil son who is in the air force – he comes regaling me with all his exploits!
We’ve had to make significant changes around the house, and though it’s all becoming a big deal to me now, I’ve learned that disciplined physical activity in short spells can alleviate the constant pain I live with. I go swimming twice a week, doing ten slow but steady laps. When I’m in the water, it feels as if Mother Nature insulates me from all my troubles. A yoga instructor comes in to work with me for half an hour each day – this sometimes includes having to immerse myself in hot water mixed with all sorts of salts and potions, as my hips, shoulders, fingers and toes are affected. And it feels heavenly!
I’ve started writing – if one is passionate enough about something, anything is possible. So, I give vent to my frustrations by writing. I’ve just signed a contract with the local rag to write for their health section. I write for our community center magazine, encouraging youngsters to keep up with exercise and concerted activity. I also blog for a fitness website. So, that takes care of intellectual sustenance. I’ve had to hire help with the cleaning and maintenance of our home – we found this lovely lady who comes in twice a week to do a thorough job of keeping our home ship shape. I still do the cooking – it’s never been a big deal, but now, I’m much slower with my stiff fingers acting up, but I think my fingers are kept rather supple with the conscious ignore I give them!
There have been other changes, of course, the most embarrassing one being having to use a wheelchair in airports! We’ve had to install handrails in our bathroom, and I almost never go upstairs. I am on pain meds, though only on SOS basis. All our electric lights are automated, so I don’t need to get up reach for switches.
Another major change that was effected was that we changed all the drapes and had motorized window shades installed. It made sense to synchronize them with the lights indoors, and this apparently makes for better energy efficiency. I learned that the cellular shades made wonderful economic sense to use in maintaining a cozy thermal atmosphere, in addition to muting ambient neighborhood noises when I was resting. The more the layers of cells, the more the insulation they provide, and this was an important factor as I need warm toasty interiors, especially the study where I worked, and our bedroom. I decided on the CrystalPleat 3/8-inch double cell layered shades from Graber in light filtering fabric for my study, so that my room and I would be protected from the harsh glare of the sun while trapping the glorious warmth inside. I needn’t have to get up from wherever I was to operate the shades – a touch of the remote and the shades would move to my bidding. But I’d also had a sun sensor, and a timer enabled with the lights and shades, so the shades would move seemingly of their own volition to shield me and my room from the harsh sun yet keep the interiors comfortably cool or warm. In our bedroom, we had blackout shades installed as Dan sometimes worked late into the night and needed to sleep in. I would have loved to get the Top-Down-Bottom-Up feature, but unfortunately, they weren’t available in the motorized options. Ah well, one can’t have it all, can one? I am testimony to the fact that one can’t have one’s cake and eat it too – the phrase now makes perfect sense to me. But my windows never looked better – modern styling for the physically challenged lady!