My ultimate dream is not only to walk again but to move out of my parents’ house and live independently. Both of those dreams may sound impossible to somebody, but I believe both are achievable.
As I have that dream in the back of my mind, it’s hard trying to adjust at a home that wasn’t built for you. With all the renovations we’ve made at my parent’s house, there are still some problems I face, and that’s usually found in the kitchen. The cabinets are too high, and some of them I can’t reach even when I elevate my chair. If I can almost reach an object, it is hard to grab it with my hands. I drop cups, bowls, food, you name it! On top of that, it is hard wheeling from cabinet to cabinet without bumping into them or running into our island table. The space is so tight with my chair that I can barely perform a 3-point turn, and our kitchen isn’t even that small! With these obstacles, it is hard striving for independence when there are so many roadblocks.
Once upon a time, I had an OT come to my house. She was helping me transition back into my regular routine after a major surgery I had. To my surprise, it was actually a very beneficial experience because it was an extra mind to help problem solve the situation I was struggling in. For this day, it was my hunger for independence.
I expressed my difficulties about the kitchen and how I want to rely on my own abilities. I expressed how difficult it was reaching for water bottles, cups, and certain snacks from the cabinets specifically. So, the question we asked ourselves was: how can we make this easier? I couldn’t take over the valuable counter space, it needed to be low enough to reach, and easy to wheel to. We scanned the kitchen and we found a drawer next to the stove that was deep enough to store some valuable items, some good snacks (can’t forget that!), and it was easy to access. It was the perfect spot!
I have used that drawer very much since then. I put a couple Keurig cups, snacks, traveling coffee mug, apples, granola bars, my cutting knife, mandolin, jar opener, basically anything that can feed me or help make a meal.
Most importantly, it saves me when my parents are out of town, builds my confidence in my abilities, and trust in myself. It’s changed my independence and has relieved my frustrations.
I highly recommend this easy fix to make your kitchen accessible!