About me section

Hi, my name is Paul, I’m 26 and I have CIDP (Chronic Inflammatory Demylinating Polyneuropathy). This blog will try to document my symptoms, progression and treatment from start to finish, along with my frequent encounters with the NHS in both West Yorkshire and south Wales. This blog is an attempt to keep you and more importantly me entertained on this ongoing, ruddy bumpy, uncomfortable and often frustrating journey.

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This is me. Mid way through the Yorkshire 3 peaks in July 2012. 13 miles down, 13 more to go! (Not at all demoralised)

I can honestly say, my feet have never ached so much in my entire life! But from this I hope you can tell I was just like everyone else; reasonably fit, happy, quite outdoorsy and a keen angler (A link to my other blog Paul on Coarse Fishing can be found here). Now, I’m considerably less fit, still happy (with a few moody bouts), generally house bound (unless I break the Zimmer out) and it’s been well over a year since I’ve wet a line. If you’ve read this far you’re probably either aware of what CIDP is or are thinking “what on earth is this guy on about?” If either of those are the case, you’re committed, and I’m about to begin the story from the beginning...

17 July 2013

Zip-gate and other inventions...

Since becoming ill I have decided I have probably missed my vocation as a budding inventor. Reduced grip, dexterity and strength comes with its setbacks, these include but are not limited to being unable to operate any anti-perspirant spray cans (easy, use a roll on), using keys with a small head (extremely difficult to hold and twist), pulling up your socks, tightening your belt, holding glasses or trays and most importantly undoing your fly (especially a zipper on suit trousers). This latter problem presented me with some difficulties one afternoon while in work. As the office is generally boiling (I blame the girls) my symptoms were made worse, and on this day I was faced with a dilemma. How do you operate a small suit fly zipper if you can barely manage to move your hands? Things were getting desperate. Right, thinking cap on!


My idea was frankly genius and definitely prevented me asking any awkward questions/requests to my colleagues. What I needed was a paperclip and a post it note!

There is a small hole on the end of the zipper and what I proposed to do was bend the paper clip out at a slight angle forming a rudimentary hook, this would then be inserted through the small hole in the end of the zip, which now offered a considerably larger surface area and obviously became easier to operate. The post it note was then folded horizontally into thirds and pushed down onto the remaining folds of the paper clip forming an miniature “T-Bar” which can be operated with ease, and even by someone with a ludicrously reduced motor function in their hands (like me!). Ta da!

A second idea I had following on from my “T-Bar” vision was an idea I haven’t yet put into practice, as I can’t sew. But, if I could I would cut down a wire coat hanger and form it in to 2 small (and portable) T-bar shapes. Then taking some eyelets I would stitch them into a pair of socks. Essentially each sock would have 1 eyelet on both sides of the ankle just below the elasticated band. Affixing the previously mentioned T-Bars through said eyelets would mean the sock can be pulled up onto your feet with relative ease. Ideas like this, however trivial, are (I believe) of some benefit. At times I find my symptoms and illness seem to be trying to strip me of my independence, especially now that it was probably unsafe for me to drive (I didn’t want to chance it) and doing the simplest things were sometimes beyond my capabilities.

Another idea which I haven’t got round to fully developing (because I don’t know where I would begin) is enlarged key heads. One day returning from work I found it incredibly difficult to turn the front door key (Yale lock). By coincidence (or accident) my finger slipped into the split ring which held my keys together and in the process of trying the twist my hand free I inadvertently unlocked the door. The answer was obviously leverage. Trialling various stiffened cardboard cut outs I found that the larger the surface area, the easier it was to grip, so obviously the easier it was to twist and operate. Since I’ve become ill these little idiosyncratic inventions have become a frequent occurrence, and the blue prints are slowly piling up in my mind. I could be the next flipping JML!

Ps. Please don’t steal my ideas.

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